How To Get Candle Wax Out Of Fabric: A Complete Guide

If you love lighting candles around your home, you’ve probably encountered the dreaded candle wax stain on your clothes or upholstery at some point. Don’t fret – removing wax from fabric is totally doable with the right techniques.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through several methods for tackling candle wax stains on any type of fabric.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use a dull knife to scrape off excess hardened wax, then place a paper towel over the stain and iron on a medium heat setting to draw out any remaining wax. For more stubborn stains, apply an ice cube to harden the wax before scraping.

Supplies You’ll Need

Dull Knife or Spoon

When dealing with candle wax on fabric, it’s essential to have a dull knife or spoon on hand. This tool will help you gently scrape off any excess wax without damaging the fabric. Be careful not to use a sharp knife as it could cut through the fabric.

Paper Towels

Having a few sheets of paper towels nearby will be useful for blotting and absorbing the melted wax. They will help prevent the wax from spreading further on the fabric and make the cleaning process easier.


An iron has dual functions in the process of removing candle wax from fabric. First, it helps to melt the wax, making it easier to remove. Second, it assists in transferring the melted wax from the fabric onto a paper towel or another absorbent material.

Laundry Detergent

Using a laundry detergent specially formulated for stain removal will aid in breaking down and removing any residual wax or oily residue left on the fabric. Make sure to choose a detergent that is safe for the type of fabric you are working with.

Baby Oil or Cooking Oil

Baby oil or cooking oil can act as a lubricant to help loosen the wax from the fabric fibers. It’s important to note that oil should only be used on washable fabrics and not on delicate or dry-clean-only materials.

Ice Cubes

If the wax has hardened, using ice cubes can help solidify it further, making it easier to remove. By freezing the wax, it becomes more brittle and less likely to spread or embed deeper into the fabric.

Butter Knife

A butter knife can be used in place of a dull knife or spoon to scrape off any excess wax. Its wide, flat blade provides a safe and effective way to remove the wax without causing damage.

How to Remove Candle Wax from Fabric

Step 1: Let the Wax Harden

The first step in removing candle wax from fabric is to let the wax harden. This can be done by placing the fabric in the freezer for about 30 minutes. By allowing the wax to harden, it will become easier to remove from the fabric without causing any damage.

Step 2: Gently Scrape Off Excess Wax

Once the wax has hardened, take a dull knife or a spoon and gently scrape off as much of the excess wax as possible. Be careful not to press too hard or scrape too aggressively, as this could push the wax deeper into the fabric or damage the fabric itself.

Step 3: Place Paper Towel Over Stain and Iron

Next, place a paper towel or a brown paper bag over the remaining wax stain. Set your iron to a low heat setting and gently press it onto the paper towel. The heat from the iron will help to melt the wax, causing it to transfer onto the paper towel.

Continue this process until no more wax is being transferred onto the paper towel.

Step 4: Treat With Laundry Detergent (For Clothing)

For clothing fabrics, after removing the majority of the wax, apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly to the stained area. Gently work the detergent into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush.

Allow the detergent to sit on the fabric for a few minutes before rinsing with cold water. Repeat this process if necessary until the stain is completely gone.

Step 5: Use Baby Oil (For Upholstery)

For upholstery fabrics, instead of using laundry detergent, apply a small amount of baby oil to the remaining wax stain. Let the baby oil sit on the fabric for a few minutes to soften the wax. Then, using a clean cloth, gently blot the stain until the wax is fully removed.

Be sure to test the baby oil on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stained area.

Step 6: Try an Ice Cube for Stubborn Stains

If there are still traces of wax remaining on the fabric, try using an ice cube to freeze the wax. Place the ice cube directly on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. This will cause the wax to harden and become brittle.

Once hardened, gently scrape off the remaining wax with a dull knife or spoon. Repeat this process until the stain is completely removed.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove candle wax from fabric without causing any damage. Remember to always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stained area.

Tips for Preventing Candle Wax Stains

Candle wax stains on fabric can be a real headache to remove. However, with some preventative measures, you can minimize the chances of wax spills and avoid the hassle of dealing with stubborn stains. Here are some helpful tips to prevent candle wax stains on your favorite fabrics:

Trim the Wick

One of the main reasons for wax spills is an excessively long wick. When a wick is too long, it can produce a larger flame that can cause the wax to drip and splatter. To prevent this, trim the wick to about ΒΌ inch before lighting the candle.

This will ensure a steady flame and reduce the risk of wax stains on your fabric.

Use a Candle Holder

Using a candle holder is another effective way to prevent wax stains. A candle holder provides a stable base for the candle, reducing the chances of accidental tipping or spilling. Additionally, it catches any dripping wax, preventing it from coming into contact with your fabric.

Invest in a good quality candle holder that fits the size of your candles to keep your fabrics safe from wax stains.

Place a Protective Plate Under Candles

If you don’t have a candle holder, you can still protect your fabric by placing a protective plate or tray underneath the candles. This creates a barrier between the candle and the fabric, preventing any wax from seeping through.

Make sure the plate or tray is heat-resistant and large enough to catch any potential spills. This simple precaution can save your fabric from unsightly wax stains.

Keep Candles Away From Fabric

One of the easiest ways to prevent candle wax stains is to keep candles away from fabric altogether. Avoid placing candles on fabrics such as tablecloths, curtains, or carpets. Instead, opt for non-fabric surfaces like glass, metal, or ceramic.

By keeping candles away from fabric, you eliminate the risk of accidental spills and minimize the chances of wax stains.

By following these preventive tips, you can enjoy the cozy ambiance of candlelight without worrying about wax stains on your fabrics. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to avoiding the hassle of removing stubborn wax stains. So, take a few extra precautions and keep your fabrics pristine!

When to Call in a Professional

While removing candle wax from fabric can often be done successfully at home, there are certain situations where it may be best to call in a professional. Here are three scenarios where seeking professional help is recommended:

1. Wax Has Stained Down Into Fabric Pile

If the candle wax has deeply penetrated the fabric pile, it may be difficult to remove completely without causing damage. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional cleaner who has the necessary tools and expertise to handle the situation.

They will be able to assess the extent of the damage and use specialized techniques to extract the wax without causing further harm to the fabric.

2. Stain Has Spread Across Large Surface Area

If the candle wax has spread across a large surface area of the fabric, it can be challenging to remove it effectively on your own. This is especially true for delicate or sensitive fabrics that require extra care.

Professional cleaners have the experience to handle such situations and can ensure that the stain is removed without causing any additional damage. They may also have access to commercial-grade cleaning agents that are more effective in removing stubborn stains.

3. Fabric is Delicate or Valuable

If the fabric is particularly delicate or valuable, it is recommended to consult a professional before attempting any DIY removal methods. Delicate fabrics such as silk or velvet require specialized care to avoid damage, and a professional cleaner will have the necessary expertise to handle them appropriately.

Similarly, valuable fabrics like antique textiles or designer pieces should be treated with utmost care to preserve their integrity, and a professional cleaner will have the knowledge and experience to handle them properly.

Remember, while it may be tempting to tackle the problem yourself, seeking professional assistance can save you time, effort, and potentially prevent irreversible damage to your fabric. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to valuable or delicate fabrics.


With the right supplies and techniques, you can banish troublesome candle wax from your favorite clothes and upholstery. Always start by letting the wax fully harden before attempting to scrape or pick it off. For small stains, an iron and paper towel or some diluted detergent should do the trick.

Stubborn wax may require an ice cube treatment or oil to break it down. And remember to take precautions, like using holders and keeping candles away from fabrics, to avoid wax stains in the first place.

With some perseverance, you can keep your home candle-ready without ruining your linens and clothes.

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