Written by Grove Collaborative

Stain Busters: How to get lip balm out of clothes

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

Stain removal is nothing if not a challenge! Our best methods on how to get lip balm stains out of your clothes are now available.

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Spills happen, but Grove Collaborative has you covered with Stain Busters. Each week, we’ll tell you how to tackle a different tough stain around the home or on your clothes. Red wine, grass stains, ink ... no stubborn stain is a match for our grime-busting guides.

There are some stains that frankly, are just more annoying than others. We definitely rank Chapstick as one of them. Granted, it’s not bold and usually it’s not easily seen. Very different from say, a ketchup stain.

Instead, a Chapstick stain is subtle, and most of the time only noticed by you, unless it’s a tinted balm. However, because you notice it, there’s no way everyone else can’t see it too, right?

So does lip balm stain clothes?

Despite how innocuous it may seem, lip balm can in fact stain your clothes. Lip balm or Chapstick is mainly oil or wax-based, which means like any oil based substance, it can leave behind a residue on fabric.

It could also contain dyes if it is a tinted Chapstick, which means you may or may not see discoloration as well. Due to its composition, lip balms easily stain all kinds of things, your fave jeans included. Worse, it can be tougher to remove than the average stain, because of it’s oil or wax base.

Stain removal is nothing if not a challenge! We’re here to let you in on a secret though. The key to removing Chapstick from clothes successfully is to target the wax or oil base and any added dyes separately.

Clothing can easily be stained by Chapsticks and balms, especially when you live somewhere hot. Wax and oil based materials tend to liquify when coming into contact with high heat.

Sometimes Chapstick melts through your clothes while you are wearing them — or it might even melt through your clothes after you take them off.

Be honest, how many times have you noticed Chapstick stains because you ran your pants through the washing machine and dryer without first emptying your pockets? We’ve all been there! Thankfully, there’s always more than one way to remove a chapstick stain. Our best methods are detailed below!

How to get Chapstick out of clothes

How to do it:

Step 1:

Scrape off the excess Chapstick before starting the cleaning process. Do this by taking a spoon, blunt knife, or scraper to the fabric to remove any leftover gunk still present. Thoroughly inspect the fabric as there could be additional stains.

Step 2:

Pre-treat using an enzyme-based cleaner, as they are best at cutting through oil-based stains. You can also use a heavy-duty laundry detergent with enough enzymes to fight grease, too.

Step 3:

Start cleaning by using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers to work the detergent into the stain and loosening the oily residue. Wait at least 30 minutes to allow the cleaner to work properly.

Step 4:

Wash your clothes! Once the stain remover has had a chance to work, wash the stained clothing in hot water.

Step 5:

Check your clothes. If the stains are still there, repeat the stain removal process. Once the stain is gone, you can throw the clothes into the dryer.

Step 6:

If you have a stain from tinted Chapstick and color has been transferred to the fabric, try using an oxygen-based bleach. Bleach with oxygen can help remove color stains without damaging the fabric. Use a basin to soak the material in a solution of oxygen-based bleach and warm water, and leave it anywhere from 2 hours to overnight. Then follow steps 1-5.

Grove Tips

Before using any chemical-based cleaner on clothes, try it out first on an inconspicuous spot to ensure it doesn’t cause a negative reaction, such as fading or damaging the fibers.

Check the back side of the clothing as the wax could have seeped through and hardened there as well.

If there is a large quantity of Chapstick on the clothing, try putting a paper bag on top of the area and use a hot iron to melt the wax. Iron it as long as it takes to transfer the wax to the paper.

How to remove Chapstick from the washer and dryer

You wouldn’t think this would be an issue, but alas… it is. It’s important to do an inspection to make sure you have removed any bits of chapstick and residue that might be left behind in the washer and dryer drums. This is imperative to prevent the Chapstick from staining and ruining the next load of laundry too.

What you’ll need:

Cleaning the washer

Step 1:

Using detergent, take a white cloth or rag and dampen it with hot water, then put some detergent on the dampened area.

Step 2:

Scrub using the dampened detergent cloth any areas in the washer drum you can see chapstick residue. Laundry detergent is designed to cut through grease and should remove the chapstick easily. You can also try dish soap as that also cuts through grease pretty well.

Cleaning the dryer

Step 1:

Try taking some wet rags or spare cloths and run them in the dryer on the highest heat. This should melt any chapstick residue in the dryer drum and hopefully it will stick to the fabric.

Step 2:

Another option you can try is a vinegar cleaning solution to break down the residue. Use an old rag, dampen it, and wipe the chapstick residue away. Follow up with a swipe from a dry cloth to make sure the residue is gone.

Removing Chapstick from other household items

Couch and carpet

Step 1:

To remove chapstick stains from a couch, first be sure to scrape off the excess Chapstick.

Step 2:

Then sprinkle cornstarch on the stain and allow it to absorb the oils for a few hours.

Step 3:

Once the cornstarch has done its job, vacuum it off the surface of the couch.

Step 4:

Using a cleaning sponge dampened with a dry-cleaning solvent, blot at the stain until it's completely removed.

Note that you can use these same steps to remove Chapstick stains from carpeting, as well.


Step 1:

Try using a soft white or neutral colored cloth and apply alcohol to a section of it.

Step 2:

Press the dampened area of the cloth onto the stained section of the wall and dab lightly to help lift the stain.

Step 3:

Make sure to use a clean section of the cloth to dab it dry, once it absorbs some of the residue and/or color.

There you have it. Our complete guide to helping you battle lip balm stains and stress. Follow our stain removing instructions and goodbye to Chapstick messes!

Chapstick stain-removing products

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on more stains, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.

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