How to Remove Candle Wax from Bed Sheets

Small, white tea light candles on gold satin fabric.
What You'll Need
Plastic bag
Butter knife
Ironing board
Paper towels or paper bag
Hot water
Grease stain remover

Candles can add ambiance to any quiet night or romantic evening—until you discover that the wax dripped onto your bedsheets. Fortunately, since most sheets are machine-washable, you can easily remove the candle wax yourself. You will just need to take a few extra steps to remove the wax and pre-treat the stain before washing the bedding with the rest of your laundry.

Step 1 - Remove Excess Wax

First, you will need to remove as much of the excess wax as possible. To start, allow the wax to complete hardening. You can do this by simply putting your sheet in the freezer for a half-hour or so. Or, if you don’t have room in your freezer, place a couple of ice cubes in a plastic sandwich bag and rub the wax spot with the plastic-wrapped ice.

Once the wax spot is very hard, you should be able to pick off most of it with your fingers or by scraping with a butter knife. Work gently so you don't damage the fibers in the fabric.

Step 2 - Melt the Rest of the Wax

Under the hardened wax, you will see that some of the wax or color has soaked into the fibers of the sheet. To tackle this, you will need to use heat.

Get out your ironing board and place a few layers of paper towels on it. Lay your sheet on top so that the towels are directly under the wax stain. Preheat your iron to the “cotton” setting, and then either lay a few more paper towels or a square of a cut brown paper bag on top of the stain. Once your iron is hot, run the iron over the paper towels or paper bag. This will melt the remaining wax, and the paper towels or paper bags will absorb the substance, drawing it away from the fabric.

If you do not have an iron, and your bedsheets are made of cotton, you may also be able to use hot tap water for this step. Run very hot tap water over the stain for a moment, then use a small scrub brush to scrub off as much of the soaked-in wax as you can. You may need to repeat this a few times for the best results.

Step 3 - Final Pre-treating and Washing

Candle waxes are made with different kinds of oils, so even after you remove all of it, you will still see a small stain left by the oil. Simply treat this spot with a fabric stain remover suitable for grease stains, and launder in your washing machine as normal.

Step 4 - Take the Sheets to a Dry Cleaner

If your bedding is not machine washable, or it is made of delicate fabric such as silk, do not try to remove the candle wax yourself. You will need to have your sheets dry-cleaned.