If you ever get nervous about swiping on your favorite bright lipstick while wearing your favorite blouse, you’re not alone. Lipstick is a laundry nightmare, and the brighter the shade, the tougher a potential stain is to remove. Well, consider your wardrobe saved. We got the best stain-removal tips from Dan Lawson, costume designer for The Good Wife. He keeps the clothes clean and pristine on set for a show with plenty of smooching—and plenty of lipstick smudges.
Blot, Never Rub
Our first instinct when we notice a swipe of lipstick on our collars is to rub and scrub it frantically, but blotting is actually the shirt-saving technique. “Do not rub it in,” says Lawson. “Blot it with some water and let it be until you can get home.” Rubbing the stain helps to set it and spread it deeper into the fabric.
Pour Yourself Some Bubbly
If you spot a lipstick smudge while you’re out for dinner or drinks, ask the waiter for seltzer water, says Lawson. (And no, tonic water will not work as an alternative because of added sweeteners.) “You want seltzer water. No salt and no sugar,” says Lawson. If seltzer is not available, regular cold water will work just as well. Lawson emphasizes that hot will not. “It will set the stain. You’re actually dyeing your fabric using hot water.”
Dry Clean It At Home
If the stain is large, you might be inclined to rely on your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner to remove it, but doing so might shorten the lifespan of your favorite pieces. Regular dry cleaners use a lot of harsh chemicals, says Lawson. So, your clothes may get clean, but they also get weaker and fade overtime. So skip the professionals and use an at-home dry-cleaning kit. They’re a less harsh, quicker alternative. “On set, if something gets a stain on it, we need it right away,” he says. There are a number of reasonably-priced at-home dry cleaner’s on the market, and Lawson absolutely swears by Dryel’s At-Home Dry Cleaner ($7, walmart.com) for a quick stain removal turnaround on set.