How to Remove Candle Wax Stains

Russ asked: How do you remove melted candle wax from a silk tie? My four-year-old likes dipping things into hot candle wax. No matter where we put the candle, he finds a way to reach it. Today, he dipped his brother’s tie into the melted wax. We no longer use candles to aromatize our home!

How’d that happen? You look down and there are little splatters of wax on your beautiful clothes. Candles are wonderful to use as decorations or for birthday celebrations but oddly enough, the wax ends up on our clothing. Acting quickly is important to remove the wax along with any dyes before they leave a permanent mark.

You Will Need:

  • Ice
  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Brown paper bags
  • Iron
  • Rubbing alcohol or dry cleaning fluid
  • Clean white cloth

Steps to Remove the Wax/Stain:

The following method is safe for all fabric types.

  1. Gently scrape hardened wax with the spoon or butter knife to remove as much as possible. If wax is still soft, place the garment in the refrigerator or cover with an ice cube for a few minutes to harden the wax and then scrape it away.
  2. Preheat iron to lowest setting with NO STEAM.
  3. Place a brown paper bag on your ironing board. Be sure not to use brown paper bags with words printed on them as they will transfer to your waxy garment leaving you with another, more difficult stain to remove.
  4. Place the waxy area of the clothing on top of the brown paper bag.
  5. Top the waxy area with another brown paper bag, avoiding any printed words that may be on the bag.
  6. Gently move the warm iron over the waxy area until it melts and adheres to the paper bag. Keep the iron moving in circular motions to keep from scorching the area.
  7. When you see a dark spot forming on the bag (this is the wax being absorbed), move both bags – underneath and on top of the clothing – to a clean spot and iron again.
  8. Repeat as necessary, until no wax remains.
  9. If dye from the wax remains in your clothing, you will need to tackle that stain next.
  10. Place a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the spot. Be sure to test a small inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric. For silks, remove any remaining stains by dabbing of good amount of dry-cleaning solvent, such as Afta Cleaning Fluid and blot with a clean cloth to remove. Allow the piece to dry completely.
  11. Blot with a clean white cloth to remove. Repeat until the dye no longer appears on your clothing or shows on the cloth when blotted.
  12. Sponge with water to rinse the area.
  13. Wash the clothing as per the instructions on the care tag.
  14. You may want to air-dry the clothing to be sure the stain is not noticeable when it’s dry. If you place it in the dryer and it’s not completely gone, it will be set from the heat and impossible to remove.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Be careful not to let the iron set in one spot too long or it may scorch the fabric.
  • Prevent more wax spills by buying quality candles. Petroleum candles tend to drop more and contain dyes that are difficult to remove.
  • Silks and delicate fabrics should be cleaned with caution. If you are trying to remove the stain from an expensive or irreplaceable piece of clothing, you may want to have a professional remove the stain.


  1. Mr. Yosh says:

    I was about to throw my black slack pants away when the wax did not come out after so many times of washing. Thank you so much for the tips!

  2. Susan says:

    There is a liquid remover available in the candle making section of craft stores that will also remove wax from fabrics. This will help eliminate any “greasy” spots that may remain.

  3. Eli says:

    On any hard smooth surface, such as glass-etc., puncture the wax by poking holes in it (numerous holes all over). This removes the wax by fracturing it; lots of holes makes lots of fractures, thus, making it easier to come off, usually in big pieces/chunks! :) There may be some residue left over after all of the wax is removed, in that case, I just wash the candle holder in hot water with Dawn dish soap and it comes right off…completely clean!
    Tools you can use: a butter knife, a pencil, really anything that will penetrate through to the bottom of the hardened wax pool. Use a kabob skewer – if the wax is down a ways from the opening of the holder/object, skewers work great! Just be careful not to go too fast or with too much force; you don’t want to break or scratch your item…only the wax! 😉

  4. Misty says:

    Thank you so much! This worked great!

  5. Rosa says:

    Thank you so much! I had my doubts but it worked, even though the wax was dried. After following the advice, my carpet looks fine. :)

  6. Ann says:

    For removing a red candle wax stain, I went through a week long process. Started removing the wax with the iron and brown bag method. After that, the key was soaking the stained part in Biz with small amount of hot water and adding Shout advanced heavy duty stain remover. I soaked the stained area in a container for 6 days straight. The stains are nearly totally gone.

  7. Mary says:

    Dry cleaning is best.

  8. Bill says:

    Maybe you shouldn’t keep lit candles around a four-year-old that can reach them anywhere, that way you can not only keep your ties safe, but also your family safe.

  9. Zoya says:

    OMG, I can’t believe this stain vanished… yesterday I went to a parlor and by the time the lady was waxing my upper lip, she by mistake dropped a drop of wax on my new and expensive shirt, which I bought that day. I was really sad and didn’t know what to do. Then, I went home and tried to clean and wash it many times, but it didn’t work. I tried these steps and it worked. The stain didn’t get remove, but it wasn’t visible to others. Thanks

  10. Reba says:

    What if the fabric already went through the washer and drier and the stain has set in??

  11. Britney says:

    I don’t own a iron. Would a blow dryer work just as good; it might take a few extra minutes??? Please help and save me some money…

  12. Melanie says:

    A hair dryer can be used in place of an iron! Use the hottest setting on the hair dryer.
    Source: wikiHow – 3 Ways to Remove Candle Wax

  13. Linda says:

    I left a red candle sitting on a wood shelf (red candle) light colored wood and the color transferred onto the wood. How can I remove this red stain?

  14. Melanie says:

    It is the dyes in the candle wax that causes the stain. This is the article that you need: How to Remove Dye Stains from Finished Wood.

  15. Asia says:

    I have a silk chair that candle wax fell on. Will this method work?

  16. Cat says:

    Have had candles sitting around my fiberglass tub and they all transferred onto the white ledge. These are not drippings…. just stains from the base of the candles. Any ideas?

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

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