Wax is one of the oldest forms of textile resists. The most celebrated and historical waxes are the hot waxes: beeswax, paraffin and microcrystalline. These waxes may be used in long, cool, immersion dyebaths and in hand painting projects on all the natural fibres. They may be mixed to achieve either smooth lines or crackling effects. They are the strongest resists available. They must be heated to use and are removed from the cloth through ironing, boiling, or drycleaning. A newer option for hot wax is soy wax. While not as versatile as the original waxes, soy is sought after because of its ability to be removed by rinsing finished cloth with warm water and synthrapol.
Cold waxes like emulsified wax are water based and liquid at room temperature so heating is not required. They work best on silk fabrics or very light weight cotton, as they tend not to penetrate through to the backside of heavier cloth. Emulsified wax is for direct application only. Removal is easy with a warm water rinse.