Real Simpleanswers your questions.

By Real Simple
Updated February 18, 2010
John Lawton

Q. The cap on my lipstick broke, leaving my handbag lining covered in red smears. The bag was an investment. How do I save it?

Rosemary Sherman

Stoneham, Massachusetts

A. Grab the liquid dish detergent. Standard liquid dish detergent can help safely remove lipstick and lip-liner stains from most cotton or polyester handbag linings. (For all other materials, it’s best to take the bag to a dry cleaner.) To apply, dilute a capful of dish detergent with an equal amount of warm water. Pull the lining as far out of the bag as you can. Then, using a cotton swab, apply the mixture to the stain in a circular motion, says clothing-care expert Steve Boorstein. Switch swabs often so you don’t rub the pigment back into the fabric. Allow the bag to air-dry. Repeat until the stain is removed.

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