A person in a white shirt holding a tube of lip balm.

How to Get Chapstick Out of Clothes Naturally

Last Updated: July 26, 2022

If you’ve got a big ol’ chapstick stain on the front of your shirt, don’t worry. We’ve got tips to remove these pesky stains from your life — and clothes — for good.

It’s a tale as old as time. You squeezed too much lip balm out of the tube and it created a delightfully greasy smear all over your shirt. Or maybe your chapstick was in the pocket of those gym shorts you left in the backseat of your car on a 95-degree day, and now they’re stained and cherry-scented. However it happened, one thing is true — chapstick stains are a real pain.

But all is not lost! We’ve got a tried-and-true method to remove lip balm stains from your clothes using natural products you’ve already got on hand.

Why does chapstick stain clothes?

Chapstick, Burt’s Bees, and other lip balms contain semi-solid oils, natural or synthetic waxes, and dyes that love nothing more than to set up residence in the fibers of your favorite sweater. Once these products melt, they sink into fabrics and create dark, oily stains that need a lil’ elbow grease to remove.

Does Chapstick permanently stain clothes?

So, do lip treatments like Chapstick and Burt’s Bees stain clothes permanently? While lip balm can in fact stain your clothes forever, the good news is that if you treat them quickly and with the right products, the stains will likely come out. At least, that’s what the folks over at Chapstick say.

So we’re taking Chapstick’s own instructions and trying them out on three big ol’ lip balm stains — Chapstick, Burt’s Bees, and tinted Burt’s Bees.

Need a new lip fix? Check out our review of the best lip balm for a smooth, supple pout.

What you’ll need to get chapstick out of clothes

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Learn how to remove hair dye, paint splotches, and nail polish from your clothes with our stain removal guides.

We Tried It: How to get Chapstick out of clothes

We decided to put Chapstick's method of removing its product from clothing to the test. While we were at it, we wanted to see if it would work for Burt's Bees, too — regular and tinted.

Three different shirts with chapstick stains

We grabbed a few items out of the clothes recycling bag.

  • On the left: gray leggings
  • In the middle: Purple shirt
  • On the right: Red dress

Then we accidentally got lip balm on them:

  • Top stain: Original Chapstick
  • Middle stain: Regular Burt’s Bees
  • Bottom stain: Tinted Burt’s Bees

We laid the garments in the sun for a couple of hours on a 100-degree day to make the balms melty, then brought them inside to cool off a spell before we commenced cleaning. Here’s how we did it.

A shirt with chapstick being scraped by a thin metal spatula.

Step 1: Scrape

Gently scrape off any excess lip balm with a spoon, butter knife, or another tool. Be careful not to spread the balm even more!

Three pieces of clothing with chapstick stains being treated with baking soda.

Step 2: Sprinkle with baking soda

Cover the stain with a little baking soda to absorb the oils in the Chapstick. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Three pieces of clothing having baking soda scrubbed in with a toothbrush.

Use an old toothbrush to gently work the baking soda into the stain in small, circular motions. If the baking soda forms small clumps, as it’s doing here, discard it and repeat this process until no more clumps form. If no clumps form, repeat once or twice — rinse and dry the toothbrush in between.

Three pieces of clothing with stains being pre-treated.

Step 3: Pre-treat as you wish

Treat the stain with one of the following:

  • Your usual stain pre-treatment (left)
  • A few drops of dish soap and a few of water (center)
  • A 1:1 solution of vinegar and water (right)

Rub in the pre-treatment, and let it work for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4: Wash as usual

Wash the item in a regular load of laundry. Use the hottest temperature the label advises. If you’re not sure, wash it in cold water. Add a laundry booster with oxygen bleach if the stain is particularly large or it’s been around for a while.

Step 5: Repeat as necessary

Check your clothes before you toss them in the dryer. If the stains are still there, repeat Steps 1 and 2 of the stain removal process above.

For the pre-treatment step, soak the item in your favorite oxygen bleach, which is color-safe, for at least a couple of hours. Then, wash as usual.

If the stain remains after the second washing, well, things aren’t looking great — but don’t despair just yet. If you’re really attached to the item, your best last-ditch bet for removing the stubborn balm is to engage in a little laundry stripping.

If the item isn’t worth the extra effort, toss it in the clothes recycling bag with the other wearables.

The verdict: What’s the best way to remove Chapstick from clothes?

Welp, here you have it. When we pulled the garments out of the washing machine, they looked pretty good, but now it’s clear that the stains were still there, but just invisible because the clothes were wet.

So we tossed them in the dryer, and here’s how they came out. It doesn’t appear that our scraping, scrubbing, soaking, and washing did much of anything to remove these Chapstick stains.

If we were to do it differently, we’d try soaking the garments in oxygen bleach right off the bat instead of going the garden-variety pre-treatment route we chose.

It’s back to the rag bag with these duds!

Grove Tip

How to remove Chapstick from the washer and dryer

You wouldn’t think this would be an issue, but alas… it is. If you wash and dry a clothing item with pockets full of chapstick, and now it’s coating the insides of your machines, clean your washer and dryer right away so nothing else gets stained.

  • Dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water.
  • Wipe down every inch of the washing machine drum.
  • Thoroughly rinse the cloth in warm water to release the oils.
  • Wipe down every inch of the dryer drum.
  • Thoroughly rinse the cloth in warm water to release the oils, and repeat with each appliance.
  • Wipe down both drums one last time with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
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