The Foolproof Way to Get Wax Out of Carpet

Four easy steps to spotless carpets.

So you spilled wax on your carpet. Now what?

Maybe you wanted the simple ambiance of a candlelit dinner, or perhaps you were just trying to give a fresh scent to a room gone stale. Regardless of the reason, when you lit that candle, you weren’t planning for the mess you now have on the carpet in front of you.

We can’t help you deal with the unruly guest or unaware family member who caused the stain, but we can help you get your carpet good as new in four simple steps. Even better, you probably already have everything that you’ll need right there in your home — no special trips to the store required.

So let’s get started.

Step 1: Prep the wax stain area

Don’t sprint for the cleaning products just yet. Kick the kids and the dog out of the room and take a minute to figure out what you’re dealing with. You’re looking for two things — the condition of the wax and the type of carpet you have.

Depending on when you discovered the stain, it’s possible that the wax has already hardened. If so, then go ahead and jump to step two. If it hasn’t, put an icepack wrapped in a towel (to keep the wax from getting wet) on top of the stain to freeze it. This will help harden the wax and prevent it from seeping any further into the carpet fibers.

While the wax is cooling, take this time to note what kind of carpet you have. Synthetic fibers will be more durable and stain resistant, whereas natural fibers like wool may be more absorbent and difficult to treat.

Also take note of how loose the fibers are. Larger loops are more prone to pulls and snagging, so you’ll want to be more cautious with them.

Once the wax is fully hardened, let’s move on to step two.

Step 2: Scrape the wax

Now that the wax is good and solid, you’ll want to grab a dull object — something like a butter knife is perfect — and gently start to scrape off the wax stain. We’re often surprised how well this works (even for colored wax), so you might be able to get the whole stain up this way if it hasn’t absorbed too far into the carpet fibers.

Once you’ve gently scraped all the wax fragments loose, you should be able to vacuum them up. Pro tip here: when working with more delicate natural fibers (like wool) or carpets with larger loops, use smaller, flatter scraping motions in order to avoid damaging the carpet itself.

It’s possible that this alone will take care of your entire stain. If so, lucky you! For most of us, though, we’re going to need to bring some reinforcements to the party in step three.

Step 3: Re-melt and absorb the wax

Here’s where it gets a bit counterintuitive. You’re going to intentionally melt the wax again in order to draw it out of the carpet. You’ll need two things for this step: something to absorb the wax (like a terry cloth towel), and a heat source (an iron works best, though a hair dryer can also do the trick).

Lay the towel down over the stain, then put the iron on medium-high heat and move it back and forth across the towel. You’ll want to start by applying the heat for 10 seconds at a time. For more stubborn stains you might need to hold the heat in place for up to 30 seconds. Make sure to check on the carpet as you go in order to avoid damaging the fibers.

For more sensitive carpet materials (such as wool), use a hair dryer instead of an iron so that you can apply the heat more indirectly. As the wax melts, the towel will slowly absorb it. For larger stains you may have to shift the towel around or use more than one towel to get it all. Once you’ve absorbed all the wax, you can move on to our final step.

Step 4: Clean the wax stain

Now that you’ve pulled up the stain, you want to make sure that there isn’t any lingering wax or dye in the carpet. Apply a small amount of commercial carpet cleaner to the stain, and using a small white cloth (so you can see if there’s any remaining wax being blotted up), gently blot the area until the cloth comes back clean and there is no remaining residue. Continue to blot with a fresh towel to remove any remaining moisture, then vacuum the area one last time to restore the texture of the carpet.

This might have saved the carpet, but if your house is anything like most of ours, you probably have some other stains that need attention. Good news — we can help with those too! Have a look at our guides to removing paint, blood, nail polish, wine, and more.

Can you remove wax from carpet without heat?

Obviously, heat is the reason the wax ended up in the carpet in the first place. The simplest way to get the wax out of the carpet is to get it back into a liquid form via heat. However, there are certainly times when that approach won’t work or isn’t worth the risk. What do you do then?

Fortunately, you still have an option — though it does require a little more elbow grease. For this method, you’ll use steps one and two just like before. But this time instead of an iron, you’ll need some heavy-duty carpet cleaner, a spoon, and some clean white towels.

Once you’ve gotten as much of the wax out of the carpet as possible by scraping it, spray the area down with the cleaner and rub it into the carpet with the back of the spoon. Gently dab it dry to remove excess, then allow it to air dry over time. Depending on the size of the stain or color of the wax, you may have to repeat the procedure several times to loosen and remove all the wax and dye from the carpet fibers.

Regular carpet maintenance

Carpets can be high maintenance, but with the right routine they won’t take over your life. Dusty carpets might not be as obvious as dirty carpets, but trust us — you will feel the difference once they’re cleaned. Your space will feel lighter, brighter, and, well, cleaner.

Vacuum carpet weekly

This one’s a non-negotiable, sorry to say. Just like cleaning the toilet, this is a weekly chore you don’t want to skip — if you do, it’ll just make the process worse the next time. Start with a clean bag or filter to make sure the suction is as powerful as possible, and vacuum slowly to make sure you’re capturing all the dirt and dust.

If you have high-traffic carpeted areas in your house, like near an entryway or busy hallway, you may actually want to vacuum twice a week. Tip: you don’t have to do it all yourself! Trade off with your roommate, partner, or even assign it to one of the older kids to handle.

Deep clean carpet once a year

We recommend calling in the pros or renting a steam cleaner once a year to prolong the life of your carpet. Just like your weekly cleans, this yearly maintenance will go a long way to making your life easier in the long run.

In summary: try not to wait until things are visibly dirty to clean them. You’ll be fighting an uphill battle.

Avoid messes

Okay, this one’s way easier said than done. But as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you know the kids are prone to spilling their drinks, maybe ask them not to drink grape soda in the carpeted living room.

Or, y’know, if your candlesticks drip a lot of wax, try a Febreze PLUG instead for continuous freshness plus continuous odor elimination. Plus, of course, no more waxy accidents on the carpeting.

Related Articles

Spring Cleaning Checklist (Printable): By Room Guide

A room-by-room spring cleaning checklist that will have your home spotless. From scrubbing your bathroom to deep cleaning your kitchen, we’ve got you covered.

Tricks for Cleaning Your House Like a Pro

With all of these tips and tricks, you, too, can clean your house like a professional.

How Often Do You REALLY Need to Vacuum?

You may know how to vacuum your home, but how often should you actually be vacuuming? We’ve got everything you need to know in this helpful primer.

Tips for Better Closet Organization and a Calmer Home

Maintaining an organized closet is an artform and oh-so rewarding. Here’s how to organize it.

How To Clean Your Home In 5 Easy Steps

An easy-to-follow guide to cleaning your home and creating a cleaning routine that you can stick to. Plus see the best products that will keep your home clean.

The Ultimate Weekly Cleaning Chart With Checklist Examples

A clear and comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating a useful checklist for your daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning chores—plus helpful tips and product recommendations from Sandy Park.

Speed Cleaning Tips and Tricks from The CleanQueen

Youtube’s #CleanQueen Jessica Tull shares her 8 top speed cleaning tips and tricks for keeping your home sparkling clean (with the least effort possible).

How To Clean Your Living Room

A step-by-step guide to cleaning your living room from top to bottom, whether you’ve got fifteen minutes or the full day—plus a video, tips & product recommendations.