Burning candles in your home is a great way to set the mood for relaxation—that is, until someone accidentally knocks one over while it's lit and spills wax all over your carpet or rug. Melted wax can be an eyesore, and you may even be worried your carpet is permanently ruined. Not to fear: it's probably easier than you think it is to clean up the mess, and you don't even need any fancy tools to get the job done.
Assuming you act on the waxy spot as quickly as you can, you can restore your carpet or rug in no time. "From the moment you spot wax coming into contact with an area you should start preparing to remove it," says Ray Brosnan, managing director at Brosnan Property Solutions, an Ireland-based home and commercial cleaning company. "The longer the wax sits on the surface, the harder it is to remove."
Meet the Expert
- Ray Brosnan is managing director at Brosnan Property Solutions, a home and commercial cleaning and maintenance company in Ireland.
- Dean Davies is a professional carpet cleaner with Fantastic Services, a U.K.-based cleaning company.
Ahead, your step-by-step guide for how to remove wax from carpet, according to professionals.
Things You'll Need
- An ice pack or a plastic bag of ice
- Butter knife or spatula
- Iron or a hairdryer
- Paper towels
- Carpet cleaner or rubbing alcohol
- Clean cloths
How to Remove Wax From Carpet
Step 1: Place Ice on the Waxy Area
First, place a plastic bag of ice cubes or an ice pack on top of the wax you want to remove. "The goal is to keep the wax as cold as possible so it solidifies and becomes easier to peel up from the carpet," says Dean Davies, a professional carpet cleaner with Fantastic Services, a U.K.-based cleaning company.
Brosnan suggests leaving the ice on the wax for about 10-15 minutes. Just be sure to wrap the bag or ice pack with a hand towel or paper towel so the wax doesn’t get wet. (Wet wax, Brosnan says, will only make the wax more difficult to remove.)
Step 2: Chip Away at the Wax With a Knife
Once the wax is somewhat frozen—it should feel cold to the touch—you can begin scraping at it with a butter knife or a spatula, being careful not to damage or cut the threads on your carpet. Try to chip away as much wax as you can, but don't worry if it doesn't completely lift—you'll have a chance to do that soon.
Step 3: Vacuum the Excess Wax
Grab your vacuum cleaner and remove the loose wax debris from your carpet. You'll be left with a waxy stain on the area, which you'll work on removing next.
Step 4: Iron the Stain
Lay a clean cloth or paper towel on top of the wax stain, set your iron's temperature to its lowest point, and turn off the steam function. Once the iron is hot, run it over the cloth or towel, passing over the patch consistently without lingering for too long one spot. As you heat the wax, you should notice the towel absorbing the stain.
If you're attempting to remove wax from a high-pile carpet or rug, Brosnan recommends using a hair dryer instead. "Place the hair dryer on its hottest setting to heat the wax, and just blot the wax with paper towels until it begins to dissipate," he says.
Step 5: Remove Lingering Discoloration
If any wax or discoloration remains after the last step, you may need to use a commercial carpet cleaner to remove it. (Just follow the instructions on the product.) You can also try applying rubbing alcohol to finish the job. After spot testing on an inconspicuous area, like a portion of your carpet covered by furniture or the bottom of your rug, pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on the stain and blot it with a clean, white cloth until the stains disappear.
Step 6: Vacuum
After removing the stains, wait until all the liquid completely dries and go over the area with your vacuum to restore its texture.