I’ll bet you use lip balm on your lips, don’t you? Oh, I know, it’s called “lip balm,” so it’s SUPPOSED to be used for moisturizing your lips. But do you know how to use lip balm for more than your lips? And for more than moisturizing?

With all the lip balm we have around, we’ve found some extra uses for it. We’ve also figured out how to get greasy lip balm stains out of shirts and pants and…wait, you’ve put lip balm through the clothes dryer, too? I guess that’s what happens when you have a tube or jar in every pocket (like I do). Well, no worries, I can help with that, too. But first, let’s talk about the other things you can do with lip balm.

1. Smooth the rough edges

Fall isn’t the only time of year that skin can feel dry or rough, but it’s a great time to pamper those problem areas. And while the thin skin on your lips takes a beating in the cold and dry weather, rough or dry skin on elbows, knees, heels, or even cuticles can also benefit from a bit of balm. How exactly does balm help?

Natural oils, butters, and waxes can protect skin from further damage even as they moisturize. Almond oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil work to soften, condition, and smooth the skin. Shea butter is another great moisturizer, and cocoa butter and beeswax in a balm form a waxy, waterproof layer to help hold all these conditioners and moisturizers to the skin. Our balms contain all of these ingredients, plus extra Vitamin E (which is great for smoothing cuticles).

So smooth some on your dry hands…or that dry area above your lip that appeared after you blew your nose 647 times during that cold. Yeah, I can see it from here. I know the balm makes your nose shiny, just put it on at bedtime. Trust me, your nose will thank you. And me.

2. Lips Part Deux

So you’re using balm to moisturize your lips, sure, but what if they’re not as smooth as you’d like? You just might need a sugar polish. All you need is your favorite lip balm (we like a little Piña Colada for our lip polish) and some granulated sugar.

Scoop a bit of balm into your palm and add a pinch of sugar, mix until the balm is warm and melted, then apply gently to the lips. When you rinse away the sugar, your lips will still feel that protective layer of balm. They’ll also feel invigorated—it’s like a mini massage.

Note: We loved the idea of adding a pinch of salt to make polish (especially with our margarita balm, it was too hard to resist) but found that if our lips were the slightest bit chapped the salt would sting. Salt is also sharper than sugar and can be dehydrating, which was not the effect we wanted. Our recommendation: stick with sugar!

3. By Gum, the Gum is Gone!

I’m not in the habit of tossing all kinds of weird things into the washer, but with two kids I was bound to end up with chewing gum in my dryer at some point, right?! (Please tell me I’m not alone here.) I scraped off as much of the goo as I could, then applied a bit of balm around it. Wiping with a paper towel removed the gum and the balm all at once, and with a few applications, all the stickiness was gone.

I’ve since found that balm is great for removing other sticky things, like annoying bits of adhesive labels that refuse to come off. Please note that these tips are only recommended for hard surfaces, not fabrics or other porous materials. You also won’t want to apply balm to anything that can be damaged or stained by oils. Oops! But what if the balm got on them by accident? (Or went through the dryer with the bubblegum…)

“Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!”

Now that you have all of these new uses for lip balm, you’ll probably have one in every pocket, and you know what that means: lip balm in the laundry. Whether it’s lip balm melted on the jeans, a shirt pocket, or on your favorite dress, if you can iron and wash the garment, you can get it out.

The object is to melt the balm with your iron and absorb the waxes and oils into paper towels.

  • Start by gently scraping off any excess balm.
  • Set your iron to the lowest setting and prepare your ironing board with several layers of paper towels. Place the garment on the paper towels, then put additional layers of the towels on top of and underneath the stain (inside the clothing…this prevents wax from melting through and staining the other side of the garment).
  • Place the iron on the top layer, above the stain, and heat the towels. Depending on your fabric type, you may need to adjust the heat of the iron, and you will need to replace the paper towels as they absorb the oils. Repeat this process with clean towels until you have absorbed as much of the balm as possible.
  • Wash the garment by itself in hot or warm water (the hotter the better!), with detergent.
  • Allow garment to drip dry, and check to see if an additional wash cycle is necessary. Several wash cycles at high temperature with detergent should remove any remaining oil stain.

Need some yummy flavored balm for a lip scrub? Here are a few options. How about some plain ol’ unscented, unflavored, colorless balm for other jobs? You might want Bare Balm. It’s a special 2-for-$4 price because we know you’ll want one in your car and junk drawer and medicine cabinet. And pocket. Every pocket.

Have you found other uses for your lip balm? I’d love to know. And have you laundered your balm, that’s the other pressing question I really need answered. I’d feel much less alone. Please share your thoughts!