How to Safely Remove Candle Wax From Wood Furniture

Wood furnishings, whether modern day pieces or passed down antiques are often prized possessions. Dripping candle wax on a wood piece of furniture is not an uncommon problem. Wax will not seriously damage your wood, but if your candle, for example, has dye in it, you may end up staining your furniture as well. While the process for removing wax from stained and unstained wood furniture is the same, the stain in a wood piece may lighten after wax removal, so re-staining may be necessary.

Place a piece of newspaper over the candle wax. Plug in your iron and allow it to heat up. Iron over the paper and wax. The paper will absorb the wax as the it melts, removing it from your furniture.

Place an ice pack or plastic bag filled with ice on the wax if it has not hardened completely yet (or if it is particularly hot or humid).

Use a credit card (or other thin piece of plastic like a plastic dough scraper) to scrape the wax gently off the surface. Clean the remaining residue with a clean cloth and warm, soapy water. Dry the wood thoroughly. If there is still wax remaining, repeat the process.

Turn on your hair dryer and blow the warm air onto the wax. Don't get closer than 3 or 4 inches. Keep the heat on the wax until it has softened, but not melted. Use a clean cloth dipped in a solution of 2 tbsp of white vinegar in 2 cups of warm water to gently wipe the wax away.

Clean the surface of the wood after removing the wax with an oil soap for wood and then polish to your liking.


Be gentle when scraping wax, if you "dig" at it, you could scrape or damage the wood. If the dye in your candle has stained the wood, even though the wax is gone, try the white vinegar and water solution to help it out. It could simply be some remaining wax in the grain of the wood. A very light sanding can also remove this staining, but you may have to re-stain and seal that section of the piece.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Newspaper
  • Credit card
  • Ice pack
  • Hair dryer
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
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About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.