While candles can add a lovely ambience to any home, they can also be messy when it comes time to blow them out or clean up after they’ve burned down.
The most common problem? Spilling candle wax on your clothes!
It can be notoriously tricky to remove, seeping into the fibres of your clothing and leaving behind a sticky, stubborn residue that seems impossible to budge.
What’s more, the coloured dye in some candles can stain the fabric, leaving behind a discolouration that can be even harder to remove than the wax itself.
Before you banish the candles to the back of your cupboard and swear never to light them again, try these simple tips for removing candle wax from your clothes and restoring them back to their former glory.
Step 1: Allow the Candle Wax to Dry
The golden rule with most stains is to act fast because the sooner you deal with the stain, the easier it will be to remove. However, candle wax is an exception to this rule!
Allowing the wax to dry and harden before you try to remove it will make the process much easier and prevent any further discolouration of your clothes.
If you don’t want to wait for it to dry naturally, you can speed up the process by applying a few ice cubes or an ice pack to the fabric.
Step 2: Scrape Off the Dried Wax
Once the wax is dry, it will be much easier to remove. To start the removal process, gently scrape off the wax layers from your clothing using a knife or other flat utensil.
Your tool of choice will depend on what fabric your clothes are made from.
For more robust fabrics a sharper implement should be fine, but be careful to use as little force as necessary to avoid damaging the fabric.
For more delicate fabrics such as wool or silk, use a spoon or butter knife and scrape lightly to prevent snagging or tearing.
You should be able to scrape away most of the wax from your clothes with this method, leaving only the lingering remnants adhering to the fibres. You can tackle these next.
Step 3: Steam and Blot
Once you’ve scraped off the top layers of wax, you should be left with just the remaining residue that has soaked into the fabric.
The best way to remove this is by using steam, either from a steam iron or your household steamer, and blotting paper.
Begin by positioning a sheet of blotting paper beneath the stained portion of fabric, and another sheet on top of the stain.
Then cover with a thin towel for protection and slowly apply the steam to melt the wax. As the wax melts, the residue should transfer from the fabric to the blotting paper.
Step 4: Pre-Wash Stain Removal
This part of the process is only really necessary if the stain is particularly stubborn, or if you’re concerned about discolouration.
Pale fabrics stained with dye from brightly coloured candles can be tough to remove in the wash, so it’s a good idea to use a pre-wash stain remover if you’re not 100% confident that the stain will come out with your usual laundry detergent.
It’s advisable to use an oil-based stain remover when trying to remove candle wax from your clothes.
Residual wax particles can cling tightly to fabric fibres, making it difficult for your usual detergent to tackle the stain effectively.
An oil-based pre-wash product will break down these wax molecules and allow your regular laundry detergent to do its job.
Follow the instructions on the bottle and apply to the stain. Alternatively, try using a liquid laundry detergent directly on the stained area and letting it sit for at least 10 minutes before washing.
Step 5: Wash as Usual
Once you’ve removed the wax and treated the stain, all that’s left to do is wash your clothes.
Wash as usual on a regular cycle suitable for the fabric, and be sure to check carefully to make sure the stain has come out before drying.
Is it still visible? Don’t panic—patience is the key here!
If it doesn’t come out completely on the first wash, simply apply a little more stain remover and repeat the process, checking each time for any remaining smudges or streaks, until the stain is gone.
There’s no denying candle wax can be a real pain to deal with once it’s on your clothes. And if it’s on your favourite tablecloth after that big dinner party, it can take the shine off what should have been a perfect evening!
But as you can see, with the right techniques and tools, you can successfully remove candle wax from your clothes without damaging them or leaving ugly stains behind.
So, keep lighting those candles, and go ahead and give these tips a try the next time you find yourself dealing with spilt candle wax on your favourite shirt or sweater and say goodbye to those pesky wax stains for good.
Your clothes will be looking as good as new in no time, and you can get back to enjoying the cosy glow of candlelight in your home!
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