How to remove wax stains
There's nothing more romantic than dining by candlelight - and nothing more frustrating than trying to remove melted or spilt wax from the tablecloth, or worse, the carpet. Here's how to remove wax the easy way.
Removing wax stains from clothes or fabric
The most important thing to remember with wax is that it doesn't mix with water.
- So the first thing to do is let the wax set hard (you can put the item in the freezer to help with the setting).
- Then, slowly remove as much of the wax as you can - either with a flat-bladed knife or pick it off with your fingers.
- Next, get out the ironing board and brown paper.
- Place a piece of brown paper on either side of the wax stain.
- Using an iron on a low heat, slowly and gently apply the iron to the wax stain.
- The wax should start to transfer to the paper, when it does, move the paper so that you have a clean space to transfer the wax.
- Continue until all the wax is removed.
- Launder the item as usual.
Removing wax stains from unwashable fabrics
For unwashable fabrics, use the above method, keeping the iron on a very low heat and checking in an unobtrusive area that fabric can cope with heat.
Removing wax stains from carpet or furniture
Start by letting the wax harden. Use a plastic bag of ice over the wax to help it set hard. Then remove as much of the dry wax as possible. Break it up, using a blunt object, and then vacuum up any particles. Any remaining wax should be re-treated. Stubborn wax can be removed with the brown paper and the warm iron method described above.
Stain remover notes
- The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
- Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
- Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
- Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
- Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
- Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
- The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
- If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
- It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.