How to Remove Candle Wax from Just About Anything

updated Oct 19, 2023
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So your guests are four cocktails in, and all of a sudden, those ambiance-enhancing candles you lit have become more of a hazard than a help. Wax spills all over your linen tablecloth and perhaps make its way onto your rug and hardwoods. The bad news is that there’s no magical quick, and easy way to remove candle wax from anything. The good news is that with patience, elbow grease, and a little knowledge, you can remove wax from just about everything.

Quick Overview

How to Remove Candle Wax

Whether you’ve spilled candle wax on the carpet, got it on a shirt, or even rubbed it into the walls accidentally — there’s a way to remove it. Simple methods like melting the wax with a hair dryer or iron, hardening the wax in the freezing, or scraping it off with a plastic scraper or credit card can help.

How to Remove Candle Wax

Here’s how to remove candle wax from just about any area (or surface or fabric…) in your home. Good luck!

From Painted Walls

Place several sheets of paper towels over the wax you want to lift off the wall. Warm your iron to the lowest setting and, working in short intervals, run the iron over the paper towels. The wax should transfer to the paper towels. You can also use a hair dryer, wiping off the excess wax as it melts.

From Brick

First of all, don’t rub it in – that will only succeed in spreading it around. Instead, freeze the wax and then scrape it away with an old butter knife or similar tool. After scraping away all you can, you may need to go back with a little Goo Gone to remove the rest. Afterward, wash the brick with warm, soapy water.

From Wood

Use a blow dryer to soften the wax, and then wipe it away with a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to chip away at the wax. This can damage the wood or finish.

Place a paper bag over the wax. Put your iron on a low heat setting and run it over the bag on the waxy spot. The wax will be absorbed by the paper.

From Fabric

Take a 2-step approach. First, put the fabric in the freezer for about thirty minutes. Then, remove the fabric and scrape off the cold wax. Lastly, use the warm iron and paper bag method to remove the wax stain from the fabric.

Finish it off by applying a little straight laundry detergent directly to the stain and washing as directed. If the wax leaves a particularly noticeable stain, you can also treat it with stain-remover if the fabric is washable.

From Hair

If the wax is on the tips of the hair, place them in hot water to melt the wax. If closer to the root or on short hair, massage olive oil into the hair to help loosen the wax.

From Sink/Bathtub

Use a credit card or other plastic scraper to remove the wax. Use boiling water to loosen the wax, if necessary.

From Small Items

The easiest way to remove candle wax from small items, like a candle holder, is to place them in the freezer. Once the item is cold, remove it from the freezer and tap off the cold wax.

From TV/Computer Screen

Your best bet here is to use the ice cube method to harden the wax and try to pop it off in one piece. If it’s especially stubborn, try Goo Gone or mineral spirits. And maybe consider keeping your candles away from electronics, just for good measure.

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.25.12 – AL