How To: Remove Wax Easily





Introduction: How To: Remove Wax Easily

Easy steps to help remove candle wax from common items in your home with only a few tools!

Whether you're preparing for a romantic evening, a birthday party, Hanukah, or freshening your home with scented candles, it's likely that you'll end up with some candle wax somewhere.  We've all picked at it with fingernails or butter knifes attempting to scrape what little we can off of the surface, usually at the cost of finger nails and the table. This Instructable will walk you through easy steps to safely and effectively remove wax from the most common items in your household. 

Step 1: Hard Surfaces

Candlelit dinners usually lead to some wax dripping and hardening on your nice wooden kitchen table. Luckily it's easy and fast to remove.

  • Ice Cube
  • Plastic Card (i.e. credit card, library card, etc)
  • Ziplock* (optional)
  • Remove the candle from the wax puddle gently with your hands. 
  • Place your ice cube directly on top of your hardened wax. If you are worried about water stains as the ice melts, put your ice cube in a ziplock before placing it on top of the wax.
  • Wait for up to 2 minutes.
  • Remove the ice cube.
  • Take your plastic card, and gently scrape your hardened wax off your wood surface. It should come off within seconds, if it is not replace your ice cube and wait for a longer period of time before trying to scrape up your wax. I use plastic cards so that the risk of scraping your table or surface is minimized.
  • Wash with soapy water. If your hard surface is wood, let it dry and then if necessary, refinish with butchers block wax or another wood product.  

TIP: I've also read that you can cool the wax by blowing compressed air on it. So if you have compressed air for cleaning your keyboard or something else, feel free to try it instead of an ice cube. I have NOT yet tried this method!

Step 2: Carpet

Removing candle wax from carpet is easy. Just gather up the following:

  • Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • Old Dish Towel
  • Place a folded paper towel on top of your hardened candle wax.
  • Place an old dish towel on top of the paper towel. This will prevent wax from absorbing through the paper towel and on to your iron.
  • Heat your iron to the appropriate temperature for your dish cloth and carpet.
  • Run your iron over your dish towel using gentle sweeping motions to avoid burning the towel and carpet. 
  • Replace the paper towels as they absorb melted wax. A fresh paper towel will continue to absorb wax. If you leave the same paper towel, the wax will continue to melt from the paper towel and spread.
  • Once all of the wax has been melted and reabsorbed into your paper towels, you're done!
  • If a stain persists after the wax is gone, use your favorite, appropriate carpet cleaner and blot till stain is removed.
NOTE: The ironing of the wax can take a little bit of patience. Especially if the appropriate heat setting for your carpet is low. Be patient, it'll take a while for the wax to heat up through the paper towel, but it will.

Step 3: Fabric

I've found that table cloths are the most common fabric that runs into candle wax, but aprons, dishtowels and other fabrics are no exception either.  Whatever your fabric, as long as it's washable, follow these simple steps to remove wax and potential stains. You are going to combine the methods from step 1 (freezing) and step 2 (heat and iron). We'll remove as much wax as we can with the ice cube method first, to minimize the risk of staining the fabric further. We'll finish with step 2 to remove as much remaining wax as we can by absorbing it. If you are worried at all, please take your fabric to your local cleaners.

  • Ice Cube
  • Plastic Card or A Dull Butter Knife
  • Paper towels
  • Old Dish Towel
  • Iron
  • Place an ice cube on top of your wax stain and leave for several minutes. *You could also put the entire fabric item in the freezer, if it is a large stain.
  • Scrape the wax with either a plastic card at a 45 degree angle or the back side of the blade of a dull butter knife while pulling the fabric taut. Remove as much of the wax as possible. 
  • Place a paper towel folded in half on top of and below your wax stain. 
  • Place your old dish towel on top of the paper towel that is currently on top. This will prevent wax from getting on your iron.
  • With a hot iron (temperature set for your particular fabric), make sweeping motions on top of your dish towel. Keep the iron moving so that it doesn't burn your towel. 
  • Replace paper towels as it absorbs wax. A fresh paper towel will continue to absorb wax. If you leave the same paper towel, the wax will continue to melt from the paper towel and spread.
  • Let your fabric dry and send it through the wash!
  • If a wax stain persists, or if it was colored wax, use your favorite stain remover appropriate for you fabric and wash again.

NOTE: For this step, washable fibers include the following: cotton, linen, modacrylic, nylon, polyester, spandex, and washable wool. 

NOTE #2: Darker candles (dark purples, blues, reds, greens, etc) will leave longer lasting and harder to remove stains. At the very least you should be able to lighten it significantly with this method if not get rid of it all together. 

Step 4: Candle Jars

Candles often come in cute little jars that could easily be reused once the waxy residue is gone. Cleaning the jar is easy, let's begin so that you can repurpose it for a variety of other things.

  • Tea Pot/Boiling Water
  • Paper Towel
  • Boil water in your tea pot or in a pot. I prefer in a tea pot so that it is easy to pour once the water has boiled.
  • Place a paper towel under your candle jar. This will catch any overflowing wax or water if you accidentally pour too  much into your jar in the next step.
  • Pour the boiling water into your candle jar. You will begin to see the candle wax melt and float to the surface. 
  • Wait for the wax at the surface of the water to cool as well as for the water itself to cool. Then simply remove the wax from the water's surface with your finger (DO NOT DO THIS WHILE THE WATER IS HOT).
  • If necessary, repeat this process until all of the wax has been melted and removed.
  • You can scrape out any remaining small fragments of wax with a paper towel. 
Easy huh? Now you can use your jar for anything you can come up with. 

Step 5: Final Tip

As with most things, preventing melted wax from spilling is the first step to stoping wax stains.

A quick tip to help prevent future wax stains. Fill a glass or bowl or other appropriate candle holder with enough water to surround the candle. If the wax melts and spills over, it will spill into the water where it will cool and harden at the surface. A little water goes a long way!

Step 6: Done!

You're done! Hopefully this helped you remove wax from wherever you've had it dry recently. So light those candles and enjoy your next romantic evening, birthday, or other celebration. 



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    30 Discussions

    To remove wax from a wall or carpet, let it dry, freeze with ice cubes if possible, and get off as much as you can with a spatula/scraper. I used a fork (carefully) to pull some out of the carpet. Hold a brown paper bag against the wall, or on the carpet, on top of the wax, and iron it. I didn't think it would work, but it did, and it works really well! There are no traces of wax left on my wall or carpet. A friend of mine told me about this after she had gotten red wax on a cream colored carpet. It removed it completely for her too!

    1 reply

    TIP: You may have to move the paper to a place where there is no wax to get the last bits off. I cut the bag as to not take a chance on getting wax on the wall in other places! Also, I didn't believe that a brown paper bag would work as well as paper towels, but it works way better!

    I agree with Vampyra65! Try sticking the entire candlestick in the freezer to get the wax to harden. Once it's cold, it should come off fairly easily when picked at.

    Nice instructable! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Ice can help remove gum from carpet too and then you pull it up with a fork. To remove gum from hair use lots of peanut butter.

    I'm also interested on that (removing wax from a bedroom wall) .. don't ask me how it got there :)

    instead of putting boiling water in the jar with the wax, put the candle container in a bowl or pot that has boiling water in it. it'll melt the wax no problem and you don't have to avoid boiling water or overflowing wax

    1 reply

    I have a question though. How would you get candle wax off a wall?

    btw you should include that in your instructable

    5 replies

    If the surface is porous, melting the wax with a heat gun will lead to its being soaked in deeper.

    I'm not sure I've ever had candle wax on a wall! Maybe that would be a good time for the compressed air freezing method? Spray compressed air on the wax till it is frozen. Try to gently scrape off with a plastic card. That would be my first guess at least. I imagine it would also greatly depend on what your wall is made out of and trying to avoid scratching it up.

    By compressed air, I think that means turning the can upside down so that it freezes the wax. Blowing air on it would just spread liquid wax and wouldn't really cool hard wax that much. Upside down compressed air cans tend to spew out liquid nitrogen or something.

    Freeze Mist would probably work better than compressed air, but compressed air is easier to find since not too many places sell electronic parts and freeze mist. Freeze mist was developed to test solid state electronics, transistors and ICs mostly, that had a thermal run-away problem. Hit it with freeze mist, the temp drops way down, the circuit works, and you've found the bad part. Replace it and all is well. Try Radio Shack. The stuff I have found on the web is by GC Electronics and it is called, "Freeze Mist" Radio Shack calls it, "Component Cooler" for ~ $11 for a 4.5 Oz can.

    Component Cooler: Model: 64-4321 | Catalog #: 64-4321

    Anyway, unlike compressed air which does cool things a bit if applied at very close range, Freeze Mist & Component Cooler were made to make things cold, very cold, very fast.