Cleaning Candle Wax Stains
How to Clean and Remove Candle Wax Stains
I don’t know about you, but every Christmas I end up with candle wax stains on my holiday tablecloth.
I know it’s going to happen, and yet, I am somehow powerless to stop it. Our family eats, laughs, drinks and before I know it, it’s December 26 and I’m in the laundry room working on those candle wax stains.
If you get these pesky old candle wax stains, the method for cleaning is pretty straightforward and not that difficult.
Removing Candle Wax
The first step to candle wax stain removal is to remove any chunks or pieces of wax that will come off easily – after it has hardened completely.
As you may remember from high school chemistry class, wax is not water-soluble. That means it will not come off with water, even hot water.
In fact, water can make the stain worse if the dye that’s been used to color the candle is further set when the wax is wet.
Don’t attempt to remove hot candle wax. You’ll only push the wax deeper into the surface and more importantly, you might burn yourself.
Stain Removal Method for Removing Wax
This wax stain remover remedy should help. This not only works on fabrics but carpet too.
- Let the wax harden completely. If you want to speed up the hardening process, you can place the item in the freezer (if it will fit) or place ice cubes in a zip lock bag (large enough to cover the wax stain) and place over the wax.
- When hardened, carefully scrape the wax off with a butter knife or some other dull edged item like a plastic putty knife.
- Dust off, vacuum (with upholstery attachment) or shake off loose bits of remaining wax.
- Turn your iron on to its lowest setting. Do not set it on the “steam” option, as steam may affect the dye in the wax.
- Place a brown paper bag, a couple layers of paper towel or a damp cloth over the wax stain and iron it until you see the wax being absorbed into the paper. Change absorbent material as needed and make sure it completely covers the wax area, especially if you are working on carpet.
- If working on fabrics and if possible, it’s also a good idea to have something (another piece of paper or paper towels) under the area.
- Repeat if necessary.
Removing Wax Dye Stains That Remain
The second step to candle wax stain removal is removing the dye that can be left behind. Most candles today are colored with aniline dye.
This type of dye is oil-soluble, which allows it to bind with the candle wax. So, just as the wax can’t be removed with water, the dye can’t either.
You’ll need to use rubbing alcohol or Dawn dish washing liquid. For either of the methods listed below, place a paper towel or a clean towel under the wax stain if on fabric. Also, prior to putting in the dryer, double check to make sure the stain is gone.
Using Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Candle Wax Dye Stain
- Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a clean towel and dab the stain.
- If the towel turns the color of the dye, the alcohol is working to remove the stain.
- Continue dabbing the stain until it has been completely removed. Do not rub as this will further set and spread the dye stain.
- Launder per directions.
Using Dawn or OxiClean to Remove Candle Wax Dye Stain
This method may have better results on fabrics. It can be tried on carpets as well but test the Oxiclean in an inconspicuous area of item first.
- Rub a small amount of Dawn into the stain and dab, dab, dab until the dye starts lifting.
- Continue dabbing, using a clean area of cloth, until you can no longer see the stain.
- Rinse and launder as directed.
- After testing for colorfastness, when using the OxiClean, mix with cool water and submerge the area and let soak. For carpets, use clean cloth and dab. Rinse with clean water when finished.
Removing Candle Wax Stains from Walls
Getting wax stains on walls is not unusual. I’ve used too much breathe to blow out a candle and blew wax onto the wall. It happens and not uncommon.
Remove Candle Wax from Walls Using the Iron Method
Paper towels may work best here as you’ll want to tape the paper towel to the wall (it’s less awkward than trying to hold it and iron) using painters’ tape if you have it so you don’t risk pulling paint from the wall when removing tape. Masking tape can work as well just apply it lightly. Follow instructions above for using the iron.
Removing Candle Wax from Walls Using a Hair Dryer
If you don’t have an iron but do have a hair dryer, this method will work as well. Slowly heat the reaming wax and as it softens and starts liquifying, wipe the liquified wax with the paper towel, trying not to spread it around too much.
For remaining residue, mix together a one to three ratio of white vinegar (1 part) and water (3 parts).
Removing Candle Wax from Wood
There are times when things just slip from my hands. I’ve done this before while moving a candle to the coffee table. If you get candle wax stains on wood surfaces you can follow the instructions above for using the iron or by using the hair dryer.
If there is a greasy residue left wipe down with the mixture of white vinegar and water mentioned above. Then polish with your furniture wax using a clean soft cloth.