How to Remove Lipstick From a Silk Dress

Many  silk fabrics are hand- or machine-washable.
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Lipstick is luxurious and it's made to last. This is a good thing when it stays where it belongs. When it accidentally ends up on a beautiful silk dress, that's when its oils, waxes and dyes are problematic. Read the garment care tag before you attempt to remove a lipstick stain. If the silk is washable, you may be able to remove the stain at home. Take the dress to a professional if the tag says "dry clean only."

Place one or two drops of rubbing alcohol on a hidden seam of the dress to test for colorfastness. If the color doesn't fade, the garment is colorfast.

Lay the stained area on a thick towel. Dip a clean white cloth in rubbing alcohol.

Blot the stain with the cloth, working in light, feathery motions from the outside of the stain toward the middle. Replace the towel as needed to prevent the color from restaining the dress.

For silk that is not colorfast, rub a laundry pre-wash product gently into the lipstick stain or treat the stain with a clear, mild shampoo.

Wash the dress by hand in lukewarm water, using clear mild shampoo or a mild laundry detergent. Rinse thoroughly.

Inspect the dress and repeat the steps if the lipstick stain is still visible. If the stain is gone, dry the dress according to the directions on the care tag. Often, silk requires hang-drying.

  • Never use chlorine bleach or enzymatic bleach on silk.
  • Do not dry the dress until the lipstick stain has successfully been removed. The heat may set the lipstick and make the stain impossible to remove.

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.