Did you spill some candle wax on your carpet when burning a couple of slow burning candlesticks for a romantic dinner or a meditation session? Don’t stress it out. While spilt wax can ruin the mood, it shouldn’t bother you much since cleaning up the mess isn’t next to impossible.
I am going to share a couple of wax removal tricks that all use readily available cleaners and appliances that are easy to come by in any home. They will range from ice cubes to an iron box and some damp towels.
Solid Wax is Easier to Process
While your first instinct might be attacking the wax while it is still wet or mushy, experience has taught me that dry wax is easier to clean.
This coupled with the fact that wax solidifies at room temperature means there is no need hurrying to clean up the mess before it dries up.
Actually, you should be more concerned with containing the spill instead of cleaning the already spilt wax.
Once you notice a leak:
- Extinguish the errand candle to prevent further spills
- If you don’t want to extinguish the candle, pick it up carefully and place it on a sacrificial wax catcher. This could be anything from a flat platter to a piece of newspaper or a cooking pot lid
- There is nothing you can do to prevent the already spilt wax from spreading. After all, spilt wax often solidifies within centimeters from the candle
Once you have contained the mess, you can go on with your meditation or romantic dinner. You will worry about cleaning later on.
Cleaning Time: What Do You Need?
Cleaning the wax will be a multi-step affair. Here is all the things you need to get the job done. Gather them before starting as you will have to use them in quick succession for effective cleaning.
- Paper towels
- A thick white cotton towel
- Carpet cleaner or rubbing alcohol
- A bag of ice, a couple of ice cubes in a plastic bag, or an ice pack
- A dull plastic scraper, spoon, or a butter knife
- Vacuum cleaner
- Some water
Freeze Up the Wax
While wax will solidify at room temperature, it will still be gooey and malleable making it hard to scrape off. Lowering the temperatures further makes it harder and brittle.
This is what the bag of ice or ice pack is for. Apply the ice onto the wax stained surface for up to five minutes. Ensure the outside of the ice bag is as dry as possible since you don’t want the wax or surface around it to get soggy.
You could cover the ice pack with a cotton towel or just frequently dry up any moisture as it gathers when freezing the wax.
After around five minutes, the wax will harden further. This new state is easier to knock off the carpet’s fibers
Scrape Off the Brittle Wax Before it Warms Up Again
Once the wax is frozen, use your butter knife, spoon or plastic scrapper to gently knock it off the carpet fibers. The goal is to dislodge any attached wax while removing it as you go.
The loose chunks of wax you get loose should go straight into a trash pan or a small box. You don’t want loose bits lying around the carpet else you end up having to remove them again.
If you are lucky and diligent enough, you might end up removing all the wax in just this step. If it happens, you can skip a couple of the next steps designed to remove residual wax that couldn’t come off when scraping.
ProTip: Be very careful and gentle. You can reapply the ice if you feel the wax gets mushy before you finish scraping it off. Either way, avoid going too hard and damaging the fiber on your carpet.
Iron Out the Rest of the Wax
If there is still wax stuck on the carpet, bring out the iron box and white towel or paper towels. I realized that the cotton towel works the best for this step.
- Make the towel damp and place it over the wax
- Set the iron to high and press it over the towel for around 10 seconds
- The heat will melt and draw residual wax onto the towel
- Use another part of the towel to keep soaking up as much wax as possible. This shouldn’t be a lot if you did the scraping step above perfectly
- If the towel dries up while at it, make it damp again before proceeding (or grab another one if the current one is soaked in wax)
Alternatively, if you don’t have the cotton towel, you can use paper towels or any other absorbent paper. Since the paper isn’t wet, set the iron to low temperature and move it around a lot to avoid burning the fibers on your carpet.
Clean the Carpet
Even though all the wax will be gone by now, chances are there will be traces of pigmentation that resembles your candle’s color. You will have to clean it off using the carpet cleaner (or rubbing alcohol).
- Spray or apply some carpet cleaner to the dirty spot
- Use a spoon or the plastic scraper to gently work the cleaner into the stained spot. If it was a big stain, you will have to work for longer using the spoon or another soft brush to agitate the pigmentation out
- Use a damp clean towel to dab out the cleaner and any water it contains
- Wait for the spot to air-dry
While the spot will seem darker when wet, it should even out in color once the carpet dries up. You might have to repeat the spot cleaning process a couple of times and even get a stronger carpet cleaner especially if you are dealing with brightly colored wax on light colored carpets.
Check this too: How to Clean Vomit from a Carpet
Vacuum the Carpet to Fluff it Up
Once you are satisfied with your spot cleaning and the dampness is all gone, you will notice that the section you worked on is a bit stiff and, well, looks oppressed.
You can give it a uniform look and feel with the rest of the carpet by vacuuming the entire rug using an upholstery brush attachment. This fluffs up the fibers on the carpet giving then a fresh and new look. It will also get rid of dust and any residues your carpet might have gathered during the spot cleaning process.