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How to Remove Wax from Clothes

Melted wax can easily drip or spill onto clothing! Solve the problem quickly and easily with these tips on how to clean and remove wax stains from clothes.


A  basket with clothes inside

Whether it’s a children’s birthday party or a dinner party with friends, celebrations often mean candles and as accidents can easily happen, candle wax can get spilt. Follow the simple steps below to quickly and easily remove candle wax from clothes and tablecloths.

Always check the wash care label on the clothing before attempting to remove spilt wax. Some fabrics may need specialist care, while others can be tackled with a good quality laundry detergent like .

How to Remove Wax Stains from Clothes in Five Steps

1 – Do nothing

The first step is to do nothing – at least until the wax is dry, in any case. Attempting the wax stain removal method before it has set is likely to exacerbate the problem, spreading the stain and possibly even burning you. So let the wax set before taking any action.

2 – Give the stain a scrape

Next step is to remove as much of the hardened wax as possible. Take a knife that is sharp enough to do some damage to the wax, but not so sharp that it risks damaging the item of clothing. Take care when handling the knife; always use strokes going away from your body to avoid any accidents. Work on the wax to remove as much of the hardened matter as possible, leaving behind just the most embedded of the wax.

3 – Re-melt the wax

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This may appear to contradict the first step above, but the next move is to reheat the wax. Place a dishcloth or a towel under the item of clothing or tablecloth, then put two paper towels over the top of the wax stain. Set an iron at a low to medium heat and iron over the area. The heated wax will melt again, and come away from the fabric, soaking instead into the paper towel.

If you find that the paper towel is becoming saturated with the wax, move the towel along to start again on a new spot, or replace it with a new sheet. If you have any blotting paper to hand, this will work just as well, if not better, than paper towels. Always be careful when using an iron.

4 – Leave to soak

By this stage, the wax stain removal process should nearly be complete. However, if the wax is coloured, there is almost certainly going to be a stain remaining on the clothing or tablecloth. If that is the case, prepare a bowl with a solution of water and an oxygen-based stain remover and leave the stain soaking in the bowl for a few hours. This should effectively remove the last remaining stains from the fabric. You could also try applying a small amount of liquid detergent directly to the stain as a stain remover. Always test on an inconspicuous area first before widespread use.

5 – Give it a wash

Finally, give the clothing or the tablecloth a wash in the usual way – either a machine wash with , or by hand if that is more appropriate. And any remnants of the wax spillage should now be gone!

If the affected item is of an item of clothing of a particularly sensitive material, you may wish to refer to an expert cleaner with specialist experience in how to remove wax stains from clothing.

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Frequently asked questions on removing wax stains from clothes

How do you remove paraffin wax from clothes?

You can remove paraffin wax in the same way as you remove candle wax from clothes - wait until cooled and dried, gently scrape off the excess, re-melt the wax with gentle heat under the iron, and then dab at the affected area with a paper towel.

How do you remove hard wax from clothes?

Hard wax is dry wax that can mostly be removed by scraping or pulling the solid clumps gently from the clothes. On textured fabrics, re-melting the wax and dabbing the area with a paper towel should allow you to remove any wax that has hardened within small crevices.

How do you remove wax from clothing without an iron

If you don't have an iron to reheat and remove wax stains then use a hairdryer on a gentle setting instead or hang the garment close to a radiator. Do not leave the garment unattended during this process to prevent damage or fire hazards.

How do you remove candle stains from clothing?

Colored candle wax can be removed using the methods described above but may leave colored stains on your clothing. Remove this quickly by putting the item immediately in the washing machine with an appropriate detergent or by treating with a white vinegar solution or oxygen bleach.

Originally published