How to Remove Candle Wax
Candle is the most common type of wax spilled on a carpet.
Due to the high heat and possible coloring involved, it can be one of the most challenging waxes to remove. You can easily remove most other types of waxes with extraction, absorption, and solvents.
Many customers think the removal of candle wax should be easy. Removing the visible wax is usually straightforward, but residues and colors are often left behind, making the job more complex than initially anticipated.
Wax comes from many sources, such as beehives, petroleum products, plants, and animals.
Petroleum by-products are used to make most candle-making waxes, often referred to as paraffin wax. It usually melts slowly, allowing the user to enjoy a burning candle for hours if not days.
To appreciate how wax can bind with fibers, think of the characteristics of fibers. Olefin and polyester are oil-loving and thus tend to bond quicker and more robustly with anything petroleum-based, such as candle wax.
The greasiness of candle wax can be more challenging to remove on olefin and polyester. However, you are less likely to leave color behind.
Nylon is more forgiving to the waxy part of the spill but not to the colors in the wax. Nylon tends to absorb the color from the candle wax into its dye sites.
Natural fibers such as wool can be a nightmare when removing wax, but you can do it with and patience. (Caution: Heat can easily damage Natural Fibers)
Removing the wax using heat on synthetic fibers.
Remember that adding heat to the fiber can also cause the color from the wax to be absorbed into the dye sites of the fibers. Heat can make the color more difficult to remove after extracting the wax.
Carpet cleaners who use hot water extraction can often extract the wax from the carpet using “chop strokes,” which are the wand’s short, forward, and backward movements.
A typical clothing steam iron will work nicely to use heat with a low moisture system.
Some recommend using unprinted paper, such as grocery bag paper, with a heat transfer process, but a better choice is a low-cost white cotton towel.
You can dispose of the towel after using it a few times for the spotting procedure. The white towel is more absorbent and protects the carpet better from burning or melting.
Place the towel over the hardened wax. Place a clothes iron on low on the towel over the wax. Gently push the iron onto the towel, allowing the newly melted wax to absorb into the towel. Repeat as necessary to remove as much visible wax as possible.
Follow this by using Hel-Gel Orange spotter to remove more paraffin residues.
Colors in wax.
If your customers only burned clear candles, there would be no worries about color stains left after the wax removal. However, consumers tend to like red, orange, and blue ones. You know, the ones with bright colors. Those colors can easily absorb into the carpet fibers. In such cases, you have a dye stain to remove after the wax removal.
Procedures for removing red wax stains.
Most synthetic stains require a reducing agent like our Red Vanish spotter. It works by stripping oxygen molecules from the fiber. The Red Vanish alters the color so it becomes invisible. Always use Red Vanish according to the directions on the product.
Simply applying the product and walking away will typically remove the stain in a few hours. However, to remove it immediately, so the customer will see that it has gone, do the following:
Using a clean, damp towel, place the towel over the stain and add heat in increments of approximately 10 to 15 seconds using a clothes iron.
Leaving the heat applied for longer could also remove the original color from the carpet. If you prefer, you can use a wallpaper steamer instead of a steam iron.
Keep checking the results under the towel, and always keep the towel damp to avoid burning the carpet. You should notice good results after one or two applications of Red Vanish. If not, rinse the area thoroughly and move to an oxidizing agent such as our Problem-B-Gone.
The reducing agent will usually do the trick, but occasionally an oxidizing agent will work better. Always rinse thoroughly when an oxidizing agent follows a reducing agent and vice versa. Failure to do so and you might see smoke coming from the fibers and fiber damage.
If you still lack success, rinse the carpet again, wet out the fibers with Red Vanish, and cover the area with wax paper. Place a heavy object, such as a book, over the stain. Allow a 24-hour dwell time and recheck your work (you can have your customer do this.)
As a last resort, a bonded insert may be needed; however, this is rarely needed.