How to Get Lipstick Out of White Linen

For centuries, women and even men have used lipstick to attract attention.

It adds color to pale lips, creates the illusion of full or thinner lips, draws attention away from blemishes or negative facial features, and accentuates other makeup, jewelry, hairstyles and/or clothing. Although its ingredients---especially bright vibrant colors, oils and waxes---can stain fabrics, you can easily get lipstick out of white linen with a few items you likely already have in your home.

Freeze the lipstick with an ice cube or by placing the piece of white linen into the freezer. Freezing lipstick helps to keep it from setting and makes it possible for you to scrape off any chunks stuck to the material.

Scrape the frozen area gently with a plastic or metal butter knife to remove as much of the lipstick as possible.

Set the linen piece aside until the fabric reaches room temperature. Gently blot makeup or stain remover, rubbing alcohol or hair spray onto the lipstick using a paper towel or microfiber cloth until the stain fades/breaks up. (Check your linen's laundry label to confirm that you can use one of these products.) If the blotting doesn't dissolve the lipstick entirely or if you cannot use makeup or stain remover, rubbing alcohol or hair spray on the linen, rub petroleum jelly or glycerin gently and lightly into the stain repeatedly.

Pretreat your white linen before washing. If blotting the stain removed it, pretreat with petroleum jelly or glycerin. If blotting didn't remove it and you had to use petroleum jelly or glycerin, skip this step as you have already pretreated the item.

Wash your white linen with laundry detergent following the washing instructions on your linen's laundry label. Don't wash your linen in hot water unless you have removed the stain and any oils completely from the material, as washing a lipstick stain or oils in hot water can set the stain to the material.

Things You Will Need

  • Ice
  • Butter knife
  • Makeup or stain remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hair spray
  • Paper towel
  • Microfiber cloth (optional)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Glycerin
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach

Tip

  • If you remove the lipstick color but believe that oil residue remains, check your laundry label and pretreat with bleach if allowed.

Warnings

  • Never attempt to remove lipstick from linens marked "dry clean only," as certain lipstick removal products and removal techniques can damage these materials.
  • Never rub a lipstick stain unless your makeup or stain remover instructions approve it or you're using a pretreatment agent (petroleum jelly or glycerin), as rubbing the stain can further embed the lipstick into the threads of the linen.
  • Don't heat-dry your white linen unless you have completely removed the stain and any oils, as doing so can set/bake the stain or oils into the linen, causing discoloration.

About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.