Why I Iron My Dining Table (and Yes, You Should Too)

published Nov 4, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Meg Asby

Growing up, my family only ate dinner together on holidays. We bonded in plenty of other ways —  playing spades, frequenting yard sales, and watching classic sitcoms — but eating meals at the table was not one of them. So, of course, I became completely obsessed with family dinners as an adult. I think it was the novelty, or maybe I felt like I was tapping into my Brady Bunch roots (I grew up in a blended family of six kids, three boys and three girls). Whatever the reason, I became quite serious about dinner (just ask my college roommate!) — but there was just one problem. 

As a person whose knowledge of family dinner was acquired through television (kidding, mostly), I understood that candles and/or flowers were a required part of the experience. Since I’m not a fan of fresh flowers, candles became a constant at my table, and still are — which means that candle wax perpetually dots the wood surface. Ugh. 

Here’s what programs like Bewitched never show you: Samantha scraping candle wax off the table. (Though, now that I think about it, I suppose she just had to twitch her nose.) After scraping candle wax off my table for years, I finally bought a candle snuffer, thinking that would solve the problem. Wouldn’t eliminating the need to blow out the candles prevent wax from spewing across the table? It helped, but not enough.  

Hundreds of candles later, I found the one solution that works every single time to get the wax off: I iron my table. 

Credit: Meg Asby

Why (and How) I Iron My Dining Room Table

Here’s how it works: I place a napkin over the dried wax spots and set a warm iron on top of the napkin, just long enough for the melted wax to adhere to the fabric. The table is instantly cleared of wax, even in the tiny grooves of the surface, no scraping required. 

Credit: Meg Asby

I’ve never had any trouble with this method, but if you’re worried about wax in your washing machine, I’ve read that the iron trick works just as well with layered paper towels. You can also pop the cloth in the freezer and, once frozen, the wax should peel right off. 

If you don’t own an iron (team steamer forever), you can use a hair dryer to melt the wax and then scrape it off with a credit card or a butter knife if you do so very gently. Since scraping was the task I was trying to avoid in the first place, I’m sticking with my iron.

Credit: Meg Asby

Now that my kids are adolescents with busy activity schedules, dinners together don’t happen as frequently as I would like, but I don’t stress over it. Other than a mild obsession with family dinner, I turned out just fine. And when we do get to light candles together, I know that I won’t have to scrape (and potentially ruin) the table after dinner. And truth be told, ironing the wax away is almost as easy as a nose twitch. 

Have you tried ironing your table? Let us know how it went in the comments below!