Wax on... wax off
07 March 2013
One of the most frequently dealt with spots and stains around this time of year is candle wax with it often ending up on carpets,upholstery and even curtains. Paul Pearce, technical director of the NCCA tackles the issue of getting wax off
You might think that in this day and age we would be content with the electric light, but no,many people enjoy the warm glow from a lit candle and the aroma from specially prepared products.Of course we don't just use candles for light.Many are used for effect. Christmas time seems to bring them out.They are used to hide the meals put in front of us in some restaurants.Candles are also frequently used in aromatherapy, among other things.
However, the molten wax can create problems for the house owner, restaurateurs, aromatherapists and even the carpet cleaners of this world. In our trade we have many fibres to deal with, but the most problematic ones are the synthetic fibres, especially if your remedial method is going to be an iron and brown paper.This would be used after the wax has been broken down using a blunt instrument and vacuumed away.The trick here is to keep the iron and paper on the move at all times, ensuring it is just hot enough to only melt the wax and not the fibres.Do not use the flat of the iron either, just lift it up from the back and use the front 30mm. Once the wax has been removed you will need to rinse the grease residue away to ensure re-soiling does not occur.
Coloured waxes present more of a problem because when the wax has melted the dye or pigment is also released, which will permanently damage the item.My suggestion in this situation is to break up the wax with a blunt instrument like a spatula as much as possible and vacuum away.Then use a solvent, such as an odourless mineral, and apply sparingly. Special care is required if the carpet is of tufted construction as this will cause the secondary back to come away.As with the use of any dry solvents you would need to ensure the proper use of PPE and adequate ventilation. All open fires should be extinguished and fish tank oxygen pumps should also be turned off.Children, pets and indeed everyone else should keep out until the item is dry.
Candles can also present other problems. Although not necessarily recognised as dangerous in the quantities we see, they emit various toxins such as acetone, benzene, lead and even mercury.They can also leave dark shadows of soot on walls, ceilings and furniture.
Advise your clients that if they are using candles to keep the wicks short, as a long wick will obviously create a brighter candle, but will also produce more soot.