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How to Get Wax Off Any Surface

Solutions for wood, glass, and more

lit candle with wax dripping on the wood table
Photo by Wendell T. Webber
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The glow of lit candles always makes for a festive atmosphere during the holidays, but the drips and pools of wax they can leave behind are no cause for celebration. So here's how to banish the stubborn stuff for good, without scratching up your furniture or staining your walls in the process.

Wood
Harden the wax with an ice cube, then carefully scrape it off with an expired credit card or a plastic ruler. Rub away residue with cream furniture wax.

Vinyl flooring
Soak the spot with hot water, and wipe away the wax with a dry cloth. Repeat until the wax has been removed, then apply a touch of multipurpose remover, such as Goof Off (about $7, Lowe's) to remove residue.

Carpet
Scrape off excess wax. Lay a damp, lint-free white cloth over the wax and apply medium heat with an iron; the wax will adhere to the cloth. Use rubbing alcohol to remove residue. Or freeze the wax with an ice pack, then shatter the frozen clump with a blunt object, like the handle of a kitchen utensil. Vacuum up the pieces before they soften. Glass
Scrape away excess wax, then apply heat with a blow dryer set to MEDIUM, wiping off the wax with a rag as it softens. Wash the area with hot, soapy water to remove residue.

Painted wall
Apply medium heat with a blow dryer and wipe away excess wax as it softens. Remove residue with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.

The glow of lit candles always makes for a festive atmosphere during the holidays, but the drips and pools of wax they can leave behind are no cause for celebration. So here's how to banish the stubborn stuff for good, without scratching up your furniture or staining your walls in the process.

Wood
Harden the wax with an ice cube, then carefully scrape it off with an expired credit card or a plastic ruler. Rub away residue with cream furniture wax.

Vinyl flooring
Soak the spot with hot water, and wipe away the wax with a dry cloth. Repeat until the wax has been removed, then apply a touch of multipurpose remover, such as Goof Off (about $7, Lowe's) to remove residue.

Carpet
Scrape off excess wax. Lay a damp, lint-free white cloth over the wax and apply medium heat with an iron; the wax will adhere to the cloth. Use rubbing alcohol to remove residue. Or freeze the wax with an ice pack, then shatter the frozen clump with a blunt object, like the handle of a kitchen utensil. Vacuum up the pieces before they soften. Glass
Scrape away excess wax, then apply heat with a blow dryer set to MEDIUM, wiping off the wax with a rag as it softens. Wash the area with hot, soapy water to remove residue.

Painted wall
Apply medium heat with a blow dryer and wipe away excess wax as it softens. Remove residue with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.

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Linens and fabric furniture

 

Linens and fabric furniture

Remove as much wax as possible with a thin butter knife. Sandwich the linen between two plain paper bags—if you're working on a piece of furniture, simply top the area with a bag—and iron with medium heat until the wax transfers to the bag. Repeat with more bags as needed. Blot leftover color stains with denatured alcohol.

Leather furniture
Move a blow dryer quickly over the surface to warm the wax but not burn the leather. Remove the wax with a clean cloth, then use either a polish designed for leather furniture or a damp cloth with mild soap to remove residue and keep the leather from drying out.

 
 

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