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How to Get Candle Wax Off Wood

Getting candle wax off of wood can be an irritating situation. Whether it’s a piece of antique furniture or your favorite cutting board, you want to ensure you don’t damage the wood finish while removing the wax. 

The good news is that there are several methods for removing wax from wood, and each of them will yield excellent results. Keep reading to learn how to remove candle wax from your prized wood objects with this quick and easy step-by-step guide!

What You’ll Need

Before jumping into the process of removing wax from wood, it’s important to make sure you have the right supplies. You will need the following items:

  • A soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • A hair dryer or heat gun
  • An iron
  • A moderate-sized cooler

In addition to the items listed above, you may also want to have a few other items on hand. These include a vacuum cleaner, a soft brush, and rags. These items will make the wax removal process much easier and more efficient.

Preparing The Wood

Before attempting to remove the wax, prepare the surface of the wood. This is particularly important for antique pieces or wooden items that may be heavily waxed. Take a soft cloth and clean the surface to ensure no oils are on it that could cause any staining or other damage.

Once the surface is clean, use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the wood. Sanding the wood will help to remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck in the wax. Be sure to use a light touch and not to sand too deeply, as this could damage the wood. Once the sanding is complete, use a damp cloth to remove dust or debris.

Method 1 – Removing The Wax With Cloth & Detergent

You can use a few different methods to remove wax from wood. The method you choose will depend on the heaviness of the wax and how much time you have to dedicate to removing it. These are some tried-and-true methods for removing wax from wood.

One of the most common methods is to use a soft cloth and a mild detergent. Dampen the cloth with the detergent and gently rub the wax off the wood. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove the wax. 

Another option is a commercial wax remover, which you can find at most hardware stores. This method is more effective than cloth and detergent but may also be more expensive.

Method 2 – Using A Hair Dryer

Using a hair dryer is a great way to gently melt the wax off a wooden surface. Begin slowly moving the hair dryer over the waxed surface. As the hot air approaches the wax, it will melt and become sticky. Use a soft cloth to rub off the wax as it melts.

Be sure to keep the dryer moving and not stay in one spot for too long, as this can cause the wood to become damaged. Keep the dryer at least a few inches from the surface to avoid overheating the wood. Once the wax has been removed, use a clean cloth to buff the surface and restore its shine.

Method 3 – Using A Heat Gun To Remove Wax From Wood

Heat guns are another option for quickly and easily removing wax from wood. Set the gun between 350°F-450°F, hold it several inches above the wax, and lower the temperature by decreasing the distance between them. 

As the wax on the surface heats up, you can use a soft cloth to wipe it away as it melts. Using a heat gun to remove wax from wood is roughly the same as using a hair dryer.

Be sure to use caution when using a heat gun, as the high temperatures can cause damage to the wood if left in one spot for too long. Additionally, the heat gun should be kept away from flammable materials, as the heat can cause them to ignite.

Method 4 – Using An Iron

If a heat gun isn’t available, you may use an iron instead. Before beginning, turn the heat setting on low and ensure it doesn’t exceed 350°F. Cover the waxed area with a clean cloth and then iron over it in a circular motion. As the iron passes over the cloth and wax, it will melt and can then be wiped away with a soft cloth.

It is important to be careful when using an iron to remove wax. Make sure to keep the iron moving and not leave it in one spot for too long, as this can cause damage to the surface. Also, use a clean cloth to avoid transferring dirt or debris onto the waxed area.

Method 5 – Cold Water And A Towel

As well as using hot objects like irons and hair dryers, you can also use cold water and a towel to remove wax from wooden surfaces. This method is best used if the wax has only recently been spilled onto a piece of wooden furniture. 

Place the wooden item in a moderate-sized cooler and fill it with cold water, allowing it to sit for several hours. Afterward, take a dry towel and gently rub away the wax.

Cleaning And Polishing The Wood

After you have removed all of the wax from the surface of your wood, you can use a soft cloth to clean any remaining residue, making sure to go in the direction of the grain. To finish up, take a bit of furniture polish and lightly apply it to the now-restored wood to give it an extra shine.

When applying the furniture polish, use a circular motion to ensure that the polish is evenly distributed. Allow the polish to sit for a few minutes before buffing it off with a clean cloth. Properly cleaning your furniture will help ensure the wood is properly protected and the shine is long-lasting.

Tips For Removing Wax From Wooden Furniture 

The best way to prevent further damage to your wood when removing wax is to act quickly and utilize products specifically designed for furniture maintenance. Using a soft cloth when wiping away the wax is also important, as a rough cloth can scratch the wood. 

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What removes dried candle wax?

There are many ways to remove dried candle wax. The best ways are to either heat it up and make it melt, which makes it easier to remove, or make it cold, which makes it rigid and much easier to chip off. 

Does candle wax damage wood?

Candle wax doesn’t get hot enough to burn or scold wood; however, it can leave a distasteful stain. The best to avoid this is to act quickly and not let it set.

Does vinegar remove wax from wood?

Vinegar is a reliable way to remove wax. It dissolves wax very efficiently; however, you shouldn’t use it to clean waxed furniture as it can damage the wood.