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How to Remove Candle Wax

Updated on June 23, 2011

Help! There's Candle Wax on My Tablecloth!

Candles are beautiful, relaxing, and instantly set the mood for romance. Unfortunately, they can also be messy! If you've ever had candle wax drip onto your carpet, wood furniture, or fine linen tablecloth, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Fortunately, you can safely remove candle wax from almost any surface, regardless if it's paraffin or soy wax. Removing candle wax from carpets can be as simple as using a soft, slightly damp cloth and an iron.

If you need to remove wax from a wood surface, that's even simpler: You can either heat it up with a hair dryer and rub it off with a cloth, or freeze it with ice and gently scrape the wax off with a credit card.

It's even possible to remove candle wax from painted walls and CDs without damaging them. All it takes is heat and gentle persuasion.

Read on to learn tips on how to remove candle wax from your carpet, tabletops, and wherever else wax happens to drip!

How to Remove Candle Wax from Carpets

Hot wax dripped on your carpet, you say? Let's go over some tips to remove that stuff.

  • Allow the wax to dry. It's easier to remove dry wax without making a mess.
  • Freeze it. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag, then leave it on the area until the wax is as hard as can be.
  • Scrape the excess with a spoon or a dull knife. You probably won't get it all, but that's OK. Just get most of it up if you can. By the way, only use a dull knife; a serrated one could damage the fibers.
  • Spread a damp white cloth over the wax stain. It's worth noting that most people recommend a brown paper bag, but a damp cloth will be helpful...
  • Iron the cloth (or bag). The iron against the damp cloth will produce steam that sucks the wax right up. But a paper bag works fine too.

WARNING! Most modern homes have carpet made from poly-fibers, which will melt at hot temperatures. Keep the iron at a low setting to prevent this from happening.

If the wax is tinted, it may have left an ugly stain on your carpet. If that's the case, try removing it with some rubbing alcohol. If there's still some grease, sprinkle some baking soda on the spot and leave it overnight. Vacuum it up the next morning.

How to Remove Candle Wax from Wood Furniture

Wax dripping over a beautiful wood tabletop is a common problem. There are actually two solutions for removing wax. Let's start with the hot method:

  • Warm up the wax with a hairdryer. That's right, get it nice and gooey.
  • Start wiping it up with a soft cloth. Preferably a cloth you don't care too much about.
  • Clean the remaining residue with a vinegar solution. One part vinegar, one part water.

If that doesn't sound appealing, try the cold method:

  • Freeze the wax with ice cubes. Make sure the ice is tightly sealed in a plastic bag. You don't want water dripping on the wood.
  • Carefully scrape off with a credit card or a butter knife. Be extremely careful! Chip off little bits at a time. If you're in a hurry, you risk gouging the wood. If possible, try wrapping a paper towel around your tool.

Removing Candle Wax with a Paper Bag and Iron

A demonstration of removing candle wax spills.

The Candle Poll

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How to Remove Candle Wax from Cloth

What if candle wax has marred your lovely tablecloth or napkins? And how do you remove candle wax from clothes? Don't worry, there's a solution for that too.

  • Scrape the excess. Use a dull knife, preferably a butter knife. You don't want a serrated knife that will snag the fabric.
  • Place a flat paper bag or cloth over the stain.
  • Iron the stain through the bag. You'll get the wax to stick to the paper.

If there's a stain, pre-treat it with a stain removal solution before tossing it in the wash. If you don't have any stain removal, try rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

How to Remove Wax from Painted Walls

Wax on the walls is unusual, but it happens on occasion. Fortunately, you should be able to remove the wax without damaging the paint.

  • Heat the wax with a hairdryer.
  • Gently scrape off with a credit card or very dull knife.

If a dark grease spot remains, try rubbing it down with a very mild vinegar solution (more water than vinegar).

How to Remove Candle Wax from Candle Holders

After you've burned down your candle, you'd probably like to reuse the candle holder. So what's the quickest way to get rid of the wax?

Answer: Pop it in the freezer for a few hours. Once the wax is nice and frozen, it should snap out easily. It might need some gentle persuasion with a dull knife, preferably wrapped in a paper towel to prevent scratching.

How to Remove Candle Wax from a CD

How did you get wax on your CD? Oh well, things happen. Here's how you remove candle wax from CDs:

  • Run hot water over the CD. This should come straight from the faucet. Don't use boiling water from a tea kettle!
  • Gently rub with a soft cloth. Remember, rub from the center out! Don't rub in a circle.

Some people also recommend putting the CD in the freezer for several hours before trying to gently pick the wax off.

How to Prevent Candle Wax Stains

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you'd rather avoid scraping and ironing up wax stains, here are some tips to avoid drippy accidents.

  • Avoid burning candles near drafts. Vents can cause your candles to smoke and burn unevenly.
  • Use a candle snuffer to put out your candles. If you don't have a snuffer, use a small glass.
  • Don't move a candle if the wax hasn't solidified yet. You're inviting disaster if you move a candle when all the wax is still a hot liquid.
  • Buy quality candles. Cheaper candles tend to be made from inferior materials that encourage dripping and staining.

Scented Jar Candles

3- 6.5 oz Scented Jar Candles
3- 6.5 oz Scented Jar Candles

Tease your senses with these candle scents: Banana nut bread, sugar cookies, and apple pie.


Do you have any candle wax horror stories or tips of your own to share?

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    • MissaJones profile image

      Missa Jones 8 months ago from MN

      Thank you for the tips... I am going to try them today! I am determined to get our security deposit back from our Apt.... Ugh they always get you with the carpets!

    • profile image

      claramkc 5 years ago

      very happy, how the candle wax removal with a hair dryer worked out thank you very much

    • productosexpres profile image

      productosexpres 5 years ago

      It is a really interesting lens, we are a wax spanis enterprise ( and we are excited with all the tips related to the wax. Do you care if we take borrow some of your tips and tricks? Also we have twitter, but it is also in spanish.

      Congrats for that lens!!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      No horror stories, although just today I lit a new Christmas candle I got as a present and it melted everywhere. Finding this lens was timely! I can testify that the freezing trick works perfectly for getting excess candle wax loose from candle holders. I do that all the time; the frozen wax pops right out.

    • magnetic06 lm profile image

      magnetic06 lm 5 years ago

      such a useful lens packed with great tips, thanks for sharing

    • martyneville lm profile image

      martyneville lm 5 years ago

      Well done! Very comprehensive tips on removing wax from all sorts of surfaces.

      And yeah, how did anyone get wax on the CD in the first place? Hmm...

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      Great lens. Useful tips.

    • profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comprehensive instructions! I've included a link to this lens in my candlemaking lens. (If you'd prefer I remove it, please let me know.) Thank you!

    • profile image

      BenoitCornett 5 years ago

      I conceive you have observed interesting tips to remove candle wax. I did not read such type of information just before. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you, now I know what to do with that table cloth.

    • profile image

      WinWriter 5 years ago

      Very helpful lens. *Blessed*

    • MindPowerProofs1 profile image

      MindPowerProofs1 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. You saved my life. I like candles and I have to clean the wax all the time

    • CarpetCleaningG profile image

      CarpetCleaningG 6 years ago

      That's going straight in my bag'o'trocks. Cheers

    • CarpetCleaningG profile image

      CarpetCleaningG 6 years ago

      That's going straight in my bag'o'trocks. Cheers

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      I had a yankee chocolate chip cookie candle burn all over my tv and tv stand once, I never could get it completely off, if only this info was around 10 years ago!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading your lens. You did a fantastic job!

      One squid thumbs up vote issued for this lens :)

    • profile image

      SusanBlackburn 6 years ago

      I love candles and always looking for new and improved ways to remove wax. Great lens... thank you!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've misplaced my candle snuffer. I have a bad habit of blowing wet wax onto the table when I blow out a candle. Thanks for this helpful information!

    • tailortoo profile image

      tailortoo 6 years ago

      I agree that "prevention is worth a pound of cure" - nothing worse than wax on a tablecloth. Since we have switched to beeswax candles, we find very little problem with wax on anything.

    • profile image

      SussexOnline 7 years ago

      There are a lot of option regarding on removing wax in your carpet, we all know that it is very hard to remove wax specially when it is already dried, one option to remove it, is by using the home iron. just let the iron pass through the wax stain.

      Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning

    • profile image

      CandleMakingology 7 years ago

      I run a candle making site and company and I get these questions a lot, do you mind if I point them to this lens? Or do you have a blog somewhere? Thanks, I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      tssfacts 7 years ago

      I basically knew how to remove wax. I wanted to find out if I could learn something new. You did teach me some new pointer. Great job. Blessed by a SquidAngel. You are featured on Home and Garden SquidAngel.

    • vernessataylor lm profile image

      vernessataylor lm 7 years ago

      Who ever knew the hairdryer would be such a handy fit-it tool for spilled candle wax? Excellent collection of tips and DIY techniques.

    • profile image

      ppt5551 7 years ago

      Great advice. They advice you have on here also applies to antique living room furniture. I have had to remove wax from the furniture I bought at many times

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Scented Candles are my Favorite, I buy about 6 Scented Candles a Month so I like this Squidoo Lens!

      Thanks for Sharing!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a wonderfully practical lens. I once innocently blew a candle out and splattered wax all over brand new, very expensive curtains. I did manage to get it all off but it was a horrible experience. Your lens would have come in very handy at the time.

    • AliciaAnn89 profile image

      Alicia 7 years ago from New York

      Awesome lens, very helpful and informative!

    • AliciaAnn89 profile image

      Alicia 7 years ago from New York

      Awesome lens, very helpful and informative!

    • profile image

      RachelDrake-kirby 7 years ago

      i have candle wax in both kitchen drains! in a mess! can anyone help??

    • profile image

      RachelDrake-kirby 7 years ago

      i have candle wax in both kitchen drains! in a mess! can anyone help??

    • profile image

      J_Edwards 8 years ago

      Now I know how to manage my own mess with candles. Good stuff you have here.

    • profile image

      SoyTreasures 8 years ago

      Awesome article! Since I make candles, I have wax problems all the time, especially in the floors and carpets. Keep it up!

    • QuiltFinger profile image

      QuiltFinger 8 years ago from Tennessee

      Great tips!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      I had stopped burning candles because of this! I am putting this in my Squidoo Library Lens for referrence! *****

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      The lens is great and useful and it has helped me a lot to remove the wax from my favourite dress.Thanks for your lens.

      Checkout my

      cash advances blog

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      The lens is great and useful and it has helped me a lot to remove the wax from my favourite dress.Thanks for your lens.

      Checkout my

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Wow!Nice lense.Your lens has got so much of information and it is to share it with all.These kind of information can help a lot.

      Feel free to ckeck out the blog carpet blog

    • beempa lm profile image

      beempa lm 9 years ago

      Great lens! I love the tip about removing it with a damp cloth! :)

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      Very informative lens! Saw it on Lensroll. :)

    • profile image

      IanHarper 9 years ago

      Ian Harper MBICSc

      Care must be taken on carpet made from Olefin Fiber (Polypropylene) as it has a low melt point.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      It is really very interesting lens here, One of the small problems with candle wax. I really proud of your lens, because it providing more information about to remove candle wax.

      I have created one more important lens about hair removal,

      thanks for giving more information.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      Just what I needed. This is a great topic for a lens.

    • profile image

      EclipseSpa 9 years ago

      I love your lens. Very informative to this candle lover. I can't tell you how much wax I have dripped on carpet.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 10 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Let me give you your first 5 stars. Your lens makes a nice addition to my stain removal lens so I have lensrolled it to there. I have also made you a "favorite" and am now a fan of yours. GOOD JOB!

    • KadabaCo profile image

      KadabaCo 10 years ago

      Loved the freezer tip! Martha Stewart would be proud!