How To Remove Candle Wax
From Carpet

Melted candle wax can run like water and once it hits the carpet, each fiber is surrounded like a wick. This warm liquid hardens into a mass faster than it can be cleaned up.

This surface stain is non-water soluble and is comprised of petroleum, animal or vegetable fats and oils, and basic dyes.

The challenge to remove wax from a candle is two fold. First is the fat/oil content and second the dye used for coloring.

Procedures to remove candle wax

  1. Place a damp cloth or paper bag on the wax stain. Use a steam iron on it's lowest setting to soften the wax which can then be absorbed into the cloth or paper. Move the cloth or bag around to provide a fresh area for wax transfer. Caution must be used to ensure the carpet doesn't get burned or melted from the hot iron. Depending on the amount of wax present, this step can be time consuming.

    As an alternative to the heat transfer method above, some professional carpet cleaners can utilize the heat of their cleaning solution and extraction power of their equipment to soften and remove all or most of the wax from the carpet.
  2. Apply a non-volatile dry solvent such as a paint, oil and grease remover (POG) to any trace of wax still present.

    Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Apply a few drops to each color in the carpet test area. Press a clean, white cloth on the wet area for approximately 30 seconds. Check both the towel and the carpet for color transfer, color change or any other damage. Repeat same procedure with another stain remover if you notice any change.

    Apply a small amount of the cleaning agent to a white bleach-free cloth and then blot to apply to the stain. Do not pour cleaning agents directly on the stain, particularly solvent spotters as they may reach the carpet backing and cause damage.
  3. Rinse all spotting agents from the carpet with an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10).

    If available, utilize a carpet cleaning machine or a spray bottle to apply the alkaline cleaning solution to flush the stain. Then extract to remove the cleaning agent from the carpet. As an alternative a shop vac may be utilized for extraction purposes. Dry treated area as much as possible. Care must be taken not to over-wet the carpet.
  4. Once the candle wax is removed, any dye color from the candle wax should be addressed.

    To remove any remaining colored stains, a reducing bleach (sodium bisulfite, sodium hydrosulfite, among others) needs to be used. Most synthetic colored stains require a reducing bleach for removal.

    By placing a damp towel over the stain and applying heat from a steam iron will accelerate the action of the reducing agent. Use caution as heat may damage the carpet fibers or cause color loss.

    An acid (household vinegar or acetic acid) will also accelerate the action of a reducing bleach.
  5. When the desired results are achieved, thoroughly rinse the reducing agent from carpet and dry carpet as much as possible.

    When most of the moisture is removed, you may use clean, dry towels weighed down by flat, heavy objects like a book or brick on the damp area to absorb any remaining moisture. This helps prevent wicking of any deep staining material not removed that will move to the surface as the carpet dries.

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