How to Remove Candle Wax from a Tablecloth

With the desire to create an appealing atmosphere at a classy dinner party comes the risk of items potentially suffering damage, such as candle wax being dripped onto your best tablecloth.

However, by implementing the tips in our guide, you will find it possible to remove candle wax from a tablecloth and prevent your dream dinner party from turning into a nightmare.

Step 1: Remove the Excess

If you notice the candlewax on the tablecloth just after it has happened, it is prudent to attempt to remove as much as possible while it is still liquid. Blot it with kitchen towel rather than wiping or rubbing.

It is more likely that you will only notice the wax on the tablecloth once the table is being cleared long after the candle has been extinguished.

  • If the wax is still tacky, leave it to harden (which can be achieved by putting it in the freezer for a short time).
  • Once hard, remove the excess wax by using a butter knife to scrape it away, taking care to avoid damage to the fabric.

Step 2: Use Heat to Remove

Due to the wax being oil-based and it having been liquid when it dripped onto the tablecloth, it will seep into the fabric so the scraping will not be sufficient to remove it completely. To remove the residue, you need two pieces of brown paper, such as that used to make paper bags, and an old towel. The paper must be larger than the wax-stained area.

  • Lay the towel flat with a piece of paper on top and then the stained area of the tablecloth.
  • Lay the second piece of paper on top of this and press down before heating with a hairdryer. If this doesn’t get hot enough, use an iron on a medium heat with the steam function switched off. If care instructions of the tablecloth allow, the temperature can be increased.
  • Heat the stained area until the wax melts and shows on the paper. Repeat this process on clear sections of the paper until the wax stops coming through onto the paper.

Step 3: Wash it Away

If the wax has completely disappeared, you need only wash the tablecloth as normal. However, a superficial stain of wax may remain, which means it needs to be treated before being washed.

The properties of the wax mean that a normal laundering alone may not be sufficient, so you will have to use solvent to fully remove the candle wax from the tablecloth.

This could be acetone (as in nail varnish remover) or rubbing alcohol, so this step should be omitted for delicate fabrics.

After checking the care instructions for any warnings, do a patch test with a cotton bud soaked in solvent. If this works, proceed with solvent-soaked cotton pad until the stain is removed.

Follow this by washing the tablecloth by itself by hand or on a gentle wash with standard detergent.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Consider using a wipeable tablecloth that protects your table, looks great and is easy to wipe down any messes to save you time hassle.