Thursday, September 24, 2015

How To Get Chapstick Out Of Clothes: A Lesson Learned The Hard Way

Earlier this month I accidentally washed and dried a tube of mint Chapstick with a load of laundry. The tube opened and melted everywhere, ruining at least 12 of John's brand new geek t-shirts, plus a few of my own. Everything was covered in dark, oil-like blotches and blobs - even though the spots were soft and dry to the touch.

It was NOT a good morning.

We re-washed and dried everything three four times. First we tried a healthy scrubbing of Spray N' Wash on all the spots:




... which had zero effect.

Then John researched The Best Stain Remover Ever online, and hunted down this stuff:



- S-32 Spot & Stain Remover

He used the entire bottle scrubbing all the dark spots all the shirts, but it ALSO had zero effect. 


Updated To Add: Ack, thanks to the comments I just remembered: we ALSO tried Dawn dish detergent after the S-32:


...and like the previous two products, it had no effect on the stains.

So sorry to everyone in the comments who's telling me to use this next time; we did try!

At this point I had given up, and was busy numbing my guilt in the office with a Steven Universe binge.

But John kept going (he REALLY liked his new shirts) and found another recommendation online for spray-on Goo Gone, that stuff you use to remove sticker adhesive:


 And would you believe IT WORKED??

Since I never had much hope of saving the shirts, it didn't occur to me to take "before" shots - but lucky for us, John snapped at least one!


This is one of my old faded tees - I was fine with trashing it, so John used it for the final experiment. He stretched it over cardboard, applied a healthy dose of Goo Gone with a light scrubbing motion, then immediately washed & dried it AGAIN.

And:

The spots were completely gone!

Again, that shirt was already old and faded, so any color variation you see is from age. John's brand new shirts (which are also all dark colors) look completely brand new again. AHH SWEET RELIEF.

One note of caution: be sure to immediately immerse the shirts in water after their Goo-Gone scrub; otherwise it can bleach through dark colors if left on too long. After learning that the hard way, John quickly scrubbed each shirt, then tossed it in the water-filled washing machine before moving on to the next.

So if any of you find yourself in the same Chap-sticky situation some day, save your money on special stain-removers, and just head straight for the Goo Gone!



PS - I know this post was kind of boring, so to make it up to you a little: here's John's favorite new geeky tee, which the Goo Gone saved:

"Ironic Bunny" from Woot.

:D

64 comments:

  1. NOT boring! totally fascinating because.... ahhhhhhh yeah, ummmmm... i kinda needed to know this!
    thank you!!

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  2. NOT boring. My husband is a restaurant manager. He has to wear a shirt and tie....and sometimes get behind the grill if the cooks are falling behind. So many ruined shirts. :( Can't wait to try this.

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  3. Goo Gone will also take the skin off your fingers. And eat through latex gloves. I know this from personal experience!

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  4. Very useful for Chapstick users who also wear clothes with pockets :) I check ALL my husband's pockets before throwing them in the wash, but sometimes things still slip through. Examples include pens (fortunately the caps stayed on), wrapped smarties (which melted into sugar water inside the wrapper which shrunk from the heat!), cleenex (the horror of white bits on everything), and pocket knives (now very clean).

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  5. oh, thank you for ruining John's clothes so that you could find a way to fix it!! My son is notorious for leaving his chap-stick in a pocket. Luckily it has only gone through loads of jeans & shorts (and mostly the kids clothes) but I've been giving the stink eye to my one pair of nice jeans that have had those dark spots on the legs from the last time it happened and live in constant fear of it happening again. Now I can make them nice again =)

    so woo for laundry disasters (this time =) )

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  6. I have always gone straight to Goo-Gone, or even Goop hand cleaner when my daughters left lip balm or other greasy/waxy goo in the pockets of their "very favorite" clothing. This post brings back 'fond' memories!

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  7. Wow, I totally need to get some of that stuff. Almost every t-shirt I own has a spot on it, lol.

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  8. I've used Dawn dish detergent and that has removed oily spots from clothes. :)

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    1. Oh wow, you've just reminded me: we DID try Dawn! Ack! I guess the trauma of this whole experience blotted out my memory. ;) [zooms off to update post]

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  9. BTW, if you wash something and notice the stain after washing, do not dry it. I realize your chapstick melted in the first dryer trip, but the subsequent washings should not have been machine dried, as that was setting in the stains more each time. So glad you found an answer - I never would have thought of Goo Gone! :-)

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    1. I agree, but since the stains were just dark spots on already dark clothing, there was no way to tell if the stain removers has worked *without* drying the shirts completely. Just makes the Goo Gone more impressive, though, that it worked after all those trips through the dryer!

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    2. It's not letting the shirts dry that's the problem. It's drying them with heat. Heat will often set stains and make them harder to get out. That's why they recommend washing blood stains with cold water, for example.

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  10. You're going to laugh, but when I read the headline, I first thought I saw "How to get CHOPSTICKS out of clothes" and was really curious as to how that might have happened.

    It's been a long day.

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    Replies
    1. Don't worry, you're not the only one. It's been a long day for me too.

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    2. Give it time; given how clumsy I am while eating, this could totally happen.

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  11. If you can find "Shout Advanced for greasy stains" it is a miracle worker. Takes out chapstick, old hamburger grease stains, and many kinds of farm/automotive grease. It will make some dent on sunscreen too (though I have found good old Dawn dishsoap works better on that). You have to wash before the Shout dries on the fabric but it doesn't bleach anything ( at least that I have found yet).

    - Mom of two little kids and a hubby who forgets he has the good work clothes on before he heads into the shop to pull apart a tractor.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, I was going to suggest this one, too! Gotta let it sit for a while though.

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    2. I've also been told that Shout Advance, then scrub with oxiclean and spray again with the Shout works, too.

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  12. I second the Dawn dish detergent. After working three years at Arby's during highschool, Dawn was my best friend in getting my work shirts cleaned from oil and grease. Unfortunately it didn't stop me from constantly smelling like curly fries. ;-)

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  13. I'm very happy to learn that Goo-Gone will take out oily stains. I agree with the others that Dawn dish detergent works very well on oily stains. I have many dark colored Tees and seem to get salad dressing on my clothes and Dawn works for me.

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  14. Uh, I hope I don't have to try this. Bile Soap helped to get rid of the all greasy spots until now.

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  15. Good recommendations! I third the Dawn recommendation. My daughter did the GISHWHES scavenger hunt this year which included covering yourself in butter. (It was a very interesting week!) After 3 unsuccessful washes, I gave it a long soak in Dawn to get all the butter out of her shirt. I figured if it works on wildlife caught in oil slicks, it should work on butter.

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  16. Definitely going to try this. My hubby drives a dump truck and his shirts get nasty. Lately I've been using Resolve carpet cleaner which works surprisingly well, though not on the set in stains. Thanks for the info!

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  17. Great tip! I've had good success removing oil/grease stains with dawn dishwashing soap. I mix dawn with borax, scrub on the clothes and immediately wash (for the same bleaching issue you mentioned in the post). I wonder if just dawn would work without the borax. That would be even easier.
    Oh I should read the other comments before I comment. Basically ditto everyone else.

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  18. Old fashioned borax soap will also remove oil stains, and tomato stains, and recycled tire playground mulch stains, and pretty much everything I've tried it on. I buy them from the handmade soap lady at the farmers market.

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  19. I use baking soda mixed with detergent. Let that sit a bit, add vinegar, let it sit more, then wash as normal. I've had month or year old stains dissapear.

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  20. I am so glad ironic bunny was saved. That is one of my favorite shirts. (-:

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  21. carbona has a really good grease remover, too. my husband has a slight dribbling grease down his shirt problem, so I've used it. a lot.

    they have other solutions as well. they're called "stain devils", and come in small yellow bottles in the laundry section at the store.

    I'm glad john's shirts were saved!!

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  22. carbona has a really good grease remover, too. my husband has a slight dribbling grease down his shirt problem, so I've used it. a lot.

    they have other solutions as well. they're called "stain devils", and come in small yellow bottles in the laundry section at the store.

    I'm glad john's shirts were saved!!

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  23. I've used googone before for clothes that got stained in the shop. It is fabulous. Smells horrible (artifical orange ew) but it is a miracle worker.

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  24. Glad you found something that worked. I'm curious however, how did you get the remnants of the melted chapstick out of the dryer?

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    1. You know, I think all the clothes must have soaked it up, since I can't find a bit of it left in the dryer!

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    2. Either that or you'll find it when you go to dry soemthing super delicate that can't be replaced. Murphy has a cruel sense of humor

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  25. I confess: I used to clip out Hints from Heloise and Better Homes and Gardens House Tips and keep them in a box when I was a kid. So I really love this.

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  26. Definitely a help as I've done this before but had never tried Goo Gone! I actually have a pile of shirts that it's hopefully not too late to save!

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  27. Yay for saving shirts! Though be glad it wasn't a tube of red lipstick...umm yeah. Did that not once but twice. Not fun. Not fun at all.

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  28. I have a husband who comes in with grease and oil from work. Take a trip to your local auto parts store and get a can of Berryman's Brake Cleaner. Spray it on the stain and it instantly dissolves without affecting the shirt color. Toss in the wash and if you have a degreaser like Action, add a little of that to the wash plus your regular laundry soap. Works really well, but the brake cleaner really stinks up the house, so use in a well-ventilated area.

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  29. I'm guessing chap stick is waxy, therefore the option I would have considered is to dissolve the wax in oil, then apply Dawn dish detergent to remove the oil. Goo Gone sounds much easier. I would like to point out that, though an error was made, a clever solution was found. It's not like you accidentally washed a red shirt that looked faded but still had plenty of dye to give with a bunch of his grey underwear, thus giving everything a pink tone, and then came up with no alternative but to dye everything black. Just as a random for instance...

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  30. This has happened to me! Now I know the next time it happens...

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  31. Good old fashioned Amonia works miracles on stains, and odors as well. I pour it full strength directly on stains and let it soak overnight. Then wash in the hottest water the fabric can take and not shrink. I've never had a problem with it fading colors but when in doubt always put on a spot like inside the hem and let sit and see what happens. I also put a cup in the wash when washing whites and my husbands undershirts, removes body odors.

    Since we're talking stain removal, another thing I use is dishwasher soap but this one may fade colors. It works wonders on food stains and if you have kids or buy baby clothes at garage sales, I make a paste of it and use a toothbrush to scrub the stains then add to a pail with laundry soap and hot water and soak overnight. It's a gamble on formula stains, but if you can rescue a nice sleeper or shirt you only paid a quarter for, it's worth a try.

    Final hint - Scotchgard fabric protector. Wash the first time with soap but no fabric softener. Spray the garment with Scotchgard and let it dry and stop the stains before they happen. I know you don't have kids, but I always sprayed fronts and necklines of new clothes and the part of the sleeves that lay on a desk or surface and they stay nice longer.

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  32. Future reference, Drying sets stains. NEVER dry in dryer if you can help it, especially if there are stains.

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    Replies
    1. So true... But sometimes, the stains aren't apparent until he cloth is dry so I usually just hang it on a hang and wait ... patiently. :-)

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  33. THANK YOU!!!!!! I cannot count all the clothes I have ruined this way! NO MORE!!!!

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  34. I am so glad all the geek tee shirts were save from the dreaded Chapstick monster.I usually have good luck with Dawn dish detergent for greasy stains but I am thrilled to hear the Goo Gone worked for you guys!

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  35. I love your old Batman shirt, and Steven Universe!

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  36. Another trick for greasy spots...baby powder. Apply liberally to the spots, let it sit for 6-8 hours. The powder will adhere to the grease. Spray with stain remover before putting in the wash.

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  37. Good to know about the Goo Gone because I have done this to some of my clothes. Interestingly enough if we catch the chapstick before drying the clothes, the chapstick is fine and no stains on my clothes. I washed chapstick a few times but only dried it once. This is what I get for not checking my pockets like my mom told me too.

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  38. Goop or Gojo (available in the autoparts section) will also work on almost any stain. Rub some in and wash. It's the stuff mechanics use to get grease off their hands, and it works great on oily stains. I've had no problems with bleaching, either.

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  39. Goop or Gojo (available in the autoparts section) will also work on almost any stain. Rub some in and wash. It's the stuff mechanics use to get grease off their hands, and it works great on oily stains. I've had no problems with bleaching, either.

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  40. I wonder if this will work on bacon grease stains...

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  41. Totally pinning this on my "life tips" board just in case I ever need it. I'm so glad you found a way to rescue the new shirts! That would have been SUCH a bummer!

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  42. I just did this last week, minus the "getting the spots out" part. I just ordered some Goo Gone and will be working on that as soon as it gets here!

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  43. I'm glad you found a solution but I'm also really excited to hear that you're a fan of Steven Universe! It's my favourite show these days.

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  44. I'm sure it's mentioned somewhere in here already, but never run something stained through the dryer until you know that the stain is out. The heat sets most stains (especially oily ones) and makes it so much harder to get out. WD40 also takes out oily stains that Dawn/baking soda/hydrogen peroxide can't remove.

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  45. My grandfather bought some Quick N Brite off an infomercial one day... turns out, this stuff is great at getting grease stains out of clothing. https://www.quicknbrite.com/

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  46. Oh, Jen, I feel your pain! I once washed one of my grandma's antique quilts and her apron, and the whole load came out smelling like fish! Turns out one of my husband's fish oil tablets had fallen into the apron pocket. Six washes with various things and the quilt and apron still reeked of fish! I was soooooo sad! I finally got it out with Tide+Febreeze pods and super hot water. :) So glad your laundry disaster ended happily.
    Beth

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  47. My daughter regularly would throw in a hoodie (last minute so I couldn't check it first) which had at least one roll off Chapstick, sometimes 3. Once she ruined a whole load of expensive bathing suits. After much experimentation, I found spraying the shirt with Fantastik (cotton) or WD40 (rayon) and then washing in a solution of Spic and Span orange worked every time.

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  48. I tried several things too before I found something that worked. My favorite grease stain remover is 1 part blue Dawn, 3 parts baking soda, and 3 parts hydrogen peroxide. (I tested the blue Dawn and baking soda each by themselves first and they did not work on their own.) Just stir it up and scrub it on with an old toothbrush, then let it sit for at least an hour (but not overnight) before washing. I keep a batch of this mixture on hand at all times, and it works great on other stains too. (Just don't put a cap on the mixture right away, because it foams for a while and push the cap off.)

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  49. Another great option is LESTOIL . . . it's found in the cleaning section usually on the lowest shelf by the Pine Sol. It smells just lovely (NOT), but after the clothes have been dried and you see the grease stains you can just dab some of it on the stains and it will take them right out. Also, it does work best if it it is washed sooner rather than later, but if you do leave it on it for say . . . a week . . . and find it later to wash it, you can just dab on a bit more and it will work the same without bleaching the clothes. . . not that I would know or anything! :)

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  50. I clicked through from the Cake Wrecks link, all set to read about CHOPstick stains. What ARE chop stick stains, I wondered to myself. Is the wood from which chop sticks are made particularly staining? Perhaps chop sticks covered in Chinese takeout had soiled your clothing? Far from disappointed though, because (1) had a good laugh at myself, and (2) Ironic Bunny!

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  51. WD40 also works on set oil stains. Saturate stain with WD40, let sit a min, then use dish soap on top and scrub it together with your hands and then throw in the washer with your detergent. You might need to wash couple times to get rid of the WD40 smell depending on how much you use, but it works everytime.

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  52. For those who hate tissues forgotten in pockets that cause little pills all over your laundry, I recommend switching your household over to handkerchiefs! You can get a 6 or 12-pack from Walmart (men's underwear section). Get the all-cotton ones, not the rayon.
    1) You need to throw them in the wash anyway, so forgetting them in a pocket is no problem.
    2) Save money!
    3) More gentle on your nose when you have a cold.
    4) No tissue-dust going up your nose and making your nose run even more.
    5) Environmentally friendly.

    You don't need to do extra loads for handkerchiefs; just throw them in with your whites. They last for years, too. If you blow your nose a couple times a day, you will need a fresh one every couple days. If you have a bad cold, you will go through two or three a day. We have maybe two dozen that the two of us share, and that's because we only do laundry every other week.
    - L

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  53. Finally, something that will work!! We already tried everything you did except for that yellow bottle. Crossing my fingers that this will work as well for us as it did for you!

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