Removing Wax From Fabric

Feb. 21, 2018

It has been a long, long time since I posted here. I am trying to get back into the groove of it. In this age of everyone living their lives via cell phone screens, it’s even more important to live a life filled with lush, sensory details. A lovely garden. Pretty items in your home that have meaning. Fresh, healthy food that has both taste and texture. Creating a better life, in spite of the current Administration, who believes that if you can’t afford to buy them, you deserve to die in the dirt.

Today’s post isn’t particularly lush, but it does offer tips for something I find necessary: removing wax from fabric.

I like to cover surfaces with fabrics for different colors and holidays. It brightens up a room and changes the mood to fit the season.

I also burn candles. Since I have cats, I’m careful to keep them in containers. I don’t want any burnt whiskers or tails. But, sometimes, glass holders shatter. Candles drip beyond their holders.

You can scrape off the wax, but that doesn’t get all of it.

If you put it in the washer and dryer, you can hurt your machines.

I learned this technique working in theatre, and it translates well to life. This works on cottons, cotton blends, some synthetic fabrics, most laces. Any delicate fabric should be tested first, or taken to a professional.

Items Needed:
–Ironing board or other flat, sturdy surface
–Iron
–Craft or butcher paper (thicker rather than thinner)

Technique:
Cover the surface with a large sheet of craft paper. Tape it down if necessary.

Cut a few smaller pieces of craft paper and keep them handy. They should be three or four times larger than the areas with wax on them.

Heat up the iron as a dry iron. No water in it. Turn the steam function OFF. Make sure the heat is compatible with the type of fabric with which you’re working. Not too hot, not too cold.

Place the fabric with wax on it face up on the large sheet of paper. Put one of the smaller pieces of paper on top of the waxy area.

Use the hot iron in swift, circular motions on the top sheet of paper.

You will see the wax seep into the paper. Each time you can see the seepage, quickly move the paper so there’s a clean area over the wax and run the iron over again. Make sure you move it before any wax gets on the iron itself. Keep it up until there’s no more seepage.

It’s important to keep the pressure on the iron light to medium, and to keep the iron moving. Do NOT press the iron down and hold it there. You’ll get the wax on your iron and can ruin it.

After (For Washable fabric only):
Once the bulk of the wax has been absorbed, there will still be what looks like a greasy residue on the fabric. If it’s a white or light cloth and a colored candle, there might be some dye residue left.

Pre-treat the area with Zout or (if the cloth is white) a Clorox bleach pen.

Wash as normal in your machine, or, with more delicate fabrics and laces, by hand in Woolite.

It might take more than one wash cycle to get out the residue, but enough wax will have been lifted off so it won’t hurt your machines.

If the fabric is non-washable, check with a dry cleaner.

Use iron cleaner on the iron, just to make sure there’s no residue left.

Throw out the craft paper.

Be careful with the iron and the fabric, and you’ll increase the life of both.

I hope this works for you.

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