Does Candle Wax Come Out Of Clothes Reddit

Getting candle wax on clothing or fabric can be frustrating. The wax adheres to the fibers and often leaves behind a stubborn stain. Removing candle wax from fabric can be tricky, but it is possible with the right techniques.

This article provides helpful information on removing candle wax from all types of clothing and fabric. It covers methods for dealing with wax while it is still soft and pliable as well as hardened wax that has cooled and set into the material. Proper laundering techniques after wax removal are also discussed.

With some strategic methods and a bit of patience, you can get that candle wax out of your favorite shirt or pair of pants. This guide offers advice collected from cleaning experts and those who have dealt with wax stains before. Read on to learn the best practices for how to get candle wax out of clothes.

Types of Fabric

a photo of various fabric swatches laid out on a table to showcase different materials like cotton, polyester, wool, silk, etc.

Candle wax can stain both natural and synthetic fabrics. However, the composition of the fabric plays a role in how difficult it may be to remove the wax.

Natural fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and linen are more absorbent than synthetic fabrics. This means that natural fabrics are more likely to absorb melted wax, making stains more difficult to remove. The wax can seep into the fibers of absorbent fabrics.(1)

On the other hand, synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic, and spandex are hydrophobic. This means they repel water and oil-based products like wax. Wax is less likely to be absorbed by synthetic fabrics and often can be scraped off the surface while still soft.

However, wax can still leave behind a stain on synthetic fabrics after hardening. The texture and weave of the fabric also plays a role. Tightly woven fabrics are less absorbent and smoother fabrics make wax removal easier.

Composition of Candle Wax

Candle wax is primarily made of hydrocarbons, which are compounds containing hydrogen and carbon. The most common types of candle wax are paraffin, soy, and beeswax. Each has a slightly different chemical composition:

Paraffin wax is a byproduct of petroleum refining and is composed of a mixture of straight chain alkanes like octacosane and hexatriacontane 1. Its chemical formula is CnH2n+2 where n is the number of carbon atoms.

Soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil. Its main components are palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids 2. Soy wax has a natural softness and low melting point.

Beeswax is secreted by honeybees to build their honeycomb. It is comprised of palmitate, palmitoleate, and oleate esters of long chain alcohols 3. Beeswax has a subtle honey aroma and burns brighter than other waxes.

The exact chemical composition can vary between specific candle waxes, but these are the primary components that differentiate the main types of candle wax.

Removing Wax While Still Soft

someone using a dull knife to gently scrape hardened wax off of a piece of clothing.

If the wax stain is still soft and pliable, there are a few techniques you can try to remove it:

  • Scrape off any excess wax gently with a dull knife or spoon. Be careful not to damage the fabric. According to The Spruce, scraping gets rid of the bulk of the wax.
  • Freeze the item of clothing to harden the wax. Place the clothing in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for at least 2 hours. The Spruce says freezing makes the wax super brittle so it can be broken off the fabric more easily.
  • Place an absorbent material like paper towels or brown paper on top of the wax spot and press it down to blot up the wax. Change the paper towels frequently so you are blotting with clean material. Maytag recommends blotting until no more wax transfers.

Blotting and freezing help absorb and harden the wax so it can be removed. Be patient and gentle during this process to avoid damaging the fabric. Scrape off any remaining wax residue after freezing or blotting.

Hardened Wax Removal

Once candle wax has dried and hardened on fabric, it can be more difficult to remove. Here are some of the most effective methods for getting out hardened wax stains:

a stained shirt under running hot water to soften the dried candle wax before scrubbing.


One of the easiest ways to tackle hardened wax is to use a household iron. Place a piece of paper or rag over the wax stain and run a medium-hot iron over it, pressing down firmly. The heat will melt the wax, allowing it to transfer onto the rag or paper ( Keep replacing the paper or rag until no more wax transfers.

Boiling Water

Bring water to a boil and pour it over the wax stain. Allow it to sit for a minute or two. This will soften the wax so you can scrape it off more easily with a dull knife. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone ( Be cautious not to burn yourself when using this method.


Using a small amount of acetone (nail polish remover) and a clean rag, gently blot the wax stain. The acetone will dissolve the wax. Be very careful not to saturate the fabric, as too much acetone may damage it. Test on an inconspicuous area first.

Laundering After Wax Removal

Once you have removed as much of the candle wax as possible from the clothing, it’s time to launder it. When washing clothes after candle wax removal, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Use hot water – Hot water will help fully dissolve and remove any remaining wax residue. Cold water may cause the wax to congeal again on the fabric. Wash the item in the hottest water recommended for that fabric type.

Extra rinse cycle – Add an extra rinse cycle after washing to help eliminate any leftover wax. The more rinsing, the better chance of getting rid of that wax.

Liquid detergent – Liquid detergents are better at removing oily stains than powder detergents. Use a liquid laundry soap or detergent formulated for grease and wax removal.

Pre-treat – Consider pre-treating any remaining stained areas with a stain remover or liquid detergent before washing. Let it soak in for 15-30 minutes before laundering.

Dry cleaning – For delicate fabrics like silk or wool, take items to the dry cleaner if a home laundering doesn’t remove all the wax. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can help lift out that stubborn wax residue.

Vinegar rinse – For extra wax removal power, do a vinegar rinse by adding 1 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle. The vinegar will help break down any lingering wax.

Drying considerations – It’s best to air dry the clothing if possible after laundering to avoid any wax remnants re-adhering to the fabric in the heat of the dryer. If you must machine dry, use the lowest heat setting.

Repeat if needed – Inspect carefully after washing, and re-wash if you notice any remaining wax stains. It can take multiple laundering to fully remove wax from fabric.

Stubborn Stains

If the wax stain remains after trying the techniques above, there are a few other methods you can try for removing stubborn wax stains:

a stubborn wax stain remaining on a piece of clothing after multiple attempts at removal.

Place an absorbent pad, cloth, or paper towels under the fabric to protect the surface below. Then, apply a solvent like Goo Gone, WD-40, or lighter fluid to the stained area. Let it sit for a minute before gently blotting or lightly scraping off the wax. Test solvents on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the fabric. According to Tide, lighter fluid or mineral spirits work well for delicate fabrics like wool or silk.[1]

Make a paste with equal parts baking soda and vegetable or mineral oil. Rub the paste into the stain and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing. The baking soda will help absorb and lift the wax while the oil breaks it down.[2]

For tough wax stains, you can try freezing the item overnight. The cold temperature will harden the wax so that you can better scrape it off the next day. Place the item in a plastic bag first to prevent freezer burn.[3]

If these techniques don’t remove the stained wax, consider taking the item to get professionally cleaned or dry cleaned. Let the cleaner know the stain is wax.

Preventing Candle Wax Damage

The best way to prevent candle wax from staining your clothes is to take precautions when burning candles around fabrics and clothing. Here are some tips to avoid candle wax damage:

Use a candle shade or glass hurricane shade over the candle flame. This prevents wax droplets from splattering if the flame flickers (source).

Place candles at a safe distance from clothing, curtains, tablecloths and other fabrics. Keep candles at least 12 inches away to avoid wax splatters (source).

Put candles on a nonflammable surface. Choose a ceramic plate or glass candle holder to catch melted wax and prevent it from pooling on furniture or fabrics (source).

Trim wicks to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to prevent smoking and wax splattering (source).

Avoid moving candles when lit. Sudden movements can cause hot wax to splash out of the candle. Let candles completely cool before relocating (source).

Taking a few simple precautions will help prevent candle wax from damaging your clothing and fabrics.

When to Give Up

If the wax stain remains after multiple attempts at removal, it may be time to consider the fabric a lost cause. Here are some signs that the candle wax stain is likely permanent:

  • The wax has been set into the fabric for over a week.
  • You’ve tried scraping, hot iron, blotting, and laundering but the stain persists.
  • The fabric is delicate or porous (e.g. silk, linen, chiffon).
  • The wax fully saturated the fabric.

At this point, any further efforts are unlikely to remove the stain entirely. You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to live with the stain or want to retire the garment. Darker fabrics may hide wax stains better than light colors. If the piece of clothing has sentimental value, you may choose to keep it as-is. But for other items, it’s usually best to replace them if the stain remains an eyesore after multiple removal attempts. Know when to cut your losses for the sake of your sanity!


In summary, when dealing with candle wax on fabrics, it’s important to act quickly while the wax is still soft. Use an iron or ice to harden and lift away the wax. For dried wax stains, try scraping, freezing, or using solvents like rubbing alcohol to break it down. Be gentle and test on an inconspicuous area first. Launder with detergent after removing wax. For stubborn stains, repeat treatments or take it to a professional cleaner. To prevent wax damage, avoid placing candles directly on fabrics and trim wicks to prevent dripping. With some effort, most wax stains can be removed from fabrics, but severe damage may require replacement.

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