How to Remove Melted ChapStick Stains on Clothes

How to Remove Melted ChapStick Stains From Clothing

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 10

ChapStick, a lip ointment, is made from a combination of wax, oil, and sometimes dye if the balm is tinted, and this melted oily residue can be a mess both in clothing and the drum of the washer or dryer. The key to removing ChapStick from clothes successfully (or "gasp!" the washer or dryer drum) is to tackle the stains as soon as possible. Don't rub the stain or it will embed further into the material fibers. And, never put stained clothes in the dryer as the heat can make the stain permanent or harder to remove.

Learn how to remove ChapStick stain from clothes with a few steps and products you likely already have at home. It can be difficult, but you can do it with some key ingredients and patience.


Watch Now: How to Remove Melted Lip Balm Stains From Clothes

Stain type Oil-based 
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent or stain remover
Water temperature Hot (as hot as allowed per care label)
Cycle type Varies depending on type of fabric

Before You Begin

Test any detergents or cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. Older stains will be harder to remove. You might need to repeat the cleaning process a couple of times before the stain disappears.

When applying a pretreatment for tough stains, you can also use home remedies instead of a commercial enzyme-based stain remover. Pretreat ChapStick stains before washing by mixing equal parts water and distilled white vinegar, allowing the solution to rest on the fabric for up to one day before washing.

If your body heat warms up your pockets to the point that ChapStick has melted on a garment that is labeled as dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. If you are planning to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools


  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Soft-bristled brush (optional)
  • Washing machine
  • Soaking basin or sink (optional)

Washer or Dryer

  • Rags or cloths



  • Stain remover or heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach (optional)

Washer or Dryer

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Distilled white vinegar


materials for removing chapstick stains from clothing
​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

How to Remove ChapStick Stains From Clothing

  1. Scrape Off the Residue

    Scrape any semi-solid wax on the surface of the fabric gently using a spoon, dull knife, or the edge of a credit card. Never rub. Scraping will prevent the wax from becoming more deeply embedded in the fibers.

    scraping off excess chapstick residue
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  2. Pretreat the Stain

    Examine every area of the stained clothes carefully and treat each spot with an enzyme-based stain remover. Work the stain remover into the fabric using your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and let the stain remover sit on the stains for at least 30 minutes.


    If you do not have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent (Persil or Tide) which contains enough enzymes to cut through the oily residue and release it from the fibers.

    pretreating chapstick stain with detergent
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  3. Rewash and Check

    Rewash the stained clothes in the hottest water recommended on the care tag. If the stains have not been removed, repeat the stain removal steps before you toss the clothes in the dryer.


    Line dry the clothing to make sure the stain(s) have been completely removed. Putting clothing in the dryer that has any trace of stain on it can set the stain.

    washing the affected garment
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

How to Remove ChapStick From the Washer or Dryer

Once you have been through this cleaning process with clothes, you certainly do not want to do it again anytime soon. Carefully check your washer and dryer to retrieve the offending ChapStick and look for any residue clinging to the interior drums.

ingredients for removing chapstick residue from a washer
​The Spruce / Ana Cadena
  1. Use Liquid Detergent on Washer Drum

    Apply a bit of laundry detergent on an old white rag to remove the waxy coating if you see some residue in the washer drum. Dip the rag in hot water and dot with detergent and scrub away.

    using detergent on washer drum
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena
  2. Use Vinegar in Dryer Drum

    Wet some old rags and toss them in the dryer if you see any residue in the dryer. Set the dryer to high heat and let it run for about five minutes. This will soften the wax. Dip an old rag in distilled white vinegar and wipe away each waxy smear you see in the drum. As the wax is removed, wipe the area down again with another clean cloth dipped in plain water.

    dipping a cloth into vinegar
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Handy Tip for Preventing ChapStick Mishap

    Most people know to check pockets before starting a load of laundry, but what if you miss the slim stick? Get lip balm on a key ring or clip. Keys are seldom left in pockets and are big enough and noisy enough to be found (or heard) when they hit the washer drum.

Additional Tips for Handling Melted Chapstick Stains

If the lip balm was tinted and you see traces of color on the fabric, grab some oxygen-based bleach which will remove the lip balm color but not harm your washable clothes. Follow the package directions and mix a solution of oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean, Clorox 2 or Nellie's Natural Oxygen Brightener) and warm water. Completely submerge the stained garment and allow it to soak for at least two hours; overnight is even better. This will remove the dye. Wash and dry the fabrics as usual.