Upholstery Upheaval Equalized

Wendy’s Blog

"Wax on" (ugh) "wax off" please!

Tis the season, another mishap reason to call for emergency upholstery cleaning!


Last time it was a Forth of July ‘cocktail flying candle conundrum’, this time it’s a New Year’s Eve parafin performance. Either way it’s an unwelcome worry for folks dealing with the impact. 

Frantic phone call came in on New Year's Day, and having calls forwarded to my phone we were standing by for clients' emergency calls.

wax on upholstery


Mid day a call comes in from Shamong. I answered the phone and I could hear the customer’s unrest about their New Year;s Eve upholstery mishap- “Wax On”, if I could summarize it!

The homeowner was explaining that they have candle wax on their upholstery, which hit a chair and an ottoman. Immediately he asked if we could get that out.

And from the moment I began discussing the situation I could tell my first words were reassuring. Explaining our experience, credentials and descriptions of other wax crises, he, and soon they dialed down the temperature of their anxiety.

I asked him to describe the situation as it played out.

And as he was recanting, he was complaining that he lost control fo the situation right after it happened. Frustrated, instead of letting the wax harden, he condoned whomever’s attempt to clean it with water. Thinking, and somewhat distraught, he worried the emergent attempt might have caused further damage. In a predicament, he worried it wouldn’t be reversible.

Right after, on New Year’s Day (when they called), he descibed the mishap and the frantic attempt to remove the wax. He revealed it was unsuccessful. He further said instead of picking up a rag they went on line, and then picked up the phone to call us. (Chances are they googled “upholstery cleaner near me”, and got us!)

Listening to their plight I brought their temperatures down almost immediately.

I explained, wax can be removed off upholstery and carpet, often successfully, WITH some caveats! Wax in and of itself can be melted off pretty easily. But depending on the composition of the candle, it may or may not leave lingering residual damage that penetrates the fiber surface. If it does it will cause a permanent stain!

I further expounded on the subject, that some times candles have oils and or dyes in them that can stain. Especially colored and scented candles, usually the ones preferred by homeowners who love to fill the house with a wonderful scent of the season. (I think our client said it was a “cabin candle”, probably meaning a woodsy, wintertime cozy scent.)

At this point the client’s wife was piping in, in the background. She revealed that it was a white candle. Regardless of the kind, or the scent, the main parts to the party are the type of fiber the wax hit, and oils or dyes in them that now have affixed on the fabric.  


As I spoke I sensed calmness, trust and optimism replacing anxiety and concern.

I hinted that reversal was quite possible. Being a white candle, there was probably less dye if any in the composition of the candle. And hopefully there would be little or no oils in it as well. So with those factors on our side I reiterated that we might be successful in reversing the impact of it on the upholstery.

In example, if we think back to our chemistry days- temperature, oil and water...

Just like carpet or even clothing, some resist oil based spills (exposures), while others are ‘olefic’ or oil loving and do not. For instance,polyester and olefin (both derivatives of oil and made from oil manufacturing processes), are oil loving. Like products attract!

So here, in a not so loving manner, these spills that are exposed to an oil based product and can become stains. And, hence they can be permament. 

As an opposite behavior of polyester and olefin, they are not water loving, and tend to better resist exposures to water based spills (In example, they are better resistant to common water based food & beverage spills, and things like urine.)

What this boils “up to”, some fabrics resist oil exposures better than others.

Therefore, with a little white light luck, in this case we might just squeak by and get the wax out and not have a residual stain left behind!

Making no promises for guaranteed reversal, I did say our fingers were crossed. I did say until Chris gets there, sees it and attempts ‘his magic’, the jury is still out.

Saying someone is always home, we told them we'd be out the following day.

Chris and Mark arrived, and were escorted right to the scene of the crime. At first glance it appears to be newer, sturdy fabric. (The house is brand new, and most things in it look brand new too.) Having said that, the chair and ottoman also look new. And being the case, it also probably has upholstery protection on it. This is a plus, as the protectant may be better able to resist a foreign stain migration exposure. 

A tweed and blended fabric, luck might be with us. The white candle was splattered but contained mostly on both the chair and the ottoman. Seeing this, it could be a blessing or a curse. Good in the “scentz” (lol, couldn’t help myself- lol) that it is a small area and easier to work with. But equally, bad in the sense that there might be higher concentrations of oil that would better impact the fiber causing a permanent stain (a permanent reminder of a temporary situation)!

Beginning with an inspection, Chris looks at the chair and ottoman.

He inspected the pieces to assess their overall integrity. In good shape he was happy to proceed the wax removal attempt. But just as Chris was heading outside to begin setting up our client diverted his attention with a question.

In the other room was a white sofa that had a pin point black mark on it. He asked Chris to look at it and to see whether he could also get that out. Saying he would try, Chris looked more closely and noticed a water ring mark. Pointing out the mark and questioning our client about the source of the ring, he informed Chris they had recently had it cleaned professionally. 

Surprised to see the water mark, our client asked what was that from. Chris gave him 2 scenarios, either they didn’t get the entire area cleaned up (now seeing it across 2 cushions and part of the back cusion), or it wicked back. By ‘wicked back,’  Chris means the cleaners got it off, but it reappeared. That is a possible situation that can occur in upholstery, or frankly carpet cleaning attempts as well. 

He next asked Chris if he could add that to the list to clean.

Understanding behaviors of fiber, Chris responded yes to Rich’s second request, but added that the jury was out on that too! Rich understood. 

Confidence level rises as Chris attempts wax removal procedures.

Going out to the truck he starts the cleaning machine, and cranks the temperature. Dialing it to “max” it will greatly help in softening the wax so it will rinse off. Temperature can be your friend or foe, but in this case it will be our friend. (Other times, like for instance in working with wool, high temperature can be disastrous. And hence, this is why working with an educated, experienced and certified technician is key! And Chris is well qualified in this department!)

Having the hunch the stars will line up for him (and them), Chris thinks it will be a 'right before their eyes' clean up miracle.

He did the wax removal first. The wax was no match for the ‘cranked’ temperature cleaning he did on the upholstery. The fabric cooperated and the wax rinsed off.  The ‘strike’ area did not apprear to leave any residual oil deposit either. To their delight, they were thrilled! (And to ours as well!) 

However, the proof in the pudding would be revealed once the fabric completely dries. Oil rings , or residual oil spots may be hidden while the fabric remains damp. So true success is determined once the fabric is dry. If there is no visible ring then, then we have complete success at that point!

wax on upholstery
Here is the wax spill on upholstery, before it was removed with professional cleaning

Already thrilled with round one, they await his magic with upholstery miracle round' 2!

Next Chris moved on to the white couch. Perhaps it’s good to hint here, “White is not always allright!”, (when it comes to upholstery, carpet, and even whie clothing). With things white, extra care is always needed. And extra luck is helpful too!

White stains easily. (And getting technical about it, white fiber has undyed surface area on it, which is ripe and available to be affected by foreign dye sources, i.e. common food, beverages, oils, soils, chemicals, anything having dyes in them inherently.)

Chris gently shampoos the cushions in question. The pin point spot and all the ring areas all come right out too!

Beaming with glee and relief, they were clearly was happy with the outcome! On the spot he tells Chris "You have a customer for life!"

Clearly the professionalism, guidance and expertise made a good impression. He, like thousands of others have experienced our work first hand. More often than not we do make a difference!

In closing, I think we’ve gained new happy clients who are now cheerleaders for our cause. Our client admitted he wants to share his experience and tell everyone about us, and we appreciate the gesture for sure. In fact, when I called to follow up he did tell me he posted a review on our site! That is a great compliment for which we are very grateful for.  

Chris, thank you. It was another job well done. And another happy customer!

Whenever an upholstery spill or disaster hits it’s always best to call a professional. Damage happens easily and fast (especially upholstery, like fine fabric) Faster you respond, better the chances for success! Contact Us Online. Or Call us