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Between wax candles and wax crayons, many people have had to face that “uh, oh” moment when they realize wax has ended up in an area where it does not belong. Don’t panic, and don’t call the nearest contractor. Most of these spills can be handled yourself.

Take a wooden table for example. My children used to draw in the living room, but didn’t always keep their creations neatly on the paper. One solution for the crayon wax is brushing it out using toothpaste and a dusting rag. In this case, rub the toothpaste into the markings then wipe away with a damp rag (something soft that won’t scratch the surface is best). Clean again with a dry rag. This approach isn’t quite so successful with globs of candle wax, however.

For candle wax on wood, I like the ironing method. Lay several sheets of newspaper on the spot, and turn your iron to low. Slowly and carefully melt the wax into the paper. When you finally get down to table level, try the crayon method to get rid of any remaining residual wax. A second method is re-melting the wax using your hair dryer. Do not use your hottest setting! Medium to low heat works best. As the wax melts, absorb it with any disposable material, always using a clean spot in the paper or cloth.

What about wax in the carpet? Well, first gently pick up or break off any bits you can. Using an ice cube helps with that process. Then you can use the same ironing method as with the wax on the table. Any residual stain often comes up if you dust it with baking soda and let it sit for 24 hours. Vacuum this up afterward. Note, it sometimes helps to place paper on the opposite side of the carpet too – this way if any wax melts through, it’s absorbed rather than getting stuck on the floor below. This double-layer method (above and below) works for wax stuck on fabric too.

Now, what if you blow out a candle and it spatters on the wall? In this case the hair dryer method seems to work best. If the wall still seems stained, try cleaning it with a little glass cleaner or vinegar. You may need to touch up the paint, nonetheless.

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