wax on wax off
August 26, 2009 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Help me remove my sticky, waxy mess PUH-LEAZE!

I wax my own eyebrows. It's awesome. However, I store the wax and pot in a dresser in our bathroom and must have, somehow, put it in sideways? Who knows, but a couple of days ago I opened up the drawer to get it out and the wax has officially spewed out onto the bottom of the drawer in a sticky pool of doom. It is, in some places a half an inch thick. Did I mention its sticky?

How, beyond throwing out the entire dresser, does one clean this up? I haven't attempted anything because, frankly, as soon as I get near it my hands turn into velcro and I start spreading the wax around the house and sticking to everything.

Help me! Please!
posted by janelikes to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Is the drawer small enough that you can put it in the freezer? Freezing the wax should stiffen it enough that you can scrape it off with a putty knife.
posted by leslies at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2009

Alternatively, you could heat it up with a hair dryer until it is manageable and then scoop the bulk of it up with something disposable, e.g. a lid from a used plastic container?
posted by halogen at 6:52 PM on August 26, 2009

Scrape most of it up with a palette knife (a thin metal knife of some sort) and put it into a container you can toss out, like a tin can.

The residue can be rubbed into unprimed wood. You can also take a sturdy cloth soaked with window cleaner or mineral spirits and pick up the last of the residue. A baby wipe might work, but it might be a bit too gentle.
posted by effluvia at 6:58 PM on August 26, 2009

Remove the drawer from the dresser and scrape as much as you possibly can, then liberally apply a coat of oil (run of the mill kitchen olive oil/canola/whatever) and then work the oil into the wax using a palette knife or butter knife. The oil will break down the wax, just as it does when you use oil to clean excess wax off skin.
posted by banannafish at 7:45 PM on August 26, 2009

Scrape most of it up. If you rub a little oil onto your hands before, it shouldn't want to stick to you, but use a disposable scraping tool. (Maybe a paint scraper?) Then, using a rag or towel you don't feel bad about throwing away, put your iron on a low setting and iron on top of the towel. The wax should get lifted up into the towel. This is how I got wax out of my carpet long ago.
posted by Mizu at 7:47 PM on August 26, 2009

Eucalyptus oil is usually great for removing sticky residue. Plus, it will clear up any sinus problems you have. ;)
posted by blu_stocking at 8:03 PM on August 26, 2009

What Mizu said about the iron.

If you want to make it "like new" you can try to dissolve any residue with something like acetone (where I'd start as it's the least hazardous), VM&P Naptha, or Toluene (these are getting into "some nasty shit" range and things like gloves, safety glasses and so forth are appropriate). Do this outside if you feel the need to go this far and know that any of these will pretty much destroy any finish on any piece of wood you own with casual ease.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:14 PM on August 26, 2009

Usage tip.
If wax should fall onto lashes, keep eyes closed. Apply a drop of petroleum jelly on area and remove with an eyebrow comb. Wipe with a moist tissue and then place a cotton swab at the corner of the eye to absorb residue.

But honestly... it sounds fucking tedious. I would just knock the bottom out, nail on a new piece of board and be done with it.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 6:02 AM on August 27, 2009

Sally Beauty has a product called . . . Wax Off. You can order it through their site or eBay.

I found this out when I covered my microwave in wax.

The site says Wax Off is for skin, but it'll dissolve the wax on anything.

I bet you could also find wax remover in a hardware store.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:37 AM on August 27, 2009

Seconding using a knife. The freezing thing is always helpful to keep the wax easy to manage, so because it's such a big area (e.g. you can't put the drawer in the freezer), try putting an ice pack on it. The colder wax should flake up in chunks.
posted by Madamina at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2009

Maybe you can try leaving the drawer (upside down) outside in the sun for a day. Let nature do the work!
posted by orme at 10:08 AM on August 27, 2009

Nothing worked! This drawer of horrors now has a towel over it (and subsequently stuck to it) and I'm planning on just tearing the bottom off next time we move and replacing it.
posted by janelikes at 7:35 AM on November 10, 2009

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