How to Remove Candle Wax From Hardwood Floors
Use heat or ice to effectively remove those accidental wax drippings from your wood floors.
When those pretty candles drip hot wax unexpectedly on your hardwood floors, don’t panic – there are a couple of easy techniques you can use to remove it. First things first, let the wax sit; resist the temptation to wipe it up immediately. Once it's dried, take a moment to clean the wax properly to avoid damaging the surface of your hardwood floors.
Follow one of these two approaches to remove wax from wood floors, and then follow up with a proper buff or polish to make the floors shine again.
- ice cubes
- plastic credit card or plastic razor blade
- wood furniture wax
- cotton cloths
Remove Wax With Ice
Using an ice cube to harden the wax drippings is one way to remove wax from hardwood floors with minimal scraping required. Simply hold the ice cube in place on the wax for 30 seconds, even if the wax has already cooled. If the wax is fresh and still malleable, you may need to hold the ice cube for a minute or two.
Use a credit card – or a plastic razor blade if one's handy – to scrape at the frozen candle wax drippings. You’ll likely be able to shimmy each bit around and pick them up off the floor. Re-freeze the spot if it is not easily popping free; you should not have to scratch.
Always avoid scraping into the surface of the wood; the goal is to loosen and slide the wax from where it landed without gouging the floors.
Wipe the area dry with a clean cloth. Be sure to collect any water that melted from the ice cubes! If there are still hints of wax on the surface (you can tell if you rub your hand over it, or catch an inconsistency in the sunlight), clean a wide area of the floor with a wood furniture wax to buff any remaining residue. We know, it seems wrong to clean wax by applying more wax, but furniture wax is formulated to help buff out imperfections and provide protection. Buffing a wide area, rather than the small affected spot, helps make it less noticeable that you were merely spot cleaning.
Remove Wax With Heat
Use a hairdryer on medium heat, and direct it at the wax drippings – stay 12” away. The heat will help soften the wax so that it can be scraped off the floor.
When the wax is softened, use the edge of a plastic credit card or plastic razor blade to pop the pieces off the hardwoods (similar to the ice cube method).
If there are still hints of wax on the surface of the hardwood floors, finish cleaning by applying a wood furniture wax to buff and cleanse the surface. This process will help remove any remaining waxy residue and help to re-polish your floors.
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Things to Avoid
- Don’t use mineral spirits, as it can lift the actual floor wax from a sealed hardwood floor, leaving it unprotected.
- Avoid steel wool or green scrubbies. These are simply too aggressive for floor cleaning, if you want to protect the finish of your hardwoods.
- No gouging! Don’t risk using a kitchen knife or a razor blade, even if you think you can just “pop” the wax drippings off the hardwood surface.