Whether a dinner party or a children's birthday party, celebrations and festivities often mean candles, and hence accidents can easily happen. Besides being lovely, candles are also practical when the electricity is out. Unfortunately, the melted wax can spill or drip easily onto clothing, and the wax stains they leave behind are not pretty and hard to remove.
The candle wax leaves a dye, wax or oil stain which needs special treatment to remove from clothes or carpets. Follow the instructions and steps below to learn how to remove wax from clothing without leaving a stain.
What you Will Need:
a). Equipment / Tools
- A dull knife, credit card
- Washer and dryer
- Clothing Iron or hair-dryer
- Vacuum (Either full size with attachments or handheld)
- Soft bristle brush (optional)
- Ice cubes
- Oxygen bleach or oxygen-based stain remover
- Rubbing alcohol
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent or an enzyme-based stain remover
- Hydrogen peroxide
- White paper towels or Brown paper bags
- A home dry-cleaning kit
- Plastic bag (optional)
Before removing candle wax from clothes, you should check if the clothing is labeled as dry clean only.
How to Remove Wax From Clothing: The Scraping Method
1. Allow the Wax to Dry
For the best results, no matter your approach, it's important to remove wax stains from your clothes after they dry. Although this may be against your instinct to get rid of the stain immediately, you should not try to rub, wipe or remove candle wax while it's hot.
One of the main reasons to let the wax dry before you attempt to remove hot wax could spread it to other areas of your clothing, making the situation worse. Also, trying to remove hot wax from clothes could push it deeper into your clothing's fiber or get you burned, so allow it to cool completely before trying to remove it.
The wax could dry naturally, or you could place a few ice cubes on the clothing to make the candle wax dry faster or put it in the freezer.
2. Scrape the Stain
Once the wax has cooled then hardened, try to remove as much wax as you can by scraping the wax stain. Use a butter knife or the credit card edge and scrape s much wax to remove as much hardened wax as possible.
To avoid accidents, ensure you practice caution even with the dull knife and use strokes that go away from your body. Remove all candle wax possible from your clothing, and what should remain is the embedded wax.
If you are dealing with delicate clothing such as silk, try to use a spoon, skim it over the wax stain lightly, and avoid digging into your cloth as you may damage it. A credit card could also work better instead of a dull knife.
In addition, you should treat the spot as most wax like the natural beeswax is made from petroleum products, and this means that some colored wax, oil or dye may remain on the clothing.
3. Treat the Stain
Start by treating the oily and waxy component of the stain using an enzyme-based stain remover. If you don't have a stain remover, you can use a heavy-duty liquid detergent such as Persil or Tide or make a paste of powdered detergent and water on the wax stain.
Work your cleaner into the stain using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers. Leave the cleaner to do its magic for at least 15 minutes, and then you can thoroughly rinse the stained area in hot water.
4. Wash the Garment
If there is no remaining wax from the fabric, wash it in the hottest water but always remember to follow the care label guidelines of your favorite shirt.
5. Check the Stained Area and Treat Any Dye Stain
Check for the stain before tossing your clothing in the dryer, as drying stained clothes on high heat could permanently set the stain. If there is any colored stain remaining on your fabric, then there has been a dye transfer which you will have to remove.
Mix a solution of oxygen bleach, cool water and follow the package directions. Submerge the entire fabric in the solution and allow it to soak in a large bowl for a few hours, then launder it as recommended. If there is any residual wax, move to the next technique below.
How to Remove Wax Stains From Clothing: The Hot Ironing Method
It's possible that there could be some stubborn residue remaining once you scrape off most of the wax from your clothes, and you shouldn't despair. Instead, this method should be used after you have scraped off the excess wax out of clothes using a dull knife or a credit card.
1. Use an Iron to Melt the Wax Stain
Using heat to remove wax stains can appear to contradict the step above in the scraping method, but to re-melt your candle wax is the next step to remove all the wax from your fabric.
Place a soft cloth or the brown paper bag under the clothing and then put two paper towels on top of your clothing over the wax stains. Set your iron at a low to medium heat and iron over the affected area, giving you melted wax. It will come off your fabric and soak into your paper towel.
The warm iron should not be on the steam setting because it won't work, and also, this method works well for large wax stains but be careful to avoid burning your favorite garment.
If you see that your paper towel is saturating with the wax, remove the paper towel and start the process again on a new spot, or you can replace it with a new sheet. If you have blotting paper, it can work well than using paper towels on other fabrics like wool or fleece to avoid ending up with small pieces of paper stuck in your fabric.
In addition, always remember to be careful when using a warm or hot iron and always use low heat.
2. Apply laundry prewash stain remover
After using the ironing method, use a laundry prewash stain remover on your clothing before you machine-wash it to remove any lingering candle wax from clothes.
Wash your fabric in the hottest water you possibly can, and you can use bleach on your fabric if it's white, but otherwise, you should use color bleach. This is a vital step to remove candle wax, especially if your candle was colored and fell on a white or light-colored garment.
Ensure the wax stain is gone before you put your clothing on the dryer, as the heat could set the wax stain permanently. In addition, if you are dealing with delicate items, you should get them dry-cleaned or hand-washed.
Alternative Ways to Remove Candle Wax Out of Clothes
Suppose there is still residual wax after trying the above two stain removal methods. You can use alternative methods to get the remaining stains off your fabric. Some of the alternative methods to get candle wax off your clothing include:
1. Vegetable Oil or Carpet Cleaner
This vegetable oil method for removing wax from fabric needs you first to remove the big chunk of wax if there is one. Afterward, carefully drench the stain with vegetable oil, pat the stain using paper towels then launder your fabric with your regular detergent.
Alternatively, after scraping away the wax from fabric, you can apply a carpet cleaner and then brush it using a toothbrush and clean your fabric in the washer.
Use paper towels to scrape off excess wax and launder the clothing. Notably, avoid using strong solutions like gasoline or thinner, but you could use a few drops of rubbing alcohol on the wax in addition to using the vegetable oil.
2. Rinse with Boiling Water
Again, this method also needs you to remove candle wax chunks from clothes before trying it. After you have, place your garment over a large mixing bowl and fasten the cloth with tight rubber bands.
Pour boiling water, soak the stain and watch the hardened wax stains melt away. Repeat the process until all the candle wax stains are gone, and then launder your clothing as usual. Keep in mind that keeping fabric in boiling water for too long can harm your clothing and remove its dye.
Notably, for delicate clothes like fleece, you can place a towel over the waxed area and iron your towel, and the candle wax will be absorbed from your clothing to the towel. This will prevent damaging your clothing with boiling water.
3. Use a Blow Dryer
This is a great alternative step if you don't want to use an iron, as you can find other ways of delivering enough heat to the wax to re-melt and remove it.
Place paper towels on both sides of your clothing and use a blow dryer to blow heat on the affected spot for five seconds and blot it out with a paper towel. This method will work well for the clothing you fear could be damaged when using an iron. If the stain remains, use a stain remover and wash the clothes.
Image Credit: thewaxcandles.com