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Common Household Remedies Request

An idiot got a lot of candlewax onto my one piece of actually heirloom furniture, an old bookcase with glass doors that have leaded panes. Granted, it would be more use to me as kindling, but I have a sentimental attachment to it.

How the heck do I get candlewax off without destroying the finish?

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Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

The two methods for dealing with candle wax are opposites - heat and cold.

I generally use an ice pack on fabric, but a hair dryer on hard surfaces. Candle wax is still wax, so you spread any residue to polish the surface after you get rid of the lumps by softening them. Don't use the high setting, medium is as warm as you need, and don't just leave the heat on the point where the wax is. You want to warm the surface to avoid causing the wood or finish to expand unequally in one spot. Take your time.

Jay's picture
Submitted by Jay on

Paraffin melts at about 140ºF. You can scrape as much off as you can and use a (very) hot water scotch brute pad on the glass parts. Mineral spirits are also a solvent for paraffin, but you don't want to heat that obviously. Depending on the wood finish--varnish, oil, lacquer, you can scrape off as much as you can with a hard plastic scraper then scrub it with a dry scotch brite pad. Candle wax won't really hurt most finishes; when you're done you can spray on a wax finish which is aerosolized . . . paraffin . . . with some sort of evaporative surfactant or detergent. I don't know a lot about varnish. It's like plastic and difficult to restore, so I don't use it. Hot water turns varnish milky and soft. Lacquer dissolves with alcohol. Oil finishes respond well to mineral spirits and wax.