How to Remove Candle Wax from Wood

How to remove candle wax from wood

It’s undeniable that candles create warm, beautiful ambiance. But accidentally spilling the wax on your wood table? Not so idyllic. Before you panic, there are three easy ways that you can remove candle wax from wood using common household items. 

How to Remove Candle Wax from Wood with Ice

What You’ll Need:

  • Ice Cube
  • Old Credit Card / Plastic Ruler / Butter Knife
  • Soft cloth


  1. If the wax is still warm and a bit soft, you will want to place an ice cube on top of the wax to encourage it to harden and stop spreading. The harder the wax is, the easier it will be to remove.
  2. Once the wax has hardened, use a credit card, plastic ruler, butter knife, or similar tool to gently scrape away the wax. 
  3. Wipe your wood surface with a clean cloth to clean up any lingering pieces of wax.
  4. Shine and condition your wood surface with a wood cleaner and mineral oil.

Remove Candle Wax from Wood with a Hairdryer

If the wood has grooves and hard-to-clean nooks, you’ll want to use a hairdryer to remove wax build-up. (Side note: We have a few tips on how to clean your hairdryer here.)  

What You’ll Need:


  1. To soften dried wax, direct the blow dryer three to four inches away from the table. Keep the hair dryer on medium heat. 
  2. Once the wax is soft, blot it with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together a 1/2 cup of white vinegar into 1 cup of water.
  4. Dip the soft cloth into the vinegar mixture. Wipe away any leftover wax until the table is clean.

Remove Candle Wax from Wood with an Iron

This approach to removing wax is good for untreated wood or if you don’t have a hairdryer and need to remove wax from grooves.

What You’ll Need:


  1. Start by placing a paper bag over the wax. 
  2. Preheat the iron on a low setting—no steam!
  3. Set the iron on top of the brown paper bag for 10 seconds. Remove the iron. Repeat until you start to see the wax lift from the wood and transfer onto the paper bag.
  4. Repeat with a clean section of the brown paper bag until the wax is completely removed.
  5. Wipe clean with a dampened soft cloth.

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  1. I scraped off but the wax left behind an oily spot. What can I do about that? It’s on unfinished wood that is reclaimed and has grooves

    1. Did you try applying heat? Place a scrap piece of fabric over the oily spot and use a hair dryer to melt the remaining wax onto the fabric!

  2. Yes, I was wondering about the wood or bamboo type lids on the jar candles. I want to reuse for food storage containers. How do you clean and get the candle smell out of the lids?

    1. Hi Debbie, good question! I don’t have experience with this specifically, but if I was to try I would start by using a gentle deodorizer like baking soda. Submerge the lid(s) completely in baking soda for a few days (or even weeks!). Another option is to clean them with white vinegar repeatedly until the scent dissipates. Even with these methods, however, it’s difficult to truly sanitize those lids for food storage so I’d be careful before using them for that purpose!

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