How to Get Candle Wax Out of Carpet

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Woman scrubbing a rug in her living room to clean

Burning a delicious-smelling candle can add serious hygge to your home, and nothing makes dinner so romantic as a couple of slow-burning candlesticks. But if one of those candles happens to drop hot wax onto the carpet, it can totally kill the mood. Before you try to get candle wax out of the carpet, you must first ensure the wax doesn’t spread any further.

Do this by placing a bag of ice cubes or an ice pack wrapped with a thin white towel (to keep the wax from getting wet) on top of the wax, says Joshua Miller, vice president of technical training at national carpet cleaning service Rainbow International Restoration, a Neighborly company. This will help to harden the wax and keep it from seeping further into the carpet fibers.

You should also take note of what your carpet is made out of. In general, carpets are made from numerous synthetic and natural fibers. Nylon is one of the most common synthetic materials and is extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear, says Miller—so it will be easier to remove wax from this type. If you have a carpet made from a natural fiber like wool, it may be more difficult because it’s more absorbent. 

Ready to get working? Turn to one of these easy methods to get candle wax out of the carpet in a flash. 

What’s the best way to get candle wax out of carpet?

1. Scrape it

Once the wax has solidified, use a dull object—such as a butter knife—to gently scrape off as much wax as possible, says Miller. You can vacuum up wax residue as you scrape it away from the carpet. Typically, this method of removing max should take most of it off—yes, even if it’s colored wax, Miller adds.

2. Blot it

For any stubborn stains, grab a white cloth and blot the remaining color with a diluted solution of one ounce clear dish soap and 12 ounces water. (Don’t substitute colored dish soap, as you risk adding to the stain, Miller cautions.) Work from the outer edges toward the center of the stain to avoid making a bigger mess or spreading the stain. 

3. Vacuum it

Once it’s dry, the last step is to vacuum the affected area where the candle wax was spilled. This simply ensures you remove all remaining residue.

How do you get candle wax out of the carpet with a hair dryer or an iron?

Heat can also be used to remove candle wax from carpet, says Miller. 

1. Use a paper towel

Start by placing a paper towel on top of the spilled wax. This is an essential step, as the paper towel will work to absorb the wax as it melts from the heat. 

2. Give it some heat

Turn an iron on medium-high and move it back and forth across the towel. (You can also use a blow dryer on high heat, holding it a few inches from the carpet and moving it back and forth over the area.) Heat the area for 10 seconds. As you heat, the paper towel will absorb the wax.

If you don’t see much action, you may need to hold the heat in place for as long as 30 seconds—especially for large spills, says Miller. And if your paper towel becomes saturated, but there’s still more mess to clean, swap it out for a new one. 

Don’t forget to watch your heat level as you go—high heat can melt sensitive carpet fabrics, such as synthetic olefin. If your carpet is made of wool, opt for a hair dryer over an iron to avoid damaging the carpet with too much direct heat.

How do you get candle wax out of the carpet without heat? 

1. Commercial cleaners

The scraping and heat methods are the most effective ways to remove wax from the carpet. However, some small wax spills can be resolved by applying a dry-cleaning solvent (such as Guardsman) to the candle wax, says Miller. Blot the affected area with a clean white cloth first before applying the solvent per package directions.

2. A natural solution

You can also try a more natural method of using vinegar. Mix ¼ cup white vinegar with ¾ cup water to dilute it, then apply the mixture over the stain with a spray bottle. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and place a clean cloth on top to absorb the stain. You can also try rubbing alcohol following the same steps. If the wax still lingers, move on to other methods.