How To Clean Up Candle Wax: 4 Effective Hacks

Candlelight glow perfectly sets the mood for a relaxing spa evening at home or a celebratory gathering with friends, adding transformative ambiance and fragrance to your space. And when the party ends or bedtime nears, extinguishing the flame is a necessary part of proper candle usage.

Whether you’re overzealously blowing out your scented candles or rearranging them when they’re still warm, spilling wax is a rite of passage for most candle aficionados. So what exactly do you do when a tapered candle tips or a votive drips?

For most wax spills, a simple—and often natural—solution lies within reach. Here are some easy tips for how to clean up candle wax and keep your home looking its best.

#1 Butter Knives Are for More than Charcuterie

The best tool in the quest for how to clean up wax spills is closer than you think—as close as your kitchen utensil drawer.

Dull knives like butter knives work wonders for gently scraping hardened wax spills off even the most delicate surfaces. Other household objects that can scrape and slide the hard wax off many surfaces include spoons, rulers, and credit cards. Anything slightly dull and sturdy that can break up wax without damaging the object you’re trying to clean will work wonders.

#2 Hair Dryers Can Help Soften Wax

If you have your glass jar candles or votive candles displayed on a beautiful, mirrored glass tray that reflects and amplifies the delicate light from the flame, a wax drip can disrupt that pristine surface.

For solid, nonporous surfaces like glass, removing candle wax is easier with a hair dryer. Gently heat the hardened wax with a hairdryer on a low or medium setting to make the wax pliable and soft (but not melted). Then, watch as it easily peels away. Finish the job by using a vinegar solution or an all-purpose cleaner to wipe away any lingering smudges or wax residue.

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#3 …And Ice Cubes Can Help Harden It

It’s not always a good idea to have wax candles on the rocks, but using an ice cube or two to chill a wax spill can make it easier to lift from an unwanted location. Either covering the spill with ice or putting a smaller item like a shirt or table runner in the freezer helps to harden and contract the wax for easy scraping.

Freezing wax is also one of the best ways to clean the remaining wax out of a candle jar if you're ready to reuse or repurpose the vessel. (It’s also another instance when your butter knife or spoon will come in handy.)

#4 Iron Away Larger Wax Spills

No need for tears if your heirloom holiday tablecloth suffers a splash of spilled candle wax after an exuberant dinner party. If the wax doesn’t come out with the scraping, heating, or cooling methods above, try using your clothing iron with some other around-the-house tools.

For advice on how to clean spilled wax that leaves residue like oily spots on fabric, furniture, and carpets, start with removing the large chunks of wax. Then, place an absorbent material like a paper towel, blotting paper, or a clean cloth between the low-heat setting iron and the wax. This gently melts the wax, helping it to transfer to the more absorbable material and away from the fluffy fibers of your beloved tablecloth.

What Not to Do When Cleaning Candle Wax

While helpful hacks make cleaning spilled candle wax a breeze, avoid making some of these mistakes that’ll lead to extra steps and hassle:

  • Wait until the wax cools – Never try to clean hot wax right after it spills. Always allow it to cool enough to handle safely to avoid dangerous burns from hot wax.
  • Avoid vigorous scrubbing – In most instances vigorous scrubbing can spread around the wax stain, make it go even deeper into porous surfaces, or become embedded into textile fibers.
  • Use a spot cleaner on stains – Try to remove as much wax as possible before using a spot cleaner. If wax stains persist, wash with bio-based cleaning products according to fabric care instructions.

Bask in the Warm Candlelight Glow from Archipelago

At our home scents store we invite you to live a fragrance-filled life with boxed candles, tin candles, and other home and apothecary products that soothe, inspire, and invigorate every sense.

With so many fragrance choices to fit your mood and calm your mind, you’ll find just the right way to create a home sanctuary you’ll never want to leave.

Our candles are clean-burning and made with types of candle wax like soy and coconut, giving you a clean, even fragrance for hours. And when the inevitable wax spill happens, our line of natural cleaning products is there to lift the wax and stains easily, keeping your space clean and your mind serene.

Shop our travel-inspired candles and other natural bath, body, and home care products to elevate your refined lifestyle and transform your home into an irreplicable oasis.


  1. Reader’s Digest. Simple Ways to Remove Candle Wax from Just About Every Household Surface.
  2. The Maids. How to Remove Candle Wax From Any Surface.
  3. This Old House. How to Get Wax Off Any Surface.
  4. University of Illinois Extension. Stain Solutions: Candle Wax.