how to: remove red lipstick stains from clothing

tumblr_lzuuf2GRrJ1rq17yxo1_500As someone who considers herself having pretty good luck, I sometimes find myself completely and dramatically devastated when that aforementioned luck runs out. Take last month for example, when I loaded my washing machine plumb-full of vintage dresses, beloved cream tights and my go-everywhere denim jacket, which, unbeknownst to me, had a tube of bright red lipstick tucked in the right pocket. It wasn’t until I pulled the load out of the hot dryer (!) that I noticed everything was pink and streaked, spotted and mottled with oily red splotches. Quelle horreur, n’est-ce pas? (French for holy fucking shit*.) The mere sight of my beloved pieces of vintage in a ruined state sent me into a tizzy, an emotion reinforced by article after article proclaiming red lipstick one of the most devilish stains to get out. (Something about the combination of heavy pigments and grease…)

Ever the optimist, I went to work immediately, experimenting with different methods recommended online. First I tried Spray ‘n’ Wash. Then I massaged Dawn dish soap on dress after dress. When that didn’t work, I sprayed the spots with hair spray, dabbing them desperately in between bouts with a towel. I washed everything again (and then again). But those stains? They didn’t budge. Not even a smidge. And so I gave up.

For an entire week, I mulled over my dumbness, considered ordering new cream tights and felt all-around silly to be so sad over wrecked dresses. I’d have to throw everything out, I thought. Refusing to let go of my pretties without one last attempt, I turned to my old stand-by, Oxiclean. I filled up my bath tub a third of the way with cold water, swirled in two big scoops of the magical powder and added my clothes. I pushed everything ’round for a bit, making sure it was all submerged and, with a hope and a prayer, let it stew for an entire afternoon.

By the time I checked in on things, the water was a murky reddish-brown and as I pulled the clothes out of the water, I couldn’t spot any streaks. I immediately, and, if I’m honest, gleefully, ran the soaked clothes through the wash and at the end of the cycle, found nary a trace of pink or single red splotch. My abiding love of Oxiclean was reinforced, and my feelings out luckl-essness vanished without a trace. Lessons learned? One: Check (then double-check) your pockets before loading the laundry. Two: When facing serious stains, always try Oxiclean first.



P.S. Some other how-tos I’ve written you might find useful!

How to: Get Out Stains
How to: Remove Grease Pencil Markings
How to: Clean Vintage Luggage

Photo c/o: Dress for Victory