Wax in many forms is found in the typical household. It also accidentally spills on a variety of materials, including clothes, floors and a variety of objects. Sometimes hot wax is even poured down pipes. A variety of chemicals will dissolve wax, but temperature also plays a vital role in wax removal. The best removal techniques depend on the material that the wax was spilled on.
What Chemicals Will Remove Wax?
When hot wax spills on a floor, don't try to remove it while it is hot. You can hold something cold over the spill to cool it down. When it is cool, remove as much as possible by physical means before starting a chemical assault. For hardwood floors, clean up the residue with 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tbsp. of furniture polish in a gallon of water. Use a weak solution of oil-based soap and water for linoleum. For carpet, remove as much cold wax as possible with a putty knife or credit card, and vacuum up the residue. Place a cloth or paper without print or color over the stain, and run a warm iron over it; the wax will adhere to the paper. When this stops removing wax, use a commercial spot remover, mild soap or weak vinegar solution.
For wax spills on cotton clothes, use a technique similar to the technique for removing wax from carpet. Many more commercial spot removers are available for clothes than for carpets. To remove wax from wool, wrap an ice cube in plastic and freeze the wax stain; it will often crack and fall off. If the wax is spilled on a clothing item that must be dry cleaned, take it to the cleaners and point out the wax stain. Commercial dry cleaners have special chemicals that you cannot buy that removes wax from different kinds of cloth.
For many complex objects, the best way to remove wax is to submerge the object in warm water in the bathtub, and let the wax come to the surface to be removed. If the object cannot be submerged, remove the cooled wax by physical means before applying chemicals. When the wax is removed and the area is wiped with a clean cloth, use whatever chemicals are usually used to clean the object. For small spills on hard surfaces like mirrors use a little fingernail polish remover (acetone).
Often running the hot water down the pipe will release the wax. If you pour boiling water in the pipe, do it only once; too much boiling water can damage pipes. Bleach or alcohol will also dissolve some kinds of wax. For difficult clogs remove the trap (curved section of pipe,) and scrape the trap out. Snake toilets before beginning a chemical solution.