Photo of a knife being used to scrape wax off a white tablecloth
how what why?

How to get wax out of clothes

There’s no time like the holiday season for burning candles to create that perfect festive ambience. From warm, welcoming hallways, to candlelit dinner parties, no Christmas would be complete without the glowing, cosy light of candles. But how to remove candle wax from your table linens, upholstery and clothes when drips strike? Follow our definitive step-by-step guide to find out, and say goodbye to waxy residue on fabrics once and for all. 

Step #1: Let the wax set

Attempting to remove hot wax from fabric will only exacerbate the problem, spreading the stain and possibly even burning you! It’s easier and safer to treat wax once it’s cooled and dried. 

Step #2: Scrape with a knifeClose up photo of a white wax clump on a white tablecloth with gold polka dots

Image source: A Clean Bee

Place the item on a clean, flat surface, then scrape away any large wax blogs with a dull butter knife. It’s important not to use a too-sharp knife, and to handle it with care, making strokes away from your body, otherwise you’ll risk damaging the fibres or, even worse- injuring yourself. Remove as much of the hardened wax as you can, leaving only the bits saturated and embedded in the yarns. 

Step #3: Back up and sandwich 

Place thick cardstock directly under the fabric where the wax stain is, using multiple small pieces if treating multiple spots of wax. Be sure to use thick paper - copy paper isn’t sturdy enough. Then lay a clean lint-free cloth, such as a dishcloth or towel, or a sheet of absorbent kitchen towel, on top of the wax residue. And again, for multiple wax spots, use multiple small strips, cutting the cloth into little pieces if necessary. It’s important that both the cardstock and cloth are clean - otherwise there’s a risk of redepositing the wax back onto the fabric.

Step #4: Reheat with an iron

Photo of a steaming iron being used

Image source: cottonbro

This may sound counterintuitive, but the secret to lifting the remaining wax is to reheat it. Set an iron to a low heat with no steam (no more than 110ºC), then lightly press it over the affected area in a circular motion. The heated wax will melt again, and come away from the fabric, soaking instead into the lint-free cloth. If the cloth or towel becomes saturated with the wax, or if you’re treating several stains, either restart on a new spot of cloth or towel, or replace it with another clean cloth or towel, and repeat the reheating process until the wax is gone.

Step #5: Spot-treat or leave to soak 

If the wax was coloured, you may find that a stain still remains. But not to panic! Simply apply a small amount of one of our detergents directly to the stain, or soak the fabric in a solution of water and detergent for a few hours to remove any resistant colour. For very persistent stains, you can also try applying a few drops of methylated spirits to the stain. It’s a good mostly-natural alternative to standard chemical cleaning products. Always test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first though, and only proceed if it leaves no visible mark or lasting damage. 

Step #6: Wash item as normal  

Photo of someone loading their washing machine from their wicker laundry basket

Image source: iStock

Launder the item as normal with the appropriate detergent, water temperature and wash cycle for the fabric (check out our blog post if you’re unsure), then leave to air dry naturally. 

Now you know how to remove candle wax from fabrics, you can get out your Christmas candles with confidence without worrying about drips dimming their light. 


Cover image by The Spruce

Featured Products