How to Remove Candle Wax

While many people burn candles year round, there are certain times of the year when it seems like literally everyone has a candle burning. The holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays without one or more scented candles burning throughout the day and evening! Unfortunately, even the best intentions go awry and chances are you will have at least one ‘spill’ to contend with, and haven’t the first clue how to get that wax up without leaving a stain. Learning how to remove candle wax depends on where that spill ends up!


Some of the most frustrating places to drip candle wax is on carpet or upholstery. Since you can’t throw it in hot sudsy water or stick it in the freezer, it becomes a bit problematic getting that wax off. There are a number of techniques you could use to remove candle wax in situations like this but the best suggestion is to start with a brown paper bag and a hair dryer. Also have a can of WD-40, carpet/upholstery shampoo and a clean white rag on hand for the final steps.

  1. Aim the hair dryer close to the wax on a medium to high setting.
  2. Place a piece of the paper bag directly on the wax.
  3. With your fingers tap the bag down to absorb the melted wax.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until no further wax comes up.
  5. With the nozzle aimed at the stain, spray WD-40.
  6. Wipe with the white cloth.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until no more color comes up.
  8. Sponge the area with warm water and carpet/upholstery shampoo if needed.
  9. On a low to medium setting, blow dry the area if necessary.

While the wax itself may come up easily when melted, chances are the dye that colors the candle will be a bit trickier to remove. When considering how to remove candle wax from upholstery or carpet, remember that the final steps are almost more important than lifting the wax itself.


Removing candle wax from clothing is usually a bit easier because you can remove the article in question to work with it. One of the most common methods of getting the initial wax off is to simply place that item in the freezer for at least an hour. When the wax freezes, simply chip it off quickly before it melts. If you don’t get it all off the first time, freeze it again and repeat the process. From there you can go about removing the stain left behind as you would any other stain prior to laundering. WD-40 works well, as do most commercial pre-treatment laundry stain removers. The process for removing the dye used to color the candle would be much the same as removing ink stains or those from berries.


Actually, it usually isn’t too difficult to remove candle wax from wood such as on furniture and hardwood floors. Once it dries take a piece of Teflon or plastic and scrape it up. Once the wax is up you can go about lifting the stain, if any, with any commercial solvent such as WD-40. It is not recommended that you use mineral spirits or turpentine because that is likely to also lift the varnish which would require refinishing the surface. Glass, on the other hand, is quite easy to work with. No stains will be left behind once you remove the wax.

For glass such as that found on glass topped tables, a good window scraper or razor would do the trick nicely to get the wax up. Then simply use a warm cloth and wash the surface as usual. Some people, however, like to use those glass candle holders again or for other purposes. While many people suggest freezing the votive, that requires a lot of labor chipping it off. The easiest way to remove wax is with boiling hot water! After rinsing the votive several times with ultra-hot water, wash it as you would your dishes and you are ready to use it again.

As you may have noticed, removing wax isn’t really the difficult part. It is removing the stain left behind from the dye that colors the candle. If you are prone to dripping candle wax, perhaps you should consider burning white candles. However, that’s unrealistic unless you add scent at home with your own essential oils. Keep these pointers in mind when considering how to remove candle wax from almost any item imaginable and you should have a good place to start.

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