How to Remove Wax from Wood

Candles are a beautiful accent that can add warmth to any room in your home. They can also wreak havoc on your table, wood floors, or furniture if you ever happen to knock one over. Unlike other materials, which can be cleaned up quickly and easily, the question of how to remove wax from wood is a bit more complex.

Fortunately, it can be done. Today, we’ll cover a few different methods that you can try to remove wax from wood furniture and flooring in the event of an accident. By the time you’re finished with this guide, you should feel confident in knowing how to remove wax from wood.

What You’ll Need

Thankfully, you won’t need much more than a bit of patience and a few readily available household items to get the job done in this case. The materials you’ll need will differ from method to method, so you won’t necessarily need ALL of these items. Here’s the overall list:

  • Plastic scraper (a credit card will work in a pinch)
  • Hair dryer
  • Clothes iron (you’ll need one if the surface the wax is on is unfinished, like outdoor furniture, for example)
  • Mop and bucket
  • Mineral spirits
  • Furniture polish or Goo Gone
  • Extra-fine steel wool

Method I: Best For Wood Floors and Tables

This method uses mineral spirits and steel wool to remove the wax from the wood. 

Start by cleaning the area with soap and water. Use a mop and bucket if you’re trying to remove wax from a wood floor. A rag and soap will work just fine if you’re working on a smaller area, like a table or chair. Allow the surface to dry once you’ve cleaned it.

Next, get a clean rag and apply mineral spirits to it. You’ll want to apply some serious elbow grease as you scrub the spot to lift as much of it from the wood as possible. Repeat this process for however long it takes to remove the wax.

If there’s still wax residue left when you’re finished scrubbing, use fine steel wool to scrub the spot further until all the wax residue has been removed.

Method II: Alternative For Wood Floors and Tables

This method requires hardly any tools and materials and is particularly effective at removing candle wax from finished furniture and wood floors.

First, head to the freezer and grab yourself an ice cube. Rub the ice cube over all of the wax. This will help harden the wax further and make it easier for you to scrape off more of the wax in the next step.

Next, take your plastic scraper or credit card and scrape the wax off the surface of the wood. You’ll want to scrape the wax at a 10-15 degree angle to avoid scratching the finished surface. Once you’ve removed as much wax as possible, you can use your vacuum to suck it up or sweep it up with a dustpan.

Now, spray the affected area with either furniture polish, or Goo Gone, and let it sit for several minutes on top of the wax residue. Then scrub at the residue with a clean cloth to remove the remaining wax.

If there’s still a wax residue remaining after you’re done, re-apply the furniture polish or Goo Gone and repeat the process.

Method III: Perfect for Unfinished Wood & Outdoor Furniture

If you spilled wax on bare wood, the process to remove the wax is considerably different than the last two methods we’ve covered. Huffpost recommends some fairly unorthodox methods to get rid of the wax, and they work like a charm.

First, grab an ice cube from the freezer as we covered in the second method. Rub the ice over the wax stain to help the wax harden further, which will make it easier to scrape up.

With your plastic scraper or credit card, scrape off as much of the wax as you can, being careful not to gouge the wood below. Remove the hardened wax from the area with your vacuum or a dustpan.

Next, you’re going to need to grab a few pieces of paper (any kind will do, even paper towels) and your clothes iron. Turn the iron on to the second lowest setting and allow it to heat up.

Once the iron is hot, put a piece of paper over the wax stain, and run over the paper with the iron. This will melt the wax on your furniture and transfer it to the paper. You’ll need to repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove all of the wax.

Depending on the type of wax that was spilled on the table, there may be an oil stain left behind after all the wax has been removed. If that’s the case, you may be able to suck up the oil stain using salt or baking soda.

For stubborn oil stains, you may want to look into buying a spot lifter that’s designed to pull oil out of a surface.

Last Word

When it comes to how to remove wax from wood, there are a few different ways you can get the job done. With patience, a bit of ingenuity and some products you probably already have laying around your home, you should be able to make quick work of this job and restore your furniture or floors to their natural beauty.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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