The fall brings cooler weather and shorter days, and the mood calls for candles and more inside dinner parties. This means more wax dribbles from tapers that burn too long or might tip over when the gravy is passed. Another situation for a wax spill is in the living room if you have a group burning in the fireplace. One hard blow and you may have wax splatters on your carpet or hearth rug.
Wax spills can be an immediate panic situation because you know that simply washing the dribble with soap and water will not help like other common spills. There are a couple of things you can try at home to remove the was without there ever being any evidence it happened in the first place.
Wax on a rug or carpet may be a little trickier. You will need a small bowl of ice and a butter knife to get it out. Apply the ice cube with a gloved hand to the affected area. This will make the wax very hard and it will crumble into your hand as you gently rub the fibers between your fingers. If it is more stubborn, you may have to slowly scrape the wax off with a butter knife. These two tricks generally work pretty well for rugs or carpets.
Wax on a tablecloth or other material requires a different technique. You will need:
4 paper towels
dawn dish soap
You may need to scrape any large chunks off the material prior to trying this next step. Use a butter knife carefully along the base of the spill, close to the fabric to gently pry the wax loose. You do not want to get too much wax residue onto your iron.
Find a flat surface to work on. Place a double layer of paper towel under the affected area, AND a double layer of paper towel on top of the affected area. Slowly move the hot iron across the paper towel and you will begin to see the wax come through the paper towel. Continue this process until you see no more wax coming through the paper towel.
Remove the paper towels from both sides (careful, they will be hot). The remaining stains are the residual oils from the wax. Generously cover the residue with baking soda and allow to sit on affected area for approximately 30 minutes. Shake off the baking soda and apply some blue Dawn dish soap to the area, this should take care of the greasy dots left over. Wash as directed.
If you have a colored wax on your material, it gets a little harder to deal with. The colored dye in candle wax can be very difficult to remove. Follow the above method until after the baking soda step. Then apply white vinegar to stain and sprinkle with a little more baking soda. This will cause a chemical reaction and some fizzing will occur, let this stand for a few moments while it works into the fibers. Gently work into the fabric with an old toothbrush to see if the color wax is going to go away. You can try the Dawn dish soap at this point on washable materials. Work it into a lather and wash as normal.
On rugs and carpets, you can follow all these steps until you get to the “wash as normal” step. At this point, carefully use as little water as possible to rinse the soap away. You run the risk of colors running on wool throw rugs if you use too much water.
On white table linens, you can try using some diluted bleach as a last resort. I have used 50/50 bleach to water solution in a small bowl and with an old toothbrush, just gently tap the bleach solution onto the effected area. Rinse and wash as normal. Using the bleach solution is a last ditch effort to try to save a white fabric. Like I said, the dye used can be very difficult to remove.
As we move into the holiday season, I hope these tips help relieve some of the stress of holiday gatherings. Happy spotting!