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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Stain of the Season – Candle Wax

By Dr. Laundry December 28, 2006

What would the holidays be without candles? They seem like a natural way to brighten your home and set that special mood during the holidays. Whether scented or fragrance-free, candles add that special touch to the table centerpiece or mantel. Amid all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget about them, and once they have burned down, it’s not uncommon to discover a waxy mess left behind.
Here’s an approach to help you deal with the mess:


  • The keys here are getting the mess from liquid to solid ASAP and then dealing with the waxy material.
  • First, resist your impulses to wipe or blot it up right then and there. This will only drive the material further into the fiber and make removal more difficult than it will be. Harden the molten liquid by either placing the stained item in the freezer or placing an ice cube on the area.
  • Once the wax hardens, crack the stain and use a dull knife to gently scrape away as much material as possible.
  • If it is dry clean only, get it to the dry cleaners within 48 hours and let the pro work on it.
  • Now we can start treating the residual material, which is very waxy. If you have dry cleaning solvent, try applying it from the backside and gently force the stain onto a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • When ready to wash, use hot water if possible; if the item is white and the wax is colored you may want to pretreat with Clorox® Bleach Pen ™ Gel; also consider washing the item separately since the hot water is going to “melt” the wax off from the item. It is possible for that residue to redeposit on other items in the wash. For colored items consider pretreating with Clorox2® Bleach for colors.
  • Finally always check for success BEFORE placing in the dryer. This is definitely a stain you do not want to set by drying.

Candles color and fragrances add a homey atmosphere to any festive gathering or dinner, and with these stain removal tips there is less reason to worry about clean-up. Red, green, blue, or white, decorate with candles to your heart’s delight!