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Removing Candle Wax

Candles burning on a table with holiday decorations and food. Image credit: Anastasia Shuraeva

December 2023


Candles add a warm, inviting glow to any room. Maybe you’re using them to give your apartment or townhome a cozy feel during the winter months or dressing things up when entertaining friends. This is the time of year when you’re more likely to use candles, which means you’re more likely to have wax spills. Whether you’re dealing with drips on your favorite candlesticks or splatters on furniture, removing wax doesn’t have to be a hassle. We have some great tips for you on removing wax from different surfaces and avoiding drips and spills.


Understanding Wax

Before diving into removal techniques, it’s important to understand the type of wax you’re dealing with. Most candles are made from paraffin, beeswax, or soy. Paraffin and soy have lower melting points than beeswax. When using heat to remove wax, less heat is required to do the job with paraffin and soy. While beeswax has a higher melting point, it also has a higher freezing point. That makes freezing a very effective way to remove beeswax. Knowing the type of wax you’re dealing with can help you choose the most effective approach to removing it. It’s also worth mentioning that because beeswax is much denser than paraffin or soy, it burns brighter, lasts longer, and drips less.


Removing Wax from Candlesticks

  • Freeze Them. Place the candlestick in the freezer for a few hours. Cold wax becomes brittle and easier to remove. Gently chip away at the wax with a plastic tool like a credit card to avoid scratching the candlestick.
  • Warm Water. For more stubborn wax, submerge the candlestick in warm, soapy water. The warmth softens the wax, making it easier to wipe away with a soft cloth.
  • Apply Heat. If freezing or warm water doesn’t work, try using a hairdryer. Set it on a low heat setting and direct the warm air onto the wax until it softens. Wipe away the melted wax with a clean cloth.


Cleaning Wax from Wood Surfaces

Use a plastic scraper or credit card to gently remove the hardened wax. Be careful not to scratch the wood. Cover the wax with a paper towel or brown paper bag. Then, use an iron on a low setting to heat the wax. The heat will transfer the wax to the paper. Once the wax is removed, clean the area with a wood cleaner and polish to restore its shine.


Cleaning Wax from Fabric and Carpets

Carefully remove as much wax as possible using a dull knife or spoon. Place a paper towel or brown paper bag over the wax. Gently iron over the paper on a low setting. The heat will melt the wax, and it will adhere to the paper. You may have to repeat this to absorb all the wax. If there’s a residual stain, apply a spot remover or mix a solution of vinegar and water, and gently blot the area.


Preventing Wax Spills

  • Always place candles in a holder designed to catch drips.
  • Longer wicks create more dripping. Keep the wick trimmed to about 1/4 inch to reduce dripping.
  • Wind or drafts also create more dripping. Place candles away from drafts to prevent uneven burning and dripping.

We love it when our Elmwood Manor residents do things to make their apartments and townhomes feel like home. From decorating to entertaining friends and loved ones, we want you to love where you live and enjoy it. If you do use candles, please remember to do so safely. Never leave lit candles unattended, keep them away from flammable objects, and use a proper candle holder. If you aren’t a resident and would like to learn more about our apartments and townhomes, you can do so here.