Have you ever accidentally melted chapstick on your favorite jeans in the dryer? It’s never fun pulling dry clothes out of the dryer only to discover waxy, oily stains splattered on your favorite clothes. Through trial and error we have learned how to get chapstick out of clothes, and in this article we are telling you our steps.
Why Does Chapstick Stain Clothes?
We love those soothing ingredients that make up our favorite lip balms and chapsticks, but these waxy and oily substances are the culprit behind a difficult chapstick stain.
Lip balm ingredients such as beeswax, mineral oil, shea butter, lanolin all leave behind a dark, oily residue. This stain, if not treated, can become permanent if you wash and dry normally. Dryer heat generally sets stains into the clothing, so I always recommend air drying until you’re one hundred percent sure that pesky stain is out.
How to Get Chapstick Out of Clothes
Tools and Materials:
- Dawn dish soap
- Butter knife
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Removing chapstick stains involves a few simple steps using household materials, and only about ten minutes of active effort. You’ll remove any remaining solid pieces of chapstick to the clothing, add a pre-treatment solution, and then launder normally (skip the dryer, though). If these steps don’t do the trick, repeat. You may also try using a color safe bleach if the stain is very persistent.
- Scrape chapstick
First, use a dull knife (smooth end of dinner knife works great) to gently scrape any remaining chapstick. You could even try sticking the clothing in the freezer for thirty minutes to let the chapstick harden a bit to make scraping easier.
- Apply dish soap
Apply Dawn dish soap as a pre-treatment, working it into the stain. Leave for a few minutes at least, before moving onto the next step. Note: While you can use any dish soap, I recommend using Dawn here because it is a powerful degreaser. Sometimes other brands also include a higher proportion of water in their dish soap which makes for a less concentrated and less powerful degreaser.
- Step 3: Launder with hot water
Launder your item with the hottest water your item of clothing can handle and detergent.
- Air dry
Skip the dryer for now — I recommend letting your item air dry until you’re sure the stain is gone. Here’s why: The dryer heat will set the stain if there’s still some lingering residue, and it’s difficult to tell if the stain is gone while your clothes are still wet. If the stain is gone once the item is dry, feel free to use the dryer normally the next time you wash your item.
How to Remove Chapstick Residue from a Washing Machine
While chapstick residue inside your washer is unfortunate, I do have some good news for you: Cleaning the chapstick off the washer and dryer drum is pretty painless.
Step 1: Get a damp cloth
Grab a microfiber cloth and dampen it with warm water.
Step 2: Wipe down inside of washer or dryer
Work your way around the drum of your washer or dryer, wiping the surface with the damp wash cloth. If needed, dampen once more to keep the wash cloth warm. Warm water is important here because heat will soften the chapstick residue, making it possible to wipe away from the surface of your washer or dryer drum.
Step 3: Wipe with a clean dry microfiber cloth
This time using a fresh microfiber cloth that is clean and dry, wipe the inside of the washer or dryer as you did in the previous step. That’s it!
How to Prevent Chapstick Stains
If you’re anything like me, you may be thinking, “How can I avoid ever having to do this again?” after you’ve put the elbow grease to get chapstick out of your favorite shirt. Here are a few ways you can prevent chapstick from staining your clothes ever again:
- Avoid keeping chapstick in your pocket. Your body heat can melt the chapstick, causing it to ooze out of the container and onto your clothing.
- Check clothing pockets before starting the laundry. Chapstick may not ruin clothing while in the washing machine, but it likely will once in the dryer (and say goodbye to that chapstick!).
- Store your chapstick in the fridge. If it’s summertime or you live in a warm climate, you might want to store your chapstick in the fridge so it doesn’t melt in your bag and stain your backpack or purse.
Nageen is passionate about exploring sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Her passion for sustainability extends outside the home and into the garden, where she enjoys learning about native gardening and preserving our ecosystem. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and cat Leo.