The dinner party is over and your tablecloth now has enough candle wax on it to make a bee jealous. It may be a tempting idea to toss the cloth into the rag bag, but don’t even think about it.
Read on as our cleaning experts tell you how to remove candle wax like a pro.
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Removing candle wax from fabric
Dan Miller, cleaning expert and CEO of Mulberrys Garment Care in San Francisco and Minneapolis, offers the following tried and true tips:
Step 1: Remove excess wax
Before working on the stain, scrape away obvious globs of wax with a dull knife.
Step 2: Heat and absorb the wax
Next, remove as much of the remaining wax as possible by melting and absorbing it. To do this, you’ll need a hair dryer, or an iron and two thin towels. Place one towel under the garment and the other over the piece of wax. Run the hair dryer or the iron over the stain. The heat will melt the wax and the towels will absorb it. When you're done, the majority of the wax will be removed and you'll be left with an oily residue.
Step 3: Dissolve the stain
“Since candle wax is an oil-based stain, you will need a solvent that dissolves oil,” explains Miller. “There are a number of solvents that can do the trick, but only a few are lying around your house. The most typical are acetone (found in nail polish remover) and isopropyl alcohol (used in rubbing alcohol).”
Before proceeding, check the care label on the item for cleaning instructions. (Don’t ever use acetone on modacrylic, acetate or triacetate because it will dissolve the fabric.)
Place the item stain-side down on a folded towel. Using a cotton swab, dab nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol onto the stain and watch the oily, waxy stain melt away. Continue to do this until the stain is removed. Blot up any residue. If you’ve used nail polish remover, steam the stain to remove traces of acetone from the fabric. Next, launder the item as usual.
Removing wax from carpet
Jack White, vice-president of technical service for Rainbow International Carpet Cleaning Services, offers this advice for removing wax from carpet. Remove large pieces of wax first. Then, place a paper towel on top of the wax. Turn a blow dryer on high and move it back and forth across the towel. As the heat melts the wax, the towel should absorb it. (Be careful when using a hair dryer on heat-sensitive fabrics, such as olefin, as too much heat can damage fibers.)