Unless you’re intentionally waterproofing your clothes (in which case, carry on), getting wax on your pieces can be a frustrating fashion emergency. Fortunately, the mystery of how to get wax out of clothes can be easily solved with the right tools. Whether you’ve accidentally dripped wax onto your favorite little black dress during a candlelit dinner or chose to wear your most comfortable cut-offs during an at-home waxing, there’s no need to panic. We’ve put together a few key tips to help you remove the substance from your garments in no time.
Read on for our guide on how to get wax out of clothes in five easy steps.
1. Sit Back
For most stain removal situations, time is of the essence and haste is a virtue. This is not the case with wax. Attempting to clean up hot wax is far more likely to result in a stain, so wait until it cools and hardens. Remember not to get burned trying to remove it with your finger.
2. Scrape What You Can
Once the wax has hardened, it’s time to remove as much of it as you can. Using a dull knife or the edge of a pie server (even the edge of a credit card can work in a pinch), slide the tool under the edge of the wax and gently chip away. For smooth fabrics, this method might remove the surface wax in one convenient piece, whereas textured fabrics will likely require more work. For the latter, make sure the fabric surface is taut, and gently scrape to remove excess flakes of wax—be careful not to damage the fabric as you go.
3. Reheat the Wax
Set up an ironing board and lay down an old towel or sheet to protect its surface. Next, place your garment with the wax stain facing upward and cover it with two layers of dry paper towels. Bring your iron to a medium heat, then gently iron over the stain. While remelting the wax may seem counterproductive, the wax should naturally absorb into the paper towels.
4. Soak the Stain
If you still notice a color stain on the fabric, don’t panic. The next stage is to soak the fabric. Add a small amount of stain remover to a bowl of clean, warm water and let it soak for two to three hours. While chemical stain removers can be an effective tool in removing wax from clothing, they can also be harsh on certain types of fabric, so consider using a natural alternative.
5. Launder as Usual
Using a high-quality detergent, wash your garment as usual. While this should fully remove any lingering color residue, certain fabrics may require a second wash or (worst-case scenario) a trip to the dry cleaners.
Up next, learn how to get paint off your jeans in just six steps.