Getting stuck-on wax out of carpet fibers is easier than you might expect. With the help of heat, you can clean off accidental spills without needing serious elbow grease.
All you need for this cleaning method is a clothes iron and paper towels.
"This method works best with resin-or oil-based wax," says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. "Sugar-based wax, which is water-soluble, is a lot easier to clean."
If you have a sugar-based wax stain — most likely in the instance you spilled a hair removal kit — Peterson recommends using warm water and a paper or cloth towel to clean it.
Oil- or resin-based waxes are more likely to end up on your carpet since they're found in things like candles, crayons, shoe polish, gum, cosmetics, and floor polish. If that's the kind of wax you're dealing with, grab your iron.
1. Set your iron temperature to low
Keeping the iron temperature at the lowest setting is crucial as it helps prevent you from singeing your carpet, synthetic or otherwise, says Peterson. You only need enough heat to melt the wax.
If you don't have an iron on hand, you can also use a hairdryer to get wax out of your carpet. Again, be sure to keep the temperature setting low.
2. Heat and absorb
To start the wax removal process, place the paper towel over the wax-stained area and press gently onto the paper towel with the iron. The heat from the iron will transfer through the paper towel to the wax, melting it.
As the wax melts, the paper towel will absorb the wax. Peterson suggests using a sweeping motion to avoid burning the paper towel or your carpet. The movement prevents the iron from coming into contact for too long with any one surface.
Peterson recommends paper towels over cloth ones because they're disposable. If you use a cloth towel, you'll have to deal with cleaning it, too.
Repeat this process with additional paper towels until the wax stain is gone.
While the number of paper towel sheets you'll need will vary depending on the size of the stain, in most cases, you shouldn't need more than a few sheets. "Be sure to replace with a new paper towel as the wax is absorbed. Otherwise, the wax will continue to melt from the paper towel and spread," says Peterson.
Should your first attempt at heating fail to melt the wax, try again on a slightly higher heat setting. "If you notice a burning smell, remove the iron immediately and reduce the setting. Simply try again after the iron cools down a bit," says Peterson.
3. Use a stain remover
If the wax stain on your carpet contains any dyes, you may need to go through an additional step. To remove any visible stains, Peterson recommends starting with a solution that includes 1 tablespoon each of liquid dishwashing soap and white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water.
Pour this mixture onto the stain and blot with a paper towel until the liquid and dye are absorbed. "If the stain is still there, then try a little rubbing alcohol on a sponge and blot to lift the stain," says Peterson.
You can also use a carpet stain removal product. The advantage of the vinegar solution is that it should be safe to use on all carpet materials and costs virtually nothing.
Whether you've splashed your bathroom carpet with hair removal wax or spilled candle wax in the living room, heat and paper towels can help you sop up the mess. Make sure to use a low heat setting to avoid burning your carpet.
If your carpet has also absorbed dye, use a stain remover or homemade cleaning solution and blot out the stain with a paper towel.