How to Clean and Remove Candle Wax Stains

I don’t know about you, but every Christmas I end up with red candle wax on my holiday tablecloth.

I know it’s going to happen, and yet, I am somehow powerless to stop it. Our family eats, laughs, drinks and before I know it, it’s December 26 and I’m in the laundry room working on that candle wax.

If this happens to you, here’s cleaning tips to remove those stains quick and easily.

Removing Candle Wax:

The first step to candle wax stain removal is to remove any chunks or pieces of wax that will come off easily.

As you may remember from high school chemistry class, wax is not water-soluble. That means it will not come off with water, even hot water.

In fact, water can make the stain worse if the dye that’s been used to color the candle is further set when it’s wet.

Don’t attempt to remove hot candle wax. You’ll only push the wax deeper into the fabric fibers and more important, you might burn yourself.

Here is a stain removal method for removing wax that should help you out. This not only works on tablecloths but carpets too.

  1. Let the wax harden.
  2. Scrape all the loose wax off with a butter knife.
  3. Turn your iron on to its lowest setting. Do not set it on the “steam” option, as steam may affect the dye in the wax.
  4. Place a brown paper bag over the wax stain and iron it until you see the wax being absorbed into the bag.
  5. Repeat if necessary using a clean section of the bag and replacing if necessary.

Removing Dye Stains That Remain:

The second step to candle wax stain removal is to remove the dye. Most candles today are colored with aniline dye.

This type of dye is oil-soluble, which allows it to bind with the candle wax. So, just as the wax can’t be removed with water, the dye can’t be either.

You’ll need to use rubbing alcohol or Dawn dishwashing liquid. For either of the methods listed below, place a paper towel or a clean towel under the wax stain. Also, prior to putting in the dryer, double check to make sure the stain is gone.

Using Rubbing Alcohol:

  • Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a clean towel and dab the stain.
  • If the towel turns red (or the color of the stain) the alcohol is working to remove the stain.
  • Continue dabbing the stain until it has been completely removed.
  • Launder per the directions on the tag.

Using Dawn Dish Washing Liquid:

  • Rub a small amount of Dawn into the stain and work it in until it starts lifting from the fabric.
  • Continue rubbing and rinsing; using a clean area of cloth, until you can’t see the stain.
  • Launder as directed.

Stains on Wood:

If the candle wax has stained a wood table, freeze the wax by placing ice cubes on it.

The ice cubes can be put in a ziplock lunch baggie so they don’t ruin your table. Once the wax is frozen, gently scrape it off. Finally, use a lint-free dust cloth to wipe the area with a cream or liquid furniture polish.

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