How to Remove Candle Wax Easily From Common Surfaces

Updated March 2, 2020
spilled wax on a surface

Knowing how to get candle wax off your wall can save you a new paint job. While you might think that scraping it off should be a go-to, it's not. The method you use to remove candle wax from wood, walls, plastic, glass and even clothing is going to vary. Get step-by-step instructions for removing wax from any surface.

How to Get Wax Out of Fabric and Clothes

You were moving a candle and spilled wax on your new shirt. Never fear! Wax doesn't mean the end for that beautiful strappy pink number. Before getting into cleaning methods though, remember, for dry clean only fabrics, you'll want to chip off all the wax, but then take it the dry cleaners for any other steps. For most fabrics, you'll want to grab these supplies:

  • Brown paper
  • Iron
  • Dry cleaning solvent

What to Do

When it comes to how to getting wax out of fabrics, you want to follow these steps for success.

  1. Put the clothing in the refrigerator or freezer.
  2. Pull it out and chip off the wax.
  3. After you've chipped off the wax, put the clothing item between two pieces of standard brown paper (like plain brown paper grocery sacks).
  4. Use an iron set on warm (never hot) and move it slowly and easily over the affected areas on the brown paper.
  5. You may need to swap out the brown paper as you remove the wax.
  6. Once all the wax is removed, you can either treat the affected area with dry cleaning solvent or just wash in the hottest water the clothing can take.

It's important to remember that heat melts wax and will help remove any remaining residue, especially with standard laundry detergents that keep grease from setting.

woman ironing a shirt

Remove Candle Wax on Carpets or Furniture

You just watched your child spill candle wax on your carpet or couch. You know that you can't throw that into the freezer. To get the wax out, grab:

  • Ice cubes
  • Iron
  • Clean cloth
  • Furniture and carpet shampoo like Resolve

Getting It Clean

While it might seem like the end of the world, you can get that wax up in a jiffy. Grab your supplies and follow these steps.

  1. Put the ice on the wax to harden it.
  2. Chip the majority of the wax off.
  3. Place a clean, white damp cloth over the affected area.
  4. Set the iron on warm.
  5. Use a warm iron to remove the rest of the wax from the carpet or furniture.
  6. Replace the cloth regularly until it's all gone.
  7. Use the shampoo on the area.
  8. Flush it with water
  9. Let air dry.
  10. Repeat as necessary.

How to Remove Candle Wax From Wood and Walls

You didn't realize that your candle was dripping off the plate right on to your pristine wood floor. Maybe you splattered wax on your walls. Before you break down sobbing, grab:

  • Hairdryer
  • Vinegar
  • Cloth
  • Wood floor or wall cleaner

Getting Wax Off Wood and Walls

Though your first instinct might be to grab a plastic knife and start scrapping, you run the risk of harming your wood floor or paint. Rather than grabbing the plastic knife, you'll want to grab the hairdryer, unless you have a large glob of wax. If so, scrape off the top layer, but don't touch the floor. You'll then want to:

  1. Use the hair dryer to soften up the wax.
  2. Soak the cloth in a mixture of 1-part vinegar to 2-parts water.
  3. Use the cloth to dab up the wax.
  4. Keep using the heat and dabbing until the wax is gone.
  5. If you have remaining residue, use a cleaner designed for walls or wood to remove the residue.
Candles melting on wood

Getting Wax off Plastic or Glass

Did your child decide that wax is the new paint and went all Picasso on his new play table? Do you have wax on your glass bowl? Do you need to know how to get wax out of a candle holder? The key to removing wax off glass and plastic is getting it hard enough to scrape. To do this, you're going to need:

  • Freezer or ice
  • Bag
  • Plastic scraper (an old credit card works great)
  • Multi-surface cleaner

Method for Removal

If your item is small enough that you can put it in the freezer that will work the quickest to harden the wax. For larger items that won't be possible so follow these steps.

  1. Put ice in a bag.
  2. Place the bag of ice on the wax to harden it.
  3. Once it is good and hard, grab your plastic scraper and chip the wax way.
  4. Use the multi-purpose cleaner to remove any residue.
  5. Voila! Good as new.

Cleaning Up Spilled Wax

You might love burning candles but that comes with spills. When it comes to spilled wax, you want to clean it up as soon as possible. If it hasn't dried, you can just wipe it up and use a cleaner to get out residue. If it has dried, then try the tricks for each surface. However, when it comes to wax in general, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Untreated wood may stain with any coloring used in the candles, so take care with candle wax in any area that has untreated or unprotected surfaces.
  • Candles should only be lit by adults and never left alone in a room unsupervised.
  • Candle warmers contribute to fire safety but can still result in spilled wax.
  • Think about making candles without wax.
burned down candle

Keeping Wax Off

Candle wax doesn't have anything on you. With a little heat or a bit of ice, you've got that wax spill in the bag. Just remember that candle wax can stain, so cleaning it as soon as the spill occurs is always best and usually easier.

How to Remove Candle Wax Easily From Common Surfaces