The Pantry Staple To Turn To For Lipstick Stain Emergencies

Lipstick stains on clothing can be frustrating, as makeup is one of the toughest laundry stains to remove. In an attempt to clean off this type of stain, it is far too easy to end up smearing the lipstick, which may permanently damage your garment. Most of us simply reach for a makeup remover or chemical-based cleaner to clean lipstick off of fabrics, but sometimes you're at work or a restaurant when lipstick stains your clothing, or maybe you're at home but just don't have the proper cleaning agents on hand. In these emergency situations, pressing a slice of white bread onto the area could quickly remove the pigments and waxes from the fabric until you're able to thoroughly clean the stain later.

The science behind this unusual hack lies in the properties of bread. The porous nature helps to lift the stain rather than just smudging it around. It is also believed that the bread's gluten works to absorb the lipstick, since gluten gives bread the ability to sponge up twice its weight in water, demonstrating how absorptive it can be. Moreover, bread is a gentle and non-abrasive material that won't damage or scratch the surface it's being used on. This makes it an ideal solution for delicate items like those made out of silk or satin.

How to remove a lipstick stain using bread

To get started, place a slice of white bread on top of the stain, pressing down gently. You can also roll the spongy center of a piece of bread into a ball and use that. Always blot and never rub, because that will only make the stain set in more. After blotting, hold the bread in place for 30 seconds to allow the starches to work their magic. Once the slice is removed, the stain should be significantly lighter. If residue remains, repeat the process as needed. 

An alternative is to use breadcrumbs. If you've ever used breadcrumbs in the kitchen, you know how they soak up whatever they are put into. In this case, they can soak up the oil in the lipstick. Simply wet the crumbs and allow them to sit on the stain, then shake off the garment and throw it into the laundry for a regular wash load.

When dealing with a particularly-stubborn stain, let the bread sit for a few minutes before lifting it off. Further, keep in mind that this may not remove all the color, but it may help lift a large amount of the lipstick. You can also try sprinkling salt or baking soda onto the stain after using the bread, allowing these substances to further absorb the makeup. 

Caveats to using this hack

Bread may not be a miracle solution for every lipstick stain, since every makeup product has various ingredients and levels of color. Still, it's certainly a useful last-minute tool to have in your beauty arsenal, especially when you are away from home. However, though the Queen of Clean, Linda Cobb, says that white bread can be used in a hurry (per Queen of Clean), she advises that other highly-effective methods include blotting the stain with a little rubbing alcohol or hair spray (via WFSA12), then washing the garment in the washing machine. If you have either of these products on-hand but not a chemical stain remover, they could also work in a pinch.

Another drawback is that bread and certainly breadcrumbs have the potential to leave crumbs in your clothing, so while it can come in handy in an emergency, you may end up with crumbs stuck in the fabric. However, a quick shake of the clothing can expel the crumbs, but ensure you do this outside or over the trash to avoid making a mess. Also, if your clothing tag says dry clean only or if you suspect it might need to be dry-cleaned, don't throw the fabric in the washing machine. First, make sure you know for certain that it can indeed be washed in the washer. If not, it may be best to absorb what you can with the bread and then high-tail it to your dry cleaner for professional stain removal.