How To Remove Candle Wax

The lights are down and the candles are lit. Beneath the golden glow, wax is melting. Whether it be colorful candles on a birthday cake or the tall tapers for a romantic dinner for two, wax drops, runs and spills often find their way onto clothing, table linens and carpet.

Candle wax is considered a combination stain, according to Ohio State University Family and Consumer Sciences. After removing the initial candle wax, a grease or color stain often remains. To remove candle wax completely, first remove the wax and then the stain.

Remove Candle Wax

Remove Candle Wax from Fabric

While the key to removing candle wax from fabric lies in treating the stain as soon as possible, you must first wait for the wax to harden. The hardening process may be sped up by placing an ice cube in a plastic bag and rubbing over the wax. Once hard, scrape off the solid wax using a butter knife or the edge of a metal spatula. Bend the fabric at the stained area to loosen and remove any excess wax. 

Place folded, white paper towels over and under the stained area, sandwiching it between the towels. Gently apply a warm, dry iron to the top of the paper towels to draw any solid wax out of the fabric. Change the paper towels often, repeating until no more wax melts onto the paper towels. 

After wax removal, a greasy or color stain may remain in the fabric. Apply a pretreatment laundry stain remover to the area and allow to penetrate for up to 30 minutes. Wash fabric according to label directions and inspect for remaining stain before placing in dryer. If any stain remains, soak colored fabrics in a color-safe bleach or white fabrics in chlorine bleach to remove. Once stain is removed, dry according to fabric label. 

Remove Candle Wax from Carpet

When wax drips on carpet, the basics for removal are similar to removal from fabric. The key is to treat the stain as soon as possible. Certain colors of wax, including red and blue, leave stains that are almost impossible to remove from carpet. Allowing them to sit over time makes the stain removal more difficult.

To remove wax stains from carpet, follow these simple steps:  

  1. Allow wax to completely harden. Speed up the process by placing a plastic bag filled with ice over the spilled wax. 
  2. Gently scrape off excess wax using a metal spatula or butter knife. Carpet featuring long tufts may require you to remove the wax in chunks using your fingers. Remove as much wax as possible.
  3. Cover the wax stain with several layers of white paper towels. Press lightly with a warm, dry iron. Avoid placing the iron directly on the carpet, as the fibers may melt. Replace the paper towels frequently as the wax is drawn up out of the carpet.

Allow the area to cool. If a color or grease stain remains, apply rubbing alcohol to the spot using a clean, white cloth. Blot until the spot is removed or no more color is absorbed by the white cloth. Clean the area using a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon mild dishwashing detergent and 1 quart of warm water. Gently blot the solution into the affected area using a clean, white cloth. Rinse carpet by spraying with a spray bottle of cool water. Blot the carpet thoroughly to remove the excess moisture. 

If the candle wax stain persists, lightly moisten the carpet with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Allow the peroxide to penetrate the stain for 1 hour, then blot with a clean, white towel. Repeat until the wax stain is completely removed. No rinsing is necessary, light and time changes the peroxide to water. Cover the area with several layers of white paper towels and weight down with a plastic bag filled with books. Leave on the newly cleaned area until it is dry.

​Remove Candle Wax from Wood Surfaces

When wax falls on wood surfaces, like furniture or flooring, your first instinct may be to grab a knife and scrape it up. This often leaves you with a scratched surface and a greasy spot. After the wax hardens, remove the excess wax by gently scraping with a dull knife wrapped in a cloth or paper towels. Dip a clean, white cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe any remaining stain from the surface of the wood. Allow the area to dry and polish the furniture as usual. 

To effectively remove candle wax, remember that it is a combination of wax, color and grease. Removing just the wax from the surface, often leaves behind color or grease. By treating the stain completely and as soon as possible, you will find yourself turning the lights back down and lighting the candles again.