Wax + Carpet = A Domestic Skill I Never Thought I'd Need - 8/8/07
A film shoot we did in my house a couple weeks ago left an unfortunate byproduct in our livingroom carpet: candle wax. More specifically, RED candle wax. In a WHITE carpet. OK, used-to-be white carpet - now it's sort of light grayish-brown. We don't exactly take very good care of the rug in my house. Anyway, red wax was certainly not helping the overall aesthetic of the livingroom, so my roommates demanded that I clean it.

I can honestly say, if there's a question I've never spent even one second thinking about, it's how to get candle wax out of a carpet. It sounds like the kind of topic Martha Stewart would try to do an episode on, but her producers would tell her no, sorry, it's not widely appealing enough. Better do how to properly clean a gerbil cage without the use of water.

Thankfully, we have this thing called the internet, otherwise I have no idea how many phone calls I would have had to make to figure this out. I don't even think my mom knows, and she was the one who taught me how to clean gerbil cages.

The following suggestions came up for my priliminary search of "How To Get Wax Out Of Carpet":

- Use a scissors to cut the wax out of long carpet
- Use a fine toothed comb to pull the wax out of the carpet strands
- Use ice to freeze the wax, then chip it out with a putty knife
- Use a stronger-than-normal concentration of carpet cleaner to dissolve the wax out, then dye the carpet back to its original hue if the color changes

I tried these, except the first one (I don't think they were serious about that) and the last one (I didn't feel like putting that many chemicals into a house where flaming-basketball slam dunk contests have been known to break out). But the comb kept breaking, the putty knife was only getting like 40% of the wax out, and the ice was just making everything wet. I don't think you can freeze wax into any more solid at state than it is once its hardened into your carpet.

So back to the internet. Where I found my answer.

- Put an old cloth or a paper towel over the spill, get an iron, and iron the area until all the wax melts into to the cloth. Repeat with new cloths as necessary.

You have no idea how well this works. Within minutes the stain was gone, as was some of the dirt and old carpet cleaner the rug had accumulated over the years (decades?).

I'm now slightly embarrassed to say I know this esoteric piece of household cleaning folklore. But hey, now you know as well. And knowing is half the battle.

(I bet G.I. Joe doesn't know how to iron wax out of a carpet).



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