I need to know how to get wax off of my dress. I need it for a wedding. It's just a small little bit of wax. Please help.
By Emily from Grindrod, BC
Knowing the type/exact content of the fabric is critical.
In my opinion/ experience, it first takes knowledge of material, ironing, heat. The temperature used depends upon the fabric content, is sometimes, but not often. All that is required, but also often leaves a tiny visible residue you must determine, according to the location on the garment, if you can live with it, cover it up with a jacket, or jewelry/scarf, etc. The entire process is a risk.
*Note: My rule of thumb is "if it's now ruined and unwearable anyway, what do I have to lose by trying to discover the exact heat setting required AFTER knowing the EXACT fabric content, other than a little time and patience?"
If silk, rayon, acetate, satin, or wool, it's almost impossible to remove. If polyester, or nylon, you can use only a slight
amount of heat from a cooler/ lowest heat iron.
If 60% polyester/40% cotton blend, slightly warmer than all poly. If 80% poly/ 20% cotton, less heat than 60/40 blend. If linen, more heat can be used. If linen/ flax blend, a little more heat still. If mostly cotton, NOT knit/pile (corduroy or velveteen, or velvet) you can use still a little more heat than all of the above.
- If exotic recycled or "painted"/ blends of unknown synthetics, or "treated" fabrics, forget it. (This is what I call disposable, not even washable!)
If fabric is heavy cotton or denim, it's MUCH more difficult to remove.
If fabric is thin, gauzy, washable, it requires a MOST delicate touch, little handling/ practically NO rubbing at all.
It requires a skilled hand, no brushes unless a VERY soft toothbrush with a GENTLE and VERY light pressure/ slow motion, "trial and error" on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to:
1) Determine the exact heat setting that MIGHT work on the fabric
2) Heat adjustment to then use on an inconspicuous area, perhaps an inside pocket of same fabric OR deep
hem extra fabric (both with a tiny amount of the same or similar sort of wax applied to the "trial" area to see what temp is required to melt JUST THE WAX through to the folded paper towel on the underside which you have placed there PRIOR to the "trial," (see below*).
Once you have discovered the fabric content/ proper heat setting that will "melt/soften" the wax drip(s), without destroying the fabric, *place a new multi-folded square of paper toweling on the backside of the fabric behind the damaged spot(s) and do the exact same thing/technique on the original damage.
Finally, using still another new folded paper towel, use about a drop of Dawn dish detergent (undiluted) right on any residue/ as long as the fabric is washable, because you will then gently first rub the detergent into the residue with the end of your fingertip. If it does not seem to be removed, gently and slowly use a soft toothbrush until it seems to be gone.
Lastly, wash the garment to see if it is truly all removed, or "acceptably" removed.
WHEW! As you can see, it's a lot of trouble to try. The reason a dry cleaner charges so much AND makes the customer sign a waiver promising not to sue if it ruins a garment? Only YOU can make the decision as to the worth of your time, your garment, any or all of this advice is to you.
I do so hope this helps in some way. From an unprofessional senior, also the grand-daughter of a seamstress/, sewing factory-hard manual labor-working but now deceased grandmother-who truly knew ALL fabrics during the earliest days of VERY few synthetics, passing her knowledge on to me.
She learned all of this when women wore LOTS of layers of fabric of all sorts (often all at the same time), trim, lace, and dressed to the hilt, head to toe, petticoats/underwear to outer garment, fingertip to fingertip, bows and homemade buttons and trimming, making most of their own clothing before/ during and after the last Great Depression. They even made their own underwear, patterns, and learned to cut down old large clothing to fit their children.
They were so talented and skilled that they also made most of their underwear, lovely ball and wedding gowns, draperies, slip covers, linens, gloves, hats, handkerchiefs, scarves, tablecloths, place mats, belts, handbags, pillows/covers, upholstery, lamp shades, most everything EXCEPT nylon stockings, socks, shoes, and swimsuits, which were almost forbidden to wear during those days, considered MOST improper (another story).
Best of luck and God bless and help you. :)
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How do I get wax off of clothing?
I've had some success putting the clothing in the freezer for a few hours. The wax hardens, and you can sometimes scrape it off the fabric with a butter knife. Good luck. (06/07/2005)
I had wax on a good skirt. It was not clumps, but rather really deeply stained. I used Krud Kutter (you can find it with cleaners in hardware departments), and it worked. (07/19/2005)
I just spilled hot wax all over my favorite shirt and pants. I put them in boiling hot water and wah lah. It worked. Afterwards I just patted dry with an old towel. As far as staining goes, I can't help ya there, the shirt is tie-dyed and the pants are black. (01/10/2008)