Lipstick can be one of the most awkward substances to remove from a cars interior. Due to the fact that it is a thick oil based dye most cleaning products will fail to do anything and so it is important that the correct products and processes are used. The first step is to remove as much of the ‘loose’ lipstick as possible. A blunt plastic implement should be used to do this, something like a plastic ice scraper would be ideal. Once all the loose lipstick has been carefully picked off the remaining stain and residue underneath can be treated and cleaned.
If it is upholstery that has been contaminated you can use an isopropyl rubbing alcohol to help break down the oil based residue. This should be applied to a micro fibre towel and not directly onto the fabric itself, then dabbed over the surface. The process may need to be repeated a number of times in order to sufficiently break down the lipstick. Once as much residue has been removed with the isopropyl alcohol as possible then more conventional cleaning products can be used to follow up.
Either a diluted all purpose cleaner or a designated upholstery cleaning product should be sprayed over the affected area, the cleaner should be worked in with either a micro fibre towel or a detailing or nail brush which will help to remove any remaining lipstick residue from the fibres of the upholstery. Be careful not overwork the area however, as you may cause premature wear. After the cleaning products have been sufficiently worked in, the area should be thoroughly extracted with either a wet vac extraction machine or a normal vacuum cleaner. This will not only help to dry off the area but will draw out all remaining residues.
If lipstick has contaminated leather you should again ensure you carefully pick off as much of the lipstick as possible. This should be a little easier than picking off lipstick from upholstery however you should still take your time and be careful not to damage the leather underneath. Isopropyl alcohol should not be used on leather surfaces, instead you should go straight to cleaning the area with a good quality designated leather cleaning product. The product can be worked in with a detailing or nail brush which will help to lift out the lipstick from the grain of the leather. The process may need to be repeated in order to completely remove any lipstick residue. After cleaning, the leather should be treated with a leather feed/conditioning product to help keep the surface in a good supple condition.
Finally, if there is lipstick on hard surfaces like plastics and trim, these too should be cleaned using the same techniques you would use to clean leather. Again the key is to remove as much of the excess lipstick as possible with a blunt plastic implement before cleaning. Either a diluted all purpose cleaner or a designated plastic/trim cleaning product should be used on the affected area and worked in with a stiff bristled detailing or nail brush to get right into the grain if necessary, then any residue should be removed with a micro fibre towel. After cleaning, hard surfaces can be treated with a designated plastic/trim dressing product to help restore and protect the area.