Simple Ways to Remove Candle Wax from Just About Every Household Surface

A little wax stain can be a big problem—unless you know the cleaning hacks that will successfully remove candle wax from any surface.

All it takes is one little drip for the candle you were enjoying so much to lose its appeal. The same is true when you’re suddenly dealing with red wine stains and coffee stains. There’s no denying that spilling hot wax is a messy situation, but these tips on how to remove candle wax from any surface will make your cleanup duties quick and easy—whether it’s dripped onto your carpet, your clothes, or even your walls.

To wax stain newbies, removing candle wax might sound like an art—and it is! That’s because wax stains can be especially tricky to clean if you don’t know which method will work for your specific type of wax spill. For example, some might think home cleaning solutions such as vinegar will remove wax stains, but that’s not true—not only is vinegar ineffective in this case but wetting the area will make wax removal more difficult. However, there are other items you can clean with vinegar.

“Wax stains are hard to remove because you have to choose your approach carefully based on the surface the wax is dried on,” says Rosa Nogales-Hernandez, head of home cleaning at Valet Living. “Some surfaces, such as carpets, fabric furniture and linens, need heat,” she explains. “Other surfaces, like wood, require cold, like an ice cube, to get the wax off.”

A word of caution: Don’t try to remove hot, liquid wax. Waiting until it has cooled and hardened is the best approach for a few reasons:

  • Hot wax poses a potential burn hazard. Plus, since a small wax spill dries so quickly, it will likely have hardened by the time you hop up to grab a paper towel anyway.
  • Even the most careful of blotting attempts could end up spreading the wax to surrounding areas.
  • Rubbing and blotting could grind the hot wax even deeper into fabric fibers, making it more challenging to remove.

Here’s what else you need to know to remove candle wax based on the kind of wax stain you’re addressing. Learning how to remove food stains like this is a total game-changer for your home!

how to remove candle wax from fabricALAINA DIGIACOMO/RD.COM

How to get candle wax out of clothes and fabrics

When you spill wax on clothing, you might pick at it for hours and still not get all of it off. That’s because the best advice on how to get candle wax out of clothes is to apply heat, according to Nogales-Hernandez. And no, this isn’t the time to use one of the best stain removers for clothes—you’ll want an iron for this job.

What you’ll need

  • Butter knife
  • Paper bags
  • Iron

Step-by-step directions

  1. First, use a thin butter knife to remove as much of the larger wax pieces as possible. Scrape gently to avoid nicking or pulling the fabric.
  2. Place the clothing or fabric between two plain paper bags, like you’re making a sandwich. Any kind of non-glossy paper bag will do.
  3. Set the iron to medium heat; then iron over the paper bags until the wax transfers out of the fabric or clothing and onto the paper bags. Repeat using clean paper bags, as needed.

This approach works on a variety of clothing materials, including cotton and denim. It even works on upholstered furniture and delicate fabrics, like silk and wool—just be sure to use the lowest possible heat setting for these and keep the iron moving so one spot doesn’t stay under direct heat for too long.

candle wax in carpetALAINA DIGIACOMO/RD.COM

How to get wax out of carpet

If wax spills on your carpet, breathe. All is not lost. But the process is much different than getting rid of coffee stains or red wine stains. Definitely do not try this method with any of those.

What you’ll need

  • Damp cloth
  • Iron

Step-by-step directions

  1. Dampen a clean cloth so it’s moist but not dripping.
  2. Place the damp cloth over the wax stain on the carpet so it covers the stain completely.
  3. Using an iron, apply medium heat to the cloth. This will pull the wax out of the carpet and make it stick to the cloth, Nogales-Hernandez explains.

How to get wax off a wall

Instead of staring at the wax stain on your wall and wondering how such a thing even happens, dive into action. The faster you act, the less likely the wax is to stain your wall.

What you’ll need

  • Blow-dryer
  • Paper towels

Step-by-step directions

  1. Using a blow-dryer, apply medium heat to the wax stain on the wall.
  2. Wipe away the wax with a paper towel as it softens, being careful to avoid dirtying other areas of the wall as you wipe.

If you do notice some staining post-removal, you can try removing the leftover residue with a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water. However, if the wax was a dark or bright color or had been sitting unnoticed for a few days, you still may need to touch up the area with some paint.

How to get wax off wood

When wax drips onto your wood table or floor, don’t reach for the blow-dryer or iron! Wood is porous, so heating the wax could actually help the wax melt and sink into the wood even more. Instead, use ice. Just try not to let the area get wet since it’s harder to scrape the wax off when it’s slippery. One more helpful tip: Whether you’re trying to remove wax or simply doing some regular cleaning, never use these products on your wood floors.

What you’ll need

  • Ice
  • Dry towel
  • Spoon or butter knife

Step-by-step directions

  1. Gently rub ice over the wax to make it as hard and brittle as possible. Apply the ice for only a few seconds at a time, and use the towel to keep the area from getting wet.
  2. Gently scrape off the wax using the edge of a spoon or the back of a butter knife. Lightly graze over the surface to avoid scratching the wood.
  3. Repeat the process as needed until all of the wax has been removed.

How to clean candle wax off glass

Whether it’s wax that’s dripped down the side of your glass candleholder or a wax stain on a glass mirror, here’s how to get rid of it without damaging the glass or leaving a waxy residue behind.

What you’ll need

  • Butter knife
  • Blow-dryer
  • Paper towels

Step-by-step directions

  1. Scrape off the excess wax with a butter knife.
  2. Use a blow-dryer on medium heat to soften the wax.
  3. As the wax softens, wipe it away with paper towels.

how to remove candle waxALAINA DIGIACOMO/RD.COM

How to remove wax from candles

Wait—aren’t candles supposed to be waxy? Well, sure, but it can be a problem if wax has built up around the edges of your candle holder or dripped wax has dried down your candle’s sides. Here’s how to fix this problem, and in the future, make sure you’re burning candles the right way.

What you’ll need

  • Ice
  • Butter knife

Step-by-step directions

  1. Use a piece of ice to freeze the wax around the problem area of a room-temperature candle, advises Nogales-Hernandez. This will harden the wax and make it easier to work with. Gently rub it over the wax for a few seconds at a time.
  2. Carefully break away the drips and pieces of wax with the thin end of a butter knife.

Voilà! Your candle will look as good as new! Now that you know how to remove candle wax from anything and everything, find out how to get rid of other tricky stains—from turmeric stains to oil stains.

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Maryn Liles
Maryn is a seasoned lifestyle writer who's always on the lookout for what's new and next. When she's not writing, you can find her working on her latest home decor DIY project, out for a hike or dancing around the house to 80s jams.