What can you do to get wax off your vestments?

Most deacons know all too well that  the Easter candle is “fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees…”

The “melting wax” part can be a problem.

Over on Facebook, someone asked what you can do after Easter, when your alb is slathered in wax.

Here’s a handy tip I learned when I was an altar boy 40 years ago:

  1. Put cassock (or alb) on ironing board.
  2. Place brown paper (a lunch bag will do) over waxy part.
  3. Place hot iron over brown paper.
  4. Wax will melt and stick to paper.  Peel away.  Repeat as necessary.

Try it.  Your sacristan will love you.

Somebody on Facebook, btw, is also singing the praises of Wax Away.  Check it out.


  1. Dcn Carlos Garcia says:

    Did just that this morn except I used papertowels and it worked great!!! God Bless Happy Easter he is risen!!

  2. Dcn Mike Whelan says:

    I use paper towels too but make sure they are plain white and not coloured or you’ll have another problem!

    Many blessings this Easter.

  3. Apply ice and pick it off. Send it to the cleaners, and it will be fine! Happy Easter! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

  4. Notgiven says:

    Also, stick it in the freezer for a while. It will harden and then be easy to break off. Most, if not all, will respond to this treatment. Certainly saves a lot of effort (works for brass and other such things as well). After that, do as a comment above and send it to the cleaners. Just be sure to tell them what the stain is so that they can treat it properly.

    The brown paper bag trick works wonders, too. Be sure to put some of that paper bag under the alb as well. You don’t want wax going into your ironing board cover and have it transfer to other things later.

    God bless you for saving the sacristan some work! Ours had to handle all that stuff.

  5. I must be doing the brown paper and iron thing wrong, because my result is wax melting deeper into the fabric. Tried Wax Away this year to clean the Easter candle holder. Not great results. It isn’t made for metal, I suppose. Martha Stewart recommends mineral spirits, followed by an enzyme detergent washing. Again, can’t say it has worked for me. The next time I have to deal with this I plan on freezing the garment first, then gentle scraping — followed by gently ironing the fabric between upper and lower layers of white paper towels, followed by a gentle laundering in very hot water.

  6. Notgiven says:

    As far as metal is concerned, there is a product called Goo-Gone that takes the wax away. It’s still work, though. My best bet for metal (glass, too) is to put it in the freezer, then use the Goo Gone after you pop out the big pieces. When I had a very large metal Paschal Candle holder, I just broke it down into parts (remember how it goes back together, or draw yourself a sketch of the parts as you take it apart so you can reassemble it later quickly and without too much trouble). Stick each piece in the freezer for an hour or so. Most of the wax will pop out…but work fast before it comes to room temperature again. If that happens, back in the freezer it goes! I used to get stuff clean this way when folks told me it was impossible.

    I mainly used the iron and brown paper bag to get wax off the carpet. It really works there. And, if some of it goes in deeper, you will get most of it off and no one will see the rest. It’s a little different with vestments. I would just send them to the cleaners. They will work wonders. It’s worth the cost.

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