how to remove candle wax

We all enjoy a little aromatherapy and the festive glow of candles, especially during the holidays. From scented varieties to elegant, tapered pieces adorning our dinner tables, candles are perfect for decorating and creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. But where there are candles, there is wax.

Whether it’s unnoticed drips that make their way down a candlestick to accidents at birthday parties, candle wax can find its way onto wood, walls, carpets, and clothes. Because candle wax is in liquid form when it hits your linen tablecloth (or leather jacket) and quickly solidifies, cleaning it up becomes a challenge.

We’re here to help. From getting the wax soft enough to remove it to handling residual stains from colored and scented candles, in the following article, you’ll learn how to remove candle wax from just about anything.

While there’s no single candle wax removal trick for all surfaces, there are ways to remove wax using common household supplies. Since candle wax is an oil-based stain, you’ll need a wax stain remover that dissolves oil like nail polish or rubbing alcohol. Other tools and products you may need include:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Ice
  • An iron
  • Paper bags
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Blunt scraper like a spoon or butter knife
  • Stain remover
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner

Keep reading to find out how to remove wax from fabric, furniture, and floors.

How to Remove Wax From Clothes

Whether you bumped into a candle or stumbled while moving it, spills and splatters happen. As long as you use the right stain removing solution and follow these tips, you can get wax out of clothes without damaging the fabric. Before getting started, though, make sure to check the label! You don’t want to compound cleaning issues by using a solution that could damage your garment or surface.

Remove Candle Wax From Cotton and Cotton Blends

Start by putting your garment in the freezer. Once the wax has completely cooled, it’s easy to pick it out with a butter knife. If the candle wax has created a stain, lay a paper bag over it and use an iron on the highest heat setting. This action melts the stain onto the paper.

If the stain is still noticeable or you can’t get all the wax out, stretch the stained area over a bowl and rinse it with very hot water. Complete the stain removal by pre-treating it with a stain remover and then washing the garment in the hottest water the care label will allow.

Remove Candle Wax From Silk

Getting stains out of delicate clothes like silk isn’t too hard if you take your time and follow this proven stain removal process. Put your silk garment in the freezer until the wax is hardened. Remove as much of the wax as you can with a spoon. Lift out the candle wax gently so you don’t damage the sheen. Spread the garment over a clean, white cloth and spray it with WD-40. Add 2-3 drops of dish detergent and massage the cleaning solution into the stain.

Wash your silk garment in the hottest water allowed per the care label. Don’t dry the clothes in the dryer, because any remaining wax stain will set and make it even more difficult to remove. Instead, let the garment air dry. If the stain persists, apply a stain remover to pretreat and wash the item again. Let it air dry and repeat as necessary.

Remove Wax From Leather

Press a plastic bag full of ice wrapped in a towel onto the candle wax for 3 minutes. Once the wax has hardened, scrape the excess with a plastic scraper. Pull the leather taut while you work to help loosen the wax. Do not scrape the leather. You must be careful to only remove the wax residue, or you could ruin the leather grain.

Once you’ve removed the excess wax, heat the stain with a hair dryer on warm. As the wax softens, blot it up with white paper towels. Keep heating the area while you switch to clean parts of your paper towel until the wax is gone. For remaining residue, apply a drop of leather cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and massage it into the stained area. Let the leather air dry and apply a leather conditioner to even out any discoloration.

How to Get Wax Off a Wall

Walls attract their fair share of stains, from crayons to candle wax. If a candle with hot wax takes a tumble, it can splatter your floors and walls. While these scenarios look like a catastrophe, removing candle wax drips and splatter on walls doesn’t have to be a big deal. To get wax off of painted walls, you’ll need some white paper towels, an iron, and hot, soapy water. Put your iron on its lowest heat setting. Place three layers of paper towels onto the wax. Gently press down on the towels with your iron on the lowest heat setting. Change out paper towels as needed until no more wax is absorbed. Wash the stained area with hot, soapy water to remove any remaining wax residue.

Removing Candle Wax From a Textured Wall

Instead of an iron, you’ll use a hair dryer to remove wax from textured surfaces. Turn your hair dryer up to its highest setting to heat up the wax. Hold some paper towels just beneath the bottom edge of the wax. The towels will absorb the wax as it melts, preventing it from running down the wall. Continue heating the area until all the wax has been melted and absorbed. For rough tile and cement, you can use ice to harden the wax and then pick and lift it out of the textured areas using a plastic scraper. Remove any leftover wax residue with hot, soapy water.

How to Get Wax Off Wood

When candle wax spills on your beautiful cherry dining table or hardwood floors, your first instinct may be to grab a scraper. Don’t do it; you could make matters worse by scratching the finish on your floors or furniture. You can safely remove the wax stain with your hair dryer. Put your hair dryer on medium heat and begin melting the wax. As it softens, dab the wax with a white paper towel. Continue dabbing with clean parts of your towel until the wax no longer transfers.

For remaining wax residue, wipe the area with hot, sudsy water and a clean cloth. For light-colored hardwood floors, use a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water instead to prevent staining. You can also use your water and vinegar solution on vinyl flooring instead of trying to scrape up the wax. Use your cleaning solution to dampen the stained area and gently begin peeling up the wax.

How to Get Wax Off Carpet

Even with candle wax, you don’t have to resort to harsh stain removers when you use the right carpet stain removal technique. Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and place it over the wax for five minutes. Once the wax has hardened, gently scrape away the wax with a butter knife. Your goal is to separate the wax from the carpet fibers without driving it further into your carpet. Once you’ve broken up the wax into pieces, vacuum up the wax debris using your upholstery attachment. Dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and moisten the stained area to prevent discoloration.

If you still have waxy residue in the carpet, place a white paper towel on top of the wax. Set your hair dryer to the highest heat setting and begin melting the wax. Change out fresh paper towels until the wax is no longer being absorbed. Spray the spot with carpet stain remover and let the area dry. Go back over the area with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to fluff up the fibers where you removed the candle wax.

To learn more ways to get stains out of just about everything in your home, check out the other stain removal guides on our blog. From blood and red wine stains to grease and rust, we’ve got you covered. Whether you keep your home clean and healthy with our library of DIY housekeeping tips or with one of our popular house cleaning services, The Maids is here to make your home a better place to live.


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