How do I remove melted hot-pink lipstick from the fabric upholstery of my Maxima?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

Help!!! How do I remove melted hot-pink lipstick from the fabric upholstery of
my '95 Nissan Maxima? I need an answer quickly, before my wife discovers the
rubbed-in pink splotch. The fabric was Scotchguarded when we purchased the car.
What's more, we're talking about an entire melted tube on the front seat on a
sweltering day. Please help. You're my only hope. -- Lee

TOM: Gee, Lee. You may be too late. We just got a letter from a woman who found
pink lipstick on the seat of her husband's '95 Maxima. She wanted to know
whether the car was worth claiming in the divorce, or if she should just sell
your gold-plated golf clubs and buy herself a Lexus!

RAY: If memory serves me, lipstick is basically grease. So what you probably
need is a grease remover.

TOM: Whenever Ralph, or one of the other guys at the shop, gets his lipstick on
one of our customers' seats, we use a product called Brake Kleen (made by
Chemical Rubber Company), which is an industrial-strength degreaser.

RAY: Two warnings, though: 1) It's designed to take grease off brakes, and
although we've used it on upholstery, I certainly wouldn't guarantee it won't
ruin the fabric, and 2) It contains tetrachloroethylene, a nasty chemical that
may kill you. Of course, if you don't use it, your wife will kill you, so
that's a wash, Lee.

RAY: But before you get into the nasty, industrial toxics, we suggest you try
these home-style remedies from Heloise (of "Hints from Heloise").

TOM: Heloise says that the first thing you need to do is scrape off the excess
with a dull knife or spoon.

RAY: Then go to your local hardware store and get a paint/oil/grease remover.

TOM: Heloise doesn't mention brand names, but when we posed this question to
people in our office, they suggested several "de-greasing products" that they
say work. We've never used any of these (our wives say we've never used any
cleaning products), but the names that came up are Goof Off, Dissolve-It,
Sharpshooter and Lestoil. And I'm sure there are others.

RAY: Whatever degreaser you choose, Heloise says to put some on a clean cloth
or paper towel and blot the lipstick. Don't blot with the same part of the
cloth more than once, since you'll just be blotting the lipstick back into the
seat again.

TOM: If that doesn't work, you might try some spot remover/dry-cleaning
solvent, which you can also get at the hardware store, or a mixture of 1
teaspoon clear mild dishwashing liquid to 1 cup warm water.

RAY: And if none of that works, I'd just cut the spot right out with a razor
blade, Lee. After all, you'll have an easier time explaining a big hole in the
seat than a melted tube of pink lipstick. Good luck, I suppose.

* * *

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