How To Get Surf Wax Out Of Clothes (In 5 Easy Steps)

Whether you get it on your board shorts or swim shirt, getting surfboard wax on your clothes is going to happen at some point. While it may seem impossible to get out, the good news is that I have learned a few tricks over the years (that also work with candle wax).

In this article, I’ll go over how to get surf wax out of clothes easily (and it doesn’t involve coconut oil!) This method has given me the best results whether I’m trying to remove cold water wax or warm water wax. If you’re in a hurry, here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Scrape excess wax off.
  2. Use an iron to remove residual wax.
  3. Spot treat with stain remover.
  4. Machine wash on “heavy soil” setting in hot water.
  5. Hang to dry.

If you want to read more about each step, use the table of contents below to jump to the section that you’re interested in.

how to get surf wax out of clothes featured image wax on clothing

How To Get Surf Wax Out Of Clothes (Step-By-Step)

If you’ve done any kind of research, you’ve probably noticed that there are many different ways to remove surfboard wax. From mineral spirits to white vinegar and harsh chemicals, it can be confusing.

In this step-by-step guide, I will go over what has worked best for me to treat the affected area.

Step 1: Scrape Cold Excess Wax Off

The first step is to scrap off any excess wax. If the wax is still warm, place it in the freezer for a few hours to make it easier to scrape off.

Once the wax is frozen, take the clothing out of the freezer and scrape off the excess hardened wax with a credit card, butter knife or the back of a spoon.

Step 2: Use an Iron To Remove Residual Wax

I know it seems counterintuitive to freeze and then heat the wax, but trust the process. Here’s what you want to do:

  1. Place a paper towel (or brown paper bag) on top of the wax stain as well as below it.
  2. Use the WARM to medium heat setting (not hot) iron to melt the wax, which will be absorbed by the paper towels. If you don’t have an iron you could also use a hair dryer.
  3. Repeat this process (using clean pieces of paper towel) until there is no more remaining wax residue.
use an iron to remove wax

Step 3: Spot Treat With an Oxygen-Based Stain Remover

Use a stain remover to spot treat the stain that has been left behind by the surf wax, allowing it to sit for at least an hour.

Step 4: Machine Wash on “Heavy Soil” Setting

Next, check your garments “care tag” to determine the temperature of the water to use for washing. Use the hottest water temperature allowed and the “heavy soil” setting, to wash your stained clothing.

Step 5: Hang To Dry

And lastly, it is a good idea to hang the piece of clothing to dry so that you can see if there are any remaining stains. You will not be able to see them when the garment is wet, and if you throw it in the dryer, the stains will be set.

If you can still see a stain, simply repeat these simple steps until it has been removed. Depending on the type of wax used (whether it is a soft wax or harder wax) and how long it has sat, it may take a few cycles to remove the stain completely.

hanging clothes to dry

Understanding the Problem

What is Surf Wax?

Surf wax is a sticky substance that surfers apply to the deck of the board to provide traction and grip. It is made from a mixture of paraffin wax, beeswax, and other ingredients that help it stick to the board and provide a grip for the surfer (similar to a traction pad).

Why is Surf Wax So Hard to Get Out of Clothes?

Surf wax is designed to be sticky and stay on the surfboard, which makes it difficult to remove from clothing. The wax can get embedded in the fibres of the fabric, making it hard to remove with just soap and water.

Additionally, surf wax is often applied to wet surfboards, which means it can be mixed with sand and other debris that can also get stuck in the fabric.

waxing a surfboard on the beach

What Happens if You Leave Surf Wax on Clothes?

If you leave surf wax on your clothes, you are going to have surf wax-covered clothes. I mean seriously, they will be stained and dirty.

The longer you leave surf wax on your clothes, the harder it will be to remove down the road.

Preventing Surf Wax Stains

With a few precautions, you can prevent these stains from happening in the first place. Here they are:

  1. Don’t over-wax your surfboard. Using the appropriate amount will mean that there’s less wax that can potentially get on your clothes.
  2. Using a wax comb, only wax your surfboard where it’s needed (aka where your feet go.) Use pickle wax remover (or some other method) to remove excess wax from your board. If you’re slathering wax all over your board there are more chances of it getting on you in the process.
  3. Lastly, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting stained. I know this isn’t a way to “prevent surf wax stains”, but if it’s going to happen, make sure it’s not on your favourite shirt!

How to Properly Store Surf Wax

One of the best ways to prevent surf wax stains is to store your surf wax properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Store your surf wax in a cool, dry place. Heat can cause the wax to melt and leak onto your clothes.
  • Keep your surf wax in a sealed container to prevent it from getting on your clothes.
  • Store your surf wax away from direct sunlight.
  • When travelling with surf wax, place it in a plastic bag to prevent it from leaking onto your clothes.

FAQs Related To “How to Get Surf Wax Out of Clothes”

How Do You Remove Surf Wax From Clothes?

One of the most effective ways to remove surf wax from clothes is to use an iron and a paper bag to remove excess wax. Then spot-treat with stain remover, wash on “heavy soil setting,” and hang to dry.

Can You Use a Hair Dryer to Remove Surf Wax From Clothes?

Yes, you can use a hair dryer (on high heat) to remove surf wax from your clothes. The heat will melt the wax, which can then be blotted away with a clean cloth or paper towel. Repeat as needed.

Does Vinegar Remove Surf Wax From Clothes?

Vinegar can help to remove surf wax from clothes but may not be as effective as other methods. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water, soak the stained area for 10 minutes and blot away the wax.

How Do You Get Surf Wax Off Of Polyester Clothes?

Start by using a plastic scraper to remove as much wax as possible. Then, use a solvent like rubbing alcohol to dissolve the remaining wax. Blot with a clean cloth and wash in hot water and detergent.

Can You Still Wear Clothes With Surf Wax Stains?

If the stain is small, you may still be able to wear the clothes. If it is larger or more noticeable, you may want to consider using the clothes for other activities, like gardening or painting.