How to Remove Lipstick From the Upholstery on a Car

by Mia Carter

Car upholstery can be subjected to numerous stains. Often, a well-intentioned driver will try to remove a lipstick stain, only to find that the upholstery has been damaged and you risk making the stain even more obvious. Lipstick and other cosmetics can be difficult to remove since they're oil-based and the pigment has a tendency to spread if the stain is not treated properly. Lipstick can be removed from a leather or vinyl interior by simply wiping it away with a clean paper towel or a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol, but removing lipstick from a fabric interior is a bit more difficult.

Pick up any chunks of lipstick that are present on the seat using your fingers or tweezers.

Scrape off melted lipstick using the dull side of a butter knife. Scrape toward the center of the stain to avoid spreading it.

Dab the stain with a clean paper towel to remove excess lipstick. Use a different part of the paper towel for each dab to avoid re-depositing the lipstick on the fabric. Do not rub the stain, as this will spread it.

Pour rubbing alcohol onto a clean rag and dab the stain to remove the lipstick. Use a different (clean) area of the rag for each dab to avoid re-depositing the lipstick on the fabric. This process will remove a vast majority of the lipstick from the car upholstery.

Spray degreaser onto any remaining traces of the stain and dab with a clean rag. If traces still remain, reapply degreaser and gently scrub the stain in a circular motion using a toothbrush; dab periodically with a rag and frequently wipe off the toothbrush to remove excess pigment.

Tips

  • check If treating an old lipstick stain, perform a spot test for the alcohol and degreaser. Apply a small amount of each to an inconspicuous area of upholstery and check back in 24 hours to ensure that no discoloration has occurred.
  • check Generally speaking, these substances will not damage upholstery. Unfortunately, when treating a fresh stain, there is not time to perform a spot test as the stain must be removed ASAP. The longer the stain sits, the more difficult it will be to remove the stain.
  • check Water marks may result on the fabric upholstery. Remove the water marks by running a clean, damp cloth over the upholstery.
  • check You may need to steam clean the car upholstery. Often, when cleaning a stain on soiled upholstery, you're left with a really clean spot in the area that was cleaned; this makes the rest of the seat look dirty.
  • check Lipstick can be removed from a leather or vinyl interior by simply wiping it away with a clean paper towel or a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol.
  • check The above-mentioned process for fabric car interiors can be used to remove lipstick stains from the stitching on a leather or vinyl interior.
  • check For severely damaged upholstery, you can bring the seat to an upholstery shop or car interiors shop. The upholstery will be pulled off and the stitching for the damaged panel of fabric/leather/vinyl will be removed. Using the old panel as a guide, a new panel is cut from a matching or complementary piece of fabric/vinyl/leather. It's then sewn into place and the upholstery is placed back on the seat.

Items you will need

About the Author

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera lipstick image by Alex Karmanov from Fotolia.com