How to Remove Wax From an Axminster Rug





Introduction: How to Remove Wax From an Axminster Rug

About: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ...

Like molten lead or cheese, spilling molten wax is something best avoided. A while ago I had an accident with liquid wax affecting my mouse, keyboard, monitor, table, rug, trousers and more.
The keyboard & mouse were easy to clean - I removed the electrical bits and poured boiling water over the cases. The rug and trousers were not so easy.

The usual method for de-waxing carpets found on the internet involves picking at them with a knife, maybe after chilling with ice, then applying heat & absorbent paper. I didn't think this would work on my rug because a lot had soaked in deep.

I used:
Washing-up liquid (detergent)
Hot water
An empty food-can (and can opener)
A bucket
A bath

Step 1: Preparation

Mark the affected area on the reverse of the rug, I've used tape but a marker or chalk would do. I guess you could push pins through from the front if it's difficult to judge.

Apply a little detergent to this area, which should help wet the fibres and allow water to penetrate rather than roll-off.

Using a can-opener, remove the other end from a empty can (sweetcorn in this case) to give you a steel ring. This will help guide the hot water you are about to apply to the back of the rug.

Place the rug over a bucket, preferably in a bath or over a surface which will not be harmed by water. Level and flatten the rug on the bucket. In this position water should be inclined to move straight down, rather than to one side.

Step 2: Wax Off

Weight the ring made from the can over the marked area with a heavy object of your choice.

Pour hot (just boiled) water into it - see picture - be careful and notice from the second picture that I'm keeping at arm's length away from the water.

I used 1.5 Litres, and it would have been ~95oC.

Some of this escapes to the sides, but a high-handed, rapid pouring drives hot water into the rug, splashing is contained by the ring and detergent-foam.

Dry the the rug as you find convenient, at the moment mine is draining in the bath after a total washing. I suppose I'll hang it out later.

Step 3: The Results

This was almost totally effective first time. A tiny amount of wax left behind was easily removed with some paper and a hot pan of curry goat.
As documented elsewhere, place a sheet of absorbent paper over the waxy area and apply heat with pressure, the function of a hot pan should be obvious.

One other remaining patch required two hot water treatments, but was similarly removed.



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    31 Discussions

    In the past I have used a can of air to resolve this type of problem (similar to the ice cube trick). Insert a straw into the nossel, turn the can upside down and begin spraying the area. By turning the can upside down you will spray our a very very cold stream which will deep freeze the wax. Then I use a hammer to SLAM it into a million pieces. Works like a charm! :)

    15 replies

    Yes, a can of compressed air. You know, the kind that you buy at Office Depot to blow out dust bunnies out of your computer. When I use to do electronic repairs some of the circuit boards used a thin 'cardboard' glued to circuit boards as an insulator. A failed circuit board would sometimes get so hot that this glue would melt down, into the the frame of the printer making it nearly impossible to remove the circuit board. Taking a can of compressed air, inverting it and spraying it onto the melted glue would freeze it instantly. Then giving it a tap with a screwdriver and hammer the frozen glue would shatter allow the circuit board to release. Try it, it works!

    Compressed air doesn't freeze things, the can you're talking about would have butane / propane in it I should think. L

    Hmmm... Let me see if I can find out who the manufactuer was and where we used to purchase those cans of compressed air from. I'm fairly certain that there was no propellant added. I haven't done an instructable yet, maybe this will be my 1st : )

    <div class="wikierror"><strong>Video</strong><pre>can not parse options from: , {width:425, height:350}</pre></div>Ok, so I contacted a buddy I used to work with and he confirmed that yes indeed we used to use air duster inverted to freeze and smash things. Thank goodness cause I thought I had brain freeze. If you still don't believe that it can be done just do a search on this site for 'air duster freeze' you will find several people who are demonstrating it already so I don't need to create a video to prove it to you. <br/>

    Of course canned air works. Look up "Ideal Gas Law" on Wikipedia, and cogitate for awhile. Right next to the valve, when the air first comes out, the pressure has dropped dramatically, but the air molecules are still confined to a fairly small volume. So the temperature drops first. As you move further from the can, the volume increases so the temp rises to room temperature. But the CAN--that stays cold for some time.

    Although much of Wikipedia is worth noting and much of it may be true , you should always be aware that some of it is n't worth noting and equally not true.
    I leave you to consider which is and which is n't.

    The Truth like Gold is Rarely Found,
    But lies, The Gold Of Fools Abounds,

    Well this discussion has been quiet for 5 days.
    I take it that you have now conceded to the fact that "Yes, a can of compressed air. You know, the kind that you buy at Office Depot to blow dust bunnies out of your computer." can indeed freeze things.
    But it has been fun discussing it with you.

    I concede nothing. You can't get much air in a can, and compressed air won't freeze things. I didn't receive any notifications of your comments because you were replying to yourself rather than me.
    If you looked at the Instructable which you posted a link to on the 16th you might have noticed that he wasn't using compressed air at all - look again, step 3.


    But if you read step 1 he plainly states "2 cans of compressed air the kind used to blow the dust out of you computer" which is what I had stated. The point was that this is just an ordinary can that anyone can get off the shelf at Office Depot and not "LPG or something equally volatile" as you had stated

    So where did he get "By turning it upside down you're actually spraying 1,1,1-Trifluoroethane " from? Decided to throw something completely spurious and untrue in there just for fun did he?
    Most people (like yourself) seem to think this stuff is air, which is probably why it was referred to as "air" in step 1. It isn't.
    See this product - clearly marked as being flammable - not air.
    Or this FAQ on Dust-off - "Q: What is actually inside the duster can, isn't it just air? A: No,"


    ok..ok..ok.... you are correct. Even though the company labels it product as air it really isn't. (someone should sue them all) But whatever the 'stuff' is - invert it, spray it and it will freeze your little wax off. Which was the entire point of your ible, "How to remove wax from an Axminster rug". Geez.... I feel like I'm arguing with my 23 year old son :)

    1) Most "compressed air" that you buy in cans is not air. You were probably using (as L guessed) chlorofluorocarbons (eg, Freon) or LPG (eg, butane or propane). If it sloshes when you shake the can (ie, there's liquid inside), it's not air. 2) Even at high pressure, dry air does not do a whole lot of cooling.

    The whole point of this discussion was that you can buy a can of air duster, turn it upside down, freeze the wax, hit it with a hammer, break the wax into a kazillion pieces and have it removed from the carpet. It wasn't the breakdown of what was in the can of air duster, it wasn't which type of hammer (rubber, steal, sledge), it wasn't how many pieces it would break into (just a million or was it really a kazilliion). It was just a simple solution to getting wax out of the carpet.

    I have some pieces of wood that had wax on the outside of them. I wanted to get it off, and I tried pressing them onto a sanding belt. Wrong idea! I now have globs of wax on the sanding belt, and the crepe rubber sanding belt cleaner won't remove the globs. These blocks of wood are about 2 inch thick by 3 inch diameter cylinders. If I subjected them to enough heat to melt the wax but not burn the wood, (300degrees F.) Could I get most of the wax to drip off onto tinfoil placed below?

    1 reply

    I have a plan. I'm going to make a jig to hold the wooden cylinders while I saw the waxy ends off, then I'm going to replace the waxy belt with one that is clean. I may just see if I can heat the wax off after replacing the belt.

    Off topic from the rug... The fermentation bucket you mention shouldn't be exposed to detergent at all if you plan to use it for further fermentation. I've heard bad stories of soap residue and potential batches of brew. Back when I brewed beer we used a sanitizer specifically for its compatibility with the brewing/fermentation process. I think the bottom line is that you don't want to use anything that has the potential to kill the cultures (both from bacteria OR the detergent). Anyway. Just a warning. Thanks for the wax tips. I've had numerous mishaps with wax and fabric.

    1 reply

    Yes I know about these detergent warnings and "don't use bleach". I aim to have the equipment physically clean, which includes the removal of detergent residues. Food-grade polypropylene doesn't seem to attract detergent or fragrance that much, and I've not had any trouble. Of course anything you sterilise equipment with has the potential to kill cultures, so it still needs a good rinse. L