Wax on? Wax off! Get rid of lip balm stains in clothing and upholstery with these simple DIY solutions.
Oops -- you certainly didn't mean to leave that lip balm in your pants pocket when it went through the wash, but now you're stuck with melted ickiness on your favorite pair of jeans.
I spoke to John Mahdessian, President of Madame Paulette
, the premier cleaning house in New York. He assured me that it is
possible to remove lip balm stains at home. So before you run off to the cleaners, check out his professional advice.
I first wanted to find out which ingredients are to blame in a lip balm stain. I found out that most popular lip balms -- like Chapstick
-- have a base made of wax and various oils with added preservatives and coloring. (Natural lip balms -- like Chapstick 100% Naturals
and Burt's Bees
-- don't contain preservatives.) John explained that a lip balm that contains SPF shouldn't make a difference with regard to stain removal.
Because different lip balms use different oils, you may need to combine a few of the methods listed below to fully remove the stain. Just don't let the stain sit. "Quick action is key," John explains. "So the sooner you try to repair the stain, the better."
Step 1: Remove the wax.
John recommends that you place the item in freezer and wait until the wax freezes, then scrape off the residue. Or you can go the opposite route and iron out the wax using a cloth barrier (such as a paper towel), which will absorb the wax as it liquefies.
Step 2: Remove the oil.
If your lip balm is primarily oil-based or there is a lot of oily residue leftover after you remove the wax, treat the residue like a grease stain
. John recommends the following home remedy for oil/grease stains:
Create a solution using two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid
or Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid
) and one tablespoon of white vinegar.
Place an absorbent white cloth under the stain and dab the stain lightly with a paper towel or another cloth. Try to break the stain down and pass through to the cloth. Then, flush with lukewarm water.
If there is a dye
or color added into the balm, John recommends that you "take special precautions, as an at home remedy could result a new stain." Be sure to use a dye-free, clear cleaning agent
--like Arm & Hammer's Perfume- and Dye-Free Laundry Detergent
-- that will not result in discoloration, fading or an additional stain.
The above recommendations are for most easy-to-clean fabrics, like cotton. However, certain delicate fabrics, such as wool or silk, may need to be cleaned more gently. With wool, it's important to "carefully clean those items and keep a watchful eye to prevent shrinking," John explained. He also said that silk and hand-painted fabrics can be especially difficult and can be easily damaged. If you're not comfortable cleaning delicate ite,s yourself, it's a good idea to take it to a professional like Madame Paulette
, or search for a reputable cleaner in your area.
For more clothing tips, check out our posts on How to remove grass stains
and How to remove sweat stains
Make Your Own Lip Balm