How to Remove Candle Wax from any Surface
Everyone enjoys a good old fashioned candle.
What’s not to love? After all, candles come in all varieties, shapes, colors and scents – which is a definite plus in my book!
They make great presents and are the perfect solution to winding down a stressful day.
Being a candle aficionado, I know more about candles (and how to clean up their mess) than most people. Accidents happen, but I’m here to help make your candle wax stain removal as stress-free as possible.
I've got all of your candle wax problems covered:
- Candle wax on the carpet? Easy.
- Wax on fabric? No problem.
- How about your granite counter top? A piece of cake.
- Stains from candle dyes? Gone for good.
- Candle wax on wood? Remove it without a scratch.
- Wax on your wall? Gone in 10 minutes.
- Wax on Glass? Easiest to clean of all.
- Super Tough Stains? They don't have a chance.
Follow me down the page and I’ll walk you through the steps to remove candle wax from various surfaces.
How to Remove Candle Wax from Fabric
Special to Note: Do not place any stains in a dryer until you are sure the stain has been removed.
Before you attempt to scoop up the candle wax, let it harden first. If you try to remove hot candle wax from fabric, you'll more than likely embed the wax deeper into the fibers of the fabric, making it more difficult to remove.
Here's some effective tips to remove candle wax from fabric:
Scrape and Iron to Absorb the Wax
- Once the wax is solid (you can put the item in the refrigerator or freezer if you'd like), remove it by scraping it off the fabric using a flat tool like a putty knife, spatula or butter knife. In many instances all you need to do is bend the fabric at the very edge of the wax and you can peel the whole piece of wax right off the fabric instantly.
- Place the fabric on something absorbent UNDER the fabric. Make sure to select an item that will not burn or color bleed.
Some great examples:
a. A piece of cardboard
b. Brown paper grocery bag
c. Several layers of white paper towels
d. An old cotton towel you won't mind discarding.
I prefer to use a piece of plain brown or white cardboard or a brown paper bag – no need to worry about color bleeding on the fabric.
- Turn your iron on to the medium setting. Do not use steam or spray the fabric with water. Keep it on the dry iron setting only.
- Lay another absorbent item (as listed above such as a brown paper bag) on top of the remaining candle wax.
- Now the fabric is "sandwiched" between 2 absorbent items.
- Place the pre-heated iron on top of the absorbent item and move the iron continuously and quickly over the paper bag to avoid scorching the fabric.
- Move the absorbent item paper bag occasionally to a clean spot that has not absorbed the wax so it will continue to have the power to absorb the liquified wax.
Removing Leftover Dye Stains from Fabric
Many of us buy the colored candles that match our home décor. In this case, there might be remaining dye stains to remove. Just as wax cannot be removed using water, candle dyes can be a pain and cannot be removed with plain water alone.
Methods for Removing Dye Stains from Fabric:
Boiling Hot Water:
If the fabric can handle it (Check the manufacturer's label) –
- Place the stained fabric over a container and use a large rubber band or cut pace of yarn or ribbon to hold it in place.
- Pour boiling hot water over dye stained area.
- You may have to repeat this method a time or two until you see the results you're looking for.
- Place a towel under the stained area then pour some rubbing alcohol over the stain.
- Dab with a clean absorbent cotton towel.
- If the stain starts to lift, yay!
- Continue dabbing at the dye until it is removed completely.
Dish Washing Liquid:
Use a mild detergent to remove the stain such as dawn dish washing liquid.
- Apply a small amount to the stained area.
- Gently rub the detergent into into stain until you see the stain start to lift.
- Rinse and continue the process until the stain is gone.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of my favorite natural stain removers. It's inexpensive and you can get it for less than a dollar at some discount stores.
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing (bleaching) agent that is color safe for fabric and will not damage fabrics the way bleach will.
Hydrogen peroxide is plain water missing a single molecule. It remains effective for about 45 minutes and the converts to water. This process happens almost instantly if the hydrogen peroxide is exposed to sunlight, that’s why it comes in a dark brown bottle and why we cover we cover the stains.
Another thing worth mentioning is because hydrogen peroxide converts to plain water it leaves no residue so there is no rinsing required to remove the cleaning solution.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap under the stained area (this is so the dye remains on the fabric).
- Pour hydrogen peroxide directly over stain.
- Cover the top of the fabric with plastic wrap and then place a towel over the top to keep light away from the solution as it goes to work on the stain.
- Let the hydrogen peroxide sit on the fabric for at least 1 hour then check the progress.
- Repeat if needed.
Removing Wax from Carpet:
Wax on carpeting may seem daunting, but the process is the same as for fabric and is often just as effective.
Scrape and Iron to Absorb the Wax:
- To remove candle wax that has dripped on carpeting, let it harden first.
- If there is a lot of wax, you can put a few ice cubes in a plastic lunch baggie and place it over the wax, this will cause it to harden and become brittle making it easier to pick up the pieces.
- Take care to remove as much of the wax as possible to get the best cleaning result.
- Follow the scrape and iron method we mention above.
Removing Leftover Dye Stains from Carpeting:
If there are any remaining dye stains in the carpet, I have a few things you can try before you move your furniture around to hide the stain.
Methods for Removing Dye Stains from Carpet:
In stain removal, "like removes like", which means acid stains can be removed by acids and alkaline stains are best removed with alkaline substances. Most if not all dyes are alkaline, and baking soda is just the right solution to help lift the stain.
The baking soda solution should remove many dye stains. Baking soda will also remove any lingering odor.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water using 1/4 cup baking soda and 3/4 cup HOT water.
- Mix thoroughly in a clear container, until as much of the baking soda as can be dissolved is diluted in the water. (some mineral's will remain at the bottom of the container)
- Strain the water through a coffee filter, napkin, cheese cloth or similar to remove as much of the mineral solids from the baking soda solution.
- Apply the solution to the dye stain and gently massage the carpet fibers to ensure the stain has become wet with the solution.
- After 1 hour, dab up as much of the baking soda water as possible until almost dry.
- Re-wet the carpet with clean water and continue dabbing until the stain has been lifted.
- Let the area dry and vacuum well.
Follow the steps listed above for fabric. Let the hydrogen peroxide dry, and repeat if necessary.
Cleaning up Spilled Candle Wax from Wood
Hopefully wax spills are noticed at the time of the accident and can be cleaned up immediately. You want to get to it and remove the wax while it's warm enough to be pliable but not hot enough to burn you.
If you don't catch the spill right away, removing candle wax from wood is a little more difficult, because you need to be careful not to scratch the wood finish and can't use a knife or any other utensil that will scratch the wood.
If the stain won't come up, some sanding, refinishing, and re-staining may be required. If you are hesitant at all, contact a professional.
Freeze and Scrape Gently:
Great Tip: I have used a playing card to get up all the wax I possibly can before moving on.
- Place ice cubes in a zip-lock lunch bag.
- Place the ice on the wax so it becomes hard and brittle.
- Use a playing card or something similar to scrape away and lift the wax.
Heating with a Hairdryer:
- Use a hairdryer on low to medium heat; keep it moving around the remaining wax.
- Keep the area around the wax covered with rags or paper towels so the force of the air coming from the hairdryer won’t splatter or spread the wax on unexposed wood.
- If the wax is coming out repeat the process until all remaining wax is removed.
- If some wax remains and the wood can handle it, you can try some of the Un-Du candle wax remover I mention above.
Scrape and Iron to Absorb the Wax:
- Place a paper bag or quite a few paper towels over the remaining stain.
- Use iron on lowest setting, moving around to lift the stain (as described above).
- Wipe the area with a lint free cloth and some cream or liquid furniture polish.
Removing Candle Wax off the Wall:
Use the method mentioned above using the hairdryer for melting the wax and using the paper towels to absorb the melted wax.
Heat with a Hair Dryer:
- Have someone help you so the wax doesn’t drip and is wiped up immediately.
- If there is any colored residue remaining use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a paste of baking soda and water.
- Lightly scrub the wall so you don’t remove any paint.
Removing Candle Wax from a Glass Tabletop
Well, if a wax stain has to happen, this is the easiest surface to clean it from.
Freeze and Scrape Gently:
- Let the wax harden.
- Scrap off with playing card
- Spray some window cleaner on to remove waxy residue.
- You can also try a solvent to effectively remove the thin layer of wax off the glass.
Removing Wax from Granite Counter Top:
Use a plastic spatula and boiling water.
- Boil the water, dip the spatula in the hot water and quickly scrap carefully at the wax.
- Repeat until the wax has been lifted.
- Buff with a clean cloth to remove any remaining wax smears.
Super Tough Stains
Un-Do Candle Wax Remover is a commercial product that works amazingly well at removing candle wax stains. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to dissolve wax away.
Recycling Glass Candle Jars
I like to recycle certain items for some of my craft embellishments. Candle jars with lids are perfect and it’s a crafty idea.
When I burn my candles, they are used until pretty much no wax is left to burn so there is only a little wax remaining.
Keep in mind, there is always the risk of breaking the glass with any method you try, the jars I’m talking about are typically made with a thick heavy glass.
- Fill a kettle and boil water. I let it cool a little bit to lessen the chance of breaking the glass.
- Preheat the empty jars with hot water from the tap to minimize the sudden rise in temperature and minimize the risk of cracking the glass container.
- Pour the just boiled water in the candle jar until it is just about full.
- Any wax that is remaining will turn to liquid and come to the surface. I like to place a paper napkin on the surface to absorb most of the liquefied wax. Any remaining water and small amounts of wax can be cooled until the wax hardens and the water can be discarded. Don’t put any wax or pour out any of the hot water from the glass jar into the sink.
- Repeat as needed.
When you've finished this process there might be a little waxy residue left on the glass.
- Before it cools down, take some paper towel and wipe out any wax remaining on the surface.
- You can also use white vinegar or baby oil to remove and small wax smudges.
- Wash by hand or put in the dishwasher.
Now that you know how to properly clean candle wax from any surface, you can continue burning your favorite candles without the fear of dripping candle wax or those terrible stains.