How to Remove Wax From Terry Towels

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Whether your favorite terry towel has had a run in with candle wax or a mishap with a crayon, you should be able to remove the wax and save the towel. Terry cloth is pretty tough stuff and wax is not as difficult to remove as some other stains. The tricky part is removing any dye the wax may leave behind, but a stain pretreatment, color-safe bleach and thorough examination before running the towel through the dryer should be enough to tackle this problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice in a plastic bag (optional)

  • Butter knife

  • Paper towels

  • Iron

  • Liquid laundry detergent

  • Regular or color-safe bleach

Step 1: Freeze It

If the wax still is liquid, place the towel in the freezer to harden it. You also may place some ice in a plastic bag and set it directly onto the wax. Skip this step if the wax already is hard.

Step 2: Scrape It

Use a butter knife to scrape away as many pieces and chunks of the wax as you can. You should be able to remove most of the wax this way.

Step 3: Iron It

Place the towel between two clean paper towels. Press the item with a warm iron, keeping the iron on the top towel. Some of the wax will transfer from the terry towel onto the paper towel. Replace the paper towels with fresh ones and repeat the process until no more wax transfers from the cloth towel to the paper towels.

Step 4: Treat It

Pretreat the stain. Pour a liquid laundry detergent onto the wax and let it soak in. Allow the towel to sit with the detergent on it for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Wash It

Wash the towel in warm water. Use bleach if the towel is white or a color-safe bleach alternative if it is not. Check the towel thoroughly before placing it in the dryer. If any color from the wax remains, wash the item again rather than drying it. When the wax stain is gone, you can safely dry the towel in the dryer.


Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.

View Work