Whether it is crayon marks or splattered wax from an unprotected candle, getting wax off of a wall can be tricky. Most candles are made up of several components—natural or petroleum-based wax, fragrance, and dye. Crayons, of course, contain lots of dye and wax.
The method you choose for removing wax from walls depends on the wall's surface. We'll cover the steps for removal from painted walls, natural wood, and wallpaper. The same techniques can be used to remove wax from furniture with similar surfaces and most of the same products can be used if you need to remove wax from table linens or carpet.
How Often to Clean Wax From Walls
Beyond the obvious stain that colored candle wax or crayons leave on a wall, it is important to remove even clear wax splatters. When it is time to repaint or wallpaper the wall, wax residue will interfere with how well the paint and wallcovering adhesive adhere to the wall.
Equipment / Tools
- Thin-edged plastic scraper or old credit card
- Hand-held hairdryer
- Large bowl
- Microfiber cloths
- Old toothbrush
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Paper towels
How to Remove Wax From Painted Walls
Soften the Wax
If you catch a candle wax splatter while it is still soft, you can move to the next step. If the wax has hardened, use a hand-held hairdryer to soften the wax. Set the dryer to medium heat and hold it at least four to six inches from the wall to allow the heat to soften the wax.
Remove the Excess Wax
Use a very thin-edged plastic scraper, the edge of an old credit card, or a rag to lift away the softened wax. Do your best not to smear the wax or gouge the wall.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
In a large bowl, mix one-part hot water with three-parts distilled white vinegar.
Wash Away Wax Residue
Dip a microfiber cloth in the vinegar and water solution. Wring until just damp, not dripping. Starting at the top of the wax-stained area, wipe down the wall using gentle pressure. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the wax is transferred.
Dry the Wall
Use a dry microfiber cloth to dry and buff the wall.
How to Remove Wax From an Unpainted Wood Wall
Harden the Wax
Place a couple of ice cubes in a sealable plastic bag and hold it against the wax for about 30 to 60 seconds.
Use a thin-edged plastic scraper or the edge of an old credit card to scrape away the hardened wax. Hold the plastic edge flat against the wood surface and the wax may pop off the wood. Use a light touch to prevent scratching the wood's surface.
Remove Waxy Residue From Finished Wood Wall
For wood walls that have a finished surface, mix one-part hot water and two-parts distilled white vinegar in a bowl. Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and wring until just damp. Wipe away the wax residue.
Finish by buffing the surface with a dry microfiber cloth.
Remove Waxy Residue From Unfinished Wood Wall
Because unfinished wood has a rough surface (think barn wood), the wax residue may be harder to remove.
Dampen an old toothbrush with water and dip it in dry baking soda. Following the grain of the wood, apply gentle pressure on the brush to remove any waxy residue from the grooves of the wood. Finish by wiping the area with the vinegar and water solution and buff dry with a microfiber cloth.
How to Remove Wax From Wallpaper
Removing wax from wallpaper is tricky because there are all different types of wallpaper finishes—grasscloth, paper, vinyl, foil. Always use a gentle touch and work slowly to prevent additional damage.
Harden the Wax
Often, if the wax is hardened, it can be popped off with the edge of a credit card. Place a couple of ice cubes in a sealable plastic bag and hold the bag on the wax for 30 to 60 seconds. Use your fingernail or the edge of an old credit card to see if the wax will pop off the wallpaper. DO NOT gouge the surface of the paper.
If you have vinyl washable wallpaper, this will usually remove the wax, and then you can wipe down the surface with your usual cleaner.
Soften the Wax
If the all of the wax didn't come off, it's time to soften and absorb it. Place three to four layers of paper towels over the wax stain. Set an iron to the lowest heat setting. Press the iron against the paper towels. Lift the iron every 10 to 15 seconds to check the paper towels for wax absorption. Keep applying heat until the wax is fully absorbed. You may want to use fresh paper towels as the wax is absorbed to prevent retransferring wax to the wallpaper.