Save my pants!
April 28, 2009 11:04 AM   Subscribe

StainFilter: So, I've seen plenty of questions about getting wax off clothing, but what about the dark stain it leaves behind?

I recently had an incident involving candle wax and my favorite pair of khaki pants. I immediately threw the pants into the freezer and the wax came off easily, but I haven't been so lucky with the dark, blotchy stain – what I can only assume is residual from the dirty, oily wax.

I've washed the pants multiple times, pre-treating with Spray 'N' Wash and things like that. I'm wondering if there's any methods and/or chemical treatments I can use to get rid of the stain (or at least fade it slowly over multiple washes)?

Thanks in advance!
posted by kmtiszen to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would think the "put a paper towel on top of the stain and iron it to melt the wax which is then absorbed by the paper towel" trick would work better than freezing. Wouldn't you just be pulling off the wax on top of the fabric (and not the wax that has been absorbed) when you freeze it?
posted by Grither at 11:09 AM on April 28, 2009

It's essentially a grease stain. I'd saturate the stain with Dawn dishwashing liquid (it has to be Dawn) and let it sit for about eight minutes, then wash it in the washing machine.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:16 AM on April 28, 2009

Might try the iron-out method, where you use paper towels and a hot iron to let the wax melt and absorb into the paper towel. Or you'll have to look at solvents, there's one here called Un-Du Candle Wax Remover.
posted by lizbunny at 11:18 AM on April 28, 2009

One of those sprays, the ones that have a solvent, start wet and dry powdery white (like k2r), will remove oil. It's the only thing I've ever found that really works on oily stains. Then wash to get the powder out. Or take it to a dry cleaner and they'll do it for you.
posted by tula at 11:19 AM on April 28, 2009

you could try pouring some steaming hot water from the back side, then blot off with paper towel. I'll second that its basically a grease stain. I got wax out of some bed sheets with lots of hot hot water and rinses with white vinegar (which is really good at degreasing). Denatured alcohol might be a good solvent to try out also, but test a spot.
posted by midwestguy at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2009

One thing to keep in mind, since you're working with khaki-- many khaki dyes are very easy to degrade or discolor. Work with the gentlest options first. Don't go straight to powerful solvents with this one.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:45 PM on April 28, 2009

I don't know what kind of solvents you have on hand, but here is some information on wax solubility:
  • "[Paraffin] is ... soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters."
  • "[Bees] wax can be dissolved in turpentine."
  • Wax Solubility

  • posted by gregr at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2009

    If you can find a Spray n' Wash Stain Stick, it's a gentle solution that may be enough. I have not yet found a single stain that doesn't come out with this stuff, although I haven't tested it yet on wax.
    posted by maudlin at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2009

    (D'oh! You mention using Spray n' Wash, but was that the spray or the stick? I've had lousy success with sprays, but the stick is amazing.)
    posted by maudlin at 1:31 PM on April 28, 2009

    Khakis will indeed discolor at the slightest provocation. I've even destroyed pairs just by pretreating! I'd try the iron-out method first.
    posted by goingonit at 2:17 PM on April 28, 2009

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