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Candle wax removal

QuestionRecently I had a candle party and some candle wax accidentally dripped on the carpet. What is the best way to remove the candle wax?

AnswerMy son's girlfriend recently held a candle party at our house and we also got a few candle wax spills on our carpet. I successfully cleaned up the wax using the cold and hot procedure described below.

Use the edge of a butter knife to carefully scrape off or lift up as much solid wax as you can. Fill a zipper-type plastic bag with ice cubes and place the bag over any remaining wax. The cold will make the wax more brittle, enabling you to scrape off additional wax with the butter knife. Repeat this procedure as necessary to remove as much wax as possible. Be careful to not disturb the original condition of the fibers.

To remove any remaining wax, finish up using a warm iron. I highly recommend that you set the iron on a low heat and test the procedure first in a closet or other inconspicuous place. A synthetic carpet can melt if the iron is too hot.

Place a brown paper bag, several sheets of clean white paper, a white rag, or a white towel over the wax spill and iron over them using the warm iron. Keep moving the iron so you don't get an iron-shaped burn mark in your carpeting, and move the absorbent paper or cloth so the wax melts onto a clean spot. When you see little spots that look like grease or water, you know the wax is lifting up out of your carpet.

Replace the absorbent paper or cloth as needed. You may have to repeat this process several times (using clean absorbent papers or cloths each time) to remove all of the wax from the carpet fibers. Work carefully; you don't want to burn yourself or iron off the paper or cloth and melt the carpeting. Do not rush through this; it can be time-consuming, so be patient—it will remove the wax.

If small grease-like stains remain, sprinkle them with baking soda and let it sit overnight before vacuuming.

Now that your carpet is free of candle wax, take care to prevent similar accidents in the future:

  1. Buy high-quality candles; petroleum-based candles are prone to dripping and contain stain-producing additives.
  2. Beeswax candles—normally dripless—can drip if they are burning in a draft. Position burning candles away from open windows, fans, or heater vents.
  3. Set the candle in a candleholder large enough to contain any spills.
  4. Do not blow out your candles; instead use a snuffer. A great substitute for a proper candle snuffer is a shot glass or juice glass held over the wick until the flame is out.
  5. If you have just snuffed a candle, don't move it until the wax has solidified.

Good luck with your wax cleanup!

Visitor feedback on the Candle Wax Removal Q&A:

Thank you for your advice. I didn't drip just a little wax—I spilled an entire jar of one of those warmers. It was horrible! Now, I can't even tell the spill was there. Again, thank you! —Jennifer B. (6/6/07)

Copyright © 2002 & 2005 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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