Removing Candle Wax


I need advice as to the best method of removing candle wax from altar linen, cassocks, albs etc.


31/1/04 from Peter Keat

Use a hot iron and brown paper, iron the paper and it will absorb the wax. 

31/1/04 from Robert Vague

Brown paper and moderate heat iron has worked for me. 

1/2/04 from Peter Crook

One word of warning when using a hot iron. Many modern cassocks or made from polyester and are easily melted. 
Peter F. Crook 

1/2/04 from Michael Smith

Hello candlewax collector!!

A timely problem but help is on the way!!

Get a sheet of Brown paper. Lay item on same and run over the area in need of help with a hot iron. Keep at it until grease has all gone.

This works for me- good luck

Michael.V.A.Smith (Chapter of St Lukes 15/102)

1/2/04 from Liz Harris

As proper brown paper is quite hard to get (most has a waxed surface) and so is blotting paper I use kitchen roll (a good quality one without a coloured pattern on it) and a hot iron. I put the kitchen roll on both sides of the fabric to have wax removed and then use the iron in the normal manner. Also if there is a large amount of wax I get it cold first and then peel off what I can before using the iron. You can see when the kitchen roll has absorbed the wax and another piece is needed. Obviously care has to be taken not to singe the fabric itself. It is worth keeping an old iron for this purpose as the wax tends to mark the iron and can come off on other fabrics. I do not use a steam iron but an older style iron with a more solid base as I find this has the best results. On most fabrics such as altar cloths and albs this is relatively straightforward but it is more difficult on vestments as they are richer fabric. 


I generally use brown paper both sides of the cloth and press with a warm iron. Throw away the paper after use. It is not always easy to get brown paper bags nowadays!


Here is another alternative way. (for material damaged by hot irons!) Having removed as much wax as possible you can apply a chemical solvent. 
1. Test the solvent on a small insignificant area of the item where any adverse effects won't show e.g. inside edge seem. This should be carried out in a well ventilated area away from naked lights and lit candles. 
2. Apply the solvent with something like a cotton wool bud. Use a gentle circular motion and allow the solvent to act for about 5 minutes. 
3. Now work into the area some COLOURLESS washing up liquid until there are bubles from the washing up liquid. This was you will know that the solvent and liquid have mixed. 
4. Wash the area with warm water. The solvent will have dissolved the wax, the washing up liquid will then make it water soluble and wax washes out. You may have to repeat the process BUT you cannot do it till the item is dry. Possible solvents. Polycleanse brush cleaner NOT paint stripper. Ronsonol lighter fuel. I have used both on silk and synthetic fabrics. No guarantees but it is cheaper than buying a new cassock. generally use brown paper both sides of the cloth and press with a warm iron. Throw away the paper after use. It is not always easy to get brown paper bags nowadays!

9/2/04 from Richard Hawker

I wish to expand this question. How does one remove, without scratches,
candle wax from wooden floors, and tiled floors, I am slightly wary of
using a knife, because it can easily scratch the surface. Any ideas?
Yours in Christ
Richard Hawker
Sacristan of St. Peter's, Highfields,
Parish of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple,

9/2/04 from David Froud

Richard, The method using Xylene (Polycleanse) will work. Place a very small amount on a linen cloth and apply with a circular motion. You should wear gloves and not inhale the vapour. Test it on a small area first. You may get a small white tide mark but this can be removed with surgical spirit. 

12/2/04 from Reginald Spurway

I've found there is no better way of removing candle grease than using a hot iron and brown paper also smearing the candle drip trays with olive oil eases the cleaning of them.

7/4/07 from Bobbie Shields

I have not a reply, but the brown paper. Is it the grocery paper bag or is it the brown contruction paper. Please specify, and many thanks.
Bobbie Shields


I'm having a rough time with the same problem. I've tried a couple of things but generally I do best with the following.

1. Remove as much of the wax as you can before trying anything exotic. Freezing and cracking the wax out works but can damage the fiber if you're not careful. I DO NOT RECOMMEND scrapping with a knife. Even on hardened wax this is VERY risky.

2. Stretch the fabric in a hoop, like an embroidery hoop, and pour boiling water through the wax. The water will melt the wax and carry it away.

3. Dry the fabric and press any remaining wax out of the fabric with brown paper (an unwaxed brown grocery bag works well because the paper absorbs the wax and you can see the stain in the paper), or white paper toweling. Only use the paper once. More than that and you risk returning wax to the fabric.

4. Emulsify any remaining wax with a clear all purpose cleaner. Work the cleaner into the fabric, let it sit and RINSE THOROUGHLY. Rinse again. If there is ANY residual detergent or cleaner you risk staining your linen when it is pressed, or having it yellow as it ages.

Check your results. I put the fabric on the ironing board and spritz it with clear water. If there is wax in the fabric it will resist the

water and you can try again before going further.

25/10/07 Eddie Bestwick

I would appreciate advice as to how to remove dripped candle wax from a metal votive candle stand.
Best Wishes and Dominus Vobiscum.
Eddie Bestwick


I have removed wax by pouring hot water over the wax on a metal candle holder.

26/10/07 - Fr. Ray 

Pouring a kettle of boiling water (outside!) over metal candlesticks and votive stands is indeed the best way to remove wax. They will come up as new!
Fr Ray


We have found that oil on the candle dishes accumulates and so we have gone back to lining the dishes with aluminium foil - this collects most of the drips and the rest we remove by pouring boiling water over and collecting it in a small bucket kept for the purpose and emptied on a garden bed (otherwise you may block your drain as the wax sets again).

15/11/07 - Ian

We use a small hair dryer - works every time. 

20/4/17 - Geoff Harwood

one tip for cleaning wax candles which are grubby - and maybe bits of flies - dirt attached especially in warm weather - is to use a pair of old tights and ‘polish’ the candle up and down. The friction and the heat caused realy gives a nice ‘new’ surface.

Geoff TJ Harwood

GL - 4/9/17

 After spilling candle wax on a hard polished floor, the only way i could remove it was to use a hair dryer to melt the wax and wipe up the melted wax as soon as it melted with an absorbent cloth. it worked very well.
brown paper would have marked the floor. it worked well.
this can also be applied to a marble floor

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