Wax can be found in numerous places around the home, from the candles that set the atmosphere to the finish on our wooden furniture pieces. Because of these multiple applications, the variety of wax products requires different methods of cleaning. For example, to remove waxy finish buildup from antique furniture, you need naphtha, a solvent similar to paint thinner. For spilled candle wax, however, you may need an application of acetone for proper cleanup. Knowing when and how to use these two products can protect your home from waxy stains.
Ventilate your work area by opening windows or activating exhaust fans. You may also choose to work in an outdoor area or a garage. Naphtha produces a strong odor.
Wear protective gloves when working with strong chemicals such as naphtha. Dampen a soft cloth with naphtha; use as little chemical as possible so as not to saturate the wood surface.
Lightly rub the naphtha onto the wooden surface to dissolve or remove waxy buildup. Apply more naphtha to the cloth as needed to cover the entire area.
Wipe down the area with a dry cloth to remove excess naphtha. If necessary, buff the area to remove any haze left behind by the cleaner. Continue applying until all waxy residue is removed.
Ventilate your work area by opening windows or activating exhaust fans. You may also choose to work in an outdoor area or a garage. Acetone produces a strong odor.
Saturate the spilled wax with acetone. On small spots, soak a soft cloth in the chemical and rub it directly onto the wax spot. Allow the acetone to sit on the surface for five minutes to soften the wax.
Remove loosened wax with a flat-edged scraper or scrub brush. If it will not harm the surface, scrubbing with #0000 steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper can also help to remove loosened wax.
Repeat acetone application and scrubbing until all wax is completely gone. Rinse the area with a rag dampened in clean water to remove residual acetone.