A Sticky Situation

By DiAnne Crown

January 30, 2014 3 min read

Safely removing candle wax from a carpet or rug takes a few common household materials and a little patience. Here's how -- and how not -- to do it yourself.

Do this:

"Freeze it off," says Bruce Cumming, owner of Cumming's Carpet One Floor and Home. "Put a bag of ice cubes on top of the wax, let the wax get cold, then scrape it off with a blunt, plastic scraper." Since wax doesn't usually stain, he says, this may quickly solve the problem.

Or, suggests flooring professional Larry Scheide, use the iron method. Cut out a section of brown paper grocery bag without any stencils or printing (inks that could transfer to the carpet), and lay it over the wax. With the iron temperature set on low, iron the bag for a few seconds. As the wax melts and is absorbed into the bag, change or rotate the bag to a clean section and repeat until no more wax is transferred onto the bag.

Don't do this:

--Too much heat. Don't touch the iron directly to the carpet. A little heat for a few seconds at a time is good; too hot, from the wrong source or for too long can melt synthetic carpet fibers.

--Solvents. Solvents don't usually work, says Cumming. More importantly, they can separate carpet backing from the fibers.

--Patch it yourself. More serious wax spills that have melted the fibers need to be patched. This is usually a job for the professionals. Find a scrap saved from the original installed roll or a closet with matching carpet, and an installer may be able to fix it. Or, perhaps the installer can take a piece of carpet from a less visible area, such as under furniture, and put the damaged piece there. The color may even be a better match than using an unused remnant.

Wild card!

Good carpeting is an investment, and your installed carpet may have a warranty. Be sure to consult your warranty guide for instructions in the case of a wax spill, different type of stain or any other problem. Even if your limited and/or lifetime warranty provides for service, it will not apply without proper maintenance, says Cumming. This may include scheduled cleanings by a professional. "You can't clean a stain off dirt," he says. So, keep your records and receipts in case of a problem.

For more information, visit http://www.carpetone.com.

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