How To: Remove Wax from Carpet

Candles are elegant, romantic, and—occasionally—messy. The next time you have to deal with drippy candles, try these strategies for cleaning the wax off the carpet.

By Bob Vila | Updated Mar 18, 2014 4:58 PM

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How to Remove Wax from Carpet


Candles enhance the atmosphere of any space. The gentle glow from their lit wicks fosters a feeling of calm and relaxation—so long as the wax does not stray out of bounds. Don’t stress, however, if you discover that wax has dripped down to a carpeted floor. It’s easy to remove wax from carpet using everyday household items.

One simple way to remove wax from carpet is to let it harden, then scrape it away with a butter knife. Once you’ve finished, remember to vacuum the carpet in order to remove any small bits of wax that have sunk into the pile. If scraping and vacuuming dosn’t do the trick, move on to a more aggressive cleaning  approach.

How to Remove Candle Wax - Isolated


Place a paper towel, plain brown paper bag, or white fabric dishcloth over the wax stain. (Avoid using anything patterned or brightly colored, because the color could be transferred to the carpet, leaving you with a more serious stain on your hands.) Next, reach for your clothing iron, put it on a low setting, then gently press it down on the paper or cloth, moving the machine in small circles over the area. As the wax heats up and begins to melt, it will get soaked up by the paper or cloth you’ve laid down. Repeat the process as necessary, replacing the paper or cloth if it becomes saturated with wax, until no more remains on the carpet.

Even after you’ve removed much of the wax, the carpet may retain a slight discoloration. If that’s the case, spray on carpet cleaner and rub it in; follow the manufacturer’s directions closely, as products differ. Finish the job by washing out any residue from the cleaning agent, then dry the area by covering it with a weighted-down towel. Let it sit overnight, cross your fingers, and return to check the carpet in the morning.

The wax should be gone, but after this bout of cleaning, the carpet fibers may look a bit disheveled. Never fear: Giving the floor covering a quick once-over with the vacuum cleaner ought to restore its original appearance.