Tips On How To Clean Candle Jars Easily

Do you belong to the candle lovers team? The truth is that candles create a cosy atmosphere, plus they’re a great way to decorate your living room. But what about all these empty candle jars after burning down the candles? It’s such a pity to throw them away, right? But, instead of throwing them away, you can clean them off wax and reuse them.

Small colourful candles

Empty jars can be used for many other purposes in the kitchen, the bathroom or home office. However, you may not know that you can recycle the old wax and make new candles from scratch. Amazing? Now, cleaning them isn’t as difficult as you may feel it is. With the right tips, you can get wax-free jars. Ready to find out how to clean candle jars easily?

How to clean candle jars of wax

Well, thankfully, there are many tips to remove candle wax from a container so you can use it for another purpose. But, before we start, there are some things you need to know and keep in mind throughout the process.

  1. Apply the below methods only if there’s about 1 cm of wax left in the jar. Otherwise, if it’s less than 1 cm, you may damage the jar or even the surface you’re working on.
  2. Don’t pour any melted wax into your sink, as it will clog the drains.
  3. Don’t use the microwave if there are any metal elements on the jar. Metal in the microwave can cause a fire.
  4. Don’t overheat the glass. And if you do so, always wear an oven mitt or use a towel to touch it.

Ready to see some of the ways to get rid of wax?

1. Using boiling water

Hot water is an effective way to old candle wax out of jars. Water’s high temperature will melt the wax, and you’ll be able to empty the jar.

A pot with boiling water on an electric hob

Needed materials:

  • A towel or newspaper
  • A butter knife or a spoon
  • Boiling water
  • A strainer

Steps to follow:

  1. Lay a towel or newspaper on a table or countertop and place the jar on top.
  2. Get your knife or spoon and try to remove as much wax as possible.
  3. Then, pour water into the jar. If you’re dealing with soft wax like soy wax, use hot water instead of boiling. As soon as the water comes into contact with the wax, it will make it float to the top.
  4. Allow the water to cool down.
  5. Next, remove the floating wax and, using a strainer, strain the water. That will clean the jar from any small wax pieces as well.
  6. Finally, using your knife again, scrape any wax left stuck in the jar.

IMPORTANT: Don’t pour any melted wax down the drain as it’ll clog.

2. In the freezer

You probably know, especially if you have ever tried to get wax out of clothes or carpets, that cold hardens and shrinks wax. Therefore, freezing wax is a smart trick to clean jars.

Needed materials:

  • A freezer
  • A butter knife, fork or a spoon

Steps to follow:

  1. Place the candle jar into the freezer. You can leave it from 2-4 hours up to overnight.
  2. Remove the jar from the freezer and shake it. Wax should normally pop out of the jar.
  3. If there is wax residue or if you want to break up any large pieces, use a knife, fork, or spoon.

3. In the oven

It’s a very handy method, especially if you have many used candle jars to clean.

silver electric oven in the kitchen

Needed materials:

  • A blunt knife
  • Your oven
  • A rimmed baking pan
  • Aluminium foil or baking paper
  • A towel
  • Some paper towels

Steps to follow:

  1. Begin the process by scraping as much wax as possible with the knife.
  2. Turn the oven on and set the temperature at 180 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, line up the pan with aluminium foil or a baking sheet and place the jars upside down.
  4. Then, put the pan in the oven and wait for the wax to melt. It will take about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the wax melts, remove the pan from the oven and place it on a heat-safe surface.
  6. Afterwards, hold each jar at a time, using a towel or an oven mitt, and wipe the inside with some kitchen paper. You don’t have to scrape the wax, as it will have drained onto the pan.

4. Create a double boiler

This method is similar to melting chocolate. Have you ever tried it? The steam of the simmering water melts the chocolate slowly without burning it. You can try doing the same to get wax out of a jar. This method is great for soft wax, like soy wax, due to the low melting point.

Burning candle in a glass jar next to a notebook and succulent on wooden background

Needed materials:

  • A spoon
  • A pot or large metal bowl
  • Water

Steps to follow:

  1. Prior to everything is to remove some of the wax using a spoon.
  2. Next, place the jar into a pot or metal bowl and pour some water you have first boiled. Just be sure that the water doesn’t get into the candle container.
  3. Allow the jar to sit in the water and give some time for it to start softening.
  4. Once the wax softens, remove the jar from the water with a towel and loosen the wax.

5. In the microwave

You can also remove wax from glass candle jars using your microwave oven. It’s probably one of the fastest methods as it only takes a few minutes to melt the wax and clean the jars.

Needed materials:

  • Water
  • A spoon or a blunt knife

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill the candle container with water and place it into the microwave.
  2. Turn the oven on. Wait for a minute and a half up to two minutes for the wax to melt. As the wax melts, it will rise above the water.
  3. Get the jar out of the oven and wait for it to cool to room temperature.
  4. Then, hold the jar upside down and, using a knife, pop the wax out.

IMPORTANT: Avoid this method if the jar has any metal elements. Metal in a microwave oven can pose a fire hazard.

6. Using a hairdryer or a heat gun

If you are a DIY-er, you can use your heat gun to remove wax. But even if you don’t have a heat gun, you can still apply this technique using your hairdryer. This method is almost the same as removing labels from jars. Whatever it’s more convenient.

A black hair dryer mounted on a stone wall

Needed materials:

  • A heat gun or hairdryer
  • An oven mitt
  • A knife

Steps to follow:

  1. Put on the mitt and hold the jar.
  2. Turn on your heating device and heat the old wax from the sides and the bottom of the jar.
  3. Wax will start to feel soft in a while. Turn off the heat gun and, using your knife, remove the wax from the jar.

How to remove a whole candle from candle jars

Removing a whole candle from a jar is somehow the same as removing the remaining wax after burning down the candle. However, most of the methods are a bit tricky. Thus, you need to be careful not to create a mess, and you end up removing wax leftovers stuck on your table.

The safest way to remove a whole candle and avoid all the mess is by freezing it.

  1. Place your candle jar into the freezer and allow it for a couple of hours to freeze.
  2. Get it out, and turn the vessel upside down. Probably, the wax will fall out without any scraping. However, if it doesn’t fall, tap the bottom of the jar to loosen it.

How to clean out candle jars

After removing the old wax from the jars, you’ll have to clean them if you want to use them again. A way to do this is to use dish soap and warm water unless the candle holder has a metallic finish. Soapy water might remove part of the finish making the jar useless.

Lit candle in a glass jar next to purple and flowers

Most of the time, a damp paper towel will be enough to clean any leftover wax. However, if you feel that just plain water can’t clean the amount of wax left on the inside of the jar, you can try using vinegar. Dip a cotton ball in vinegar and wipe the inside of the jar. So simple!

Removing labels and stickers 

But, besides removing the wax, you might also want to remove any labels from the old candle jars. We have two effective ways to help you reuse candle jars free of stickers. But, you can also check our article about how to remove sticker residue for more details.

Using water

A trustworthy method is to fill a bowl or a basin with water and let your jar soak for 20-30 minutes, or until you manage to peel the labels off. But, you can try a much faster way.

  1. Fill a saucepan with water and add a pinch of baking soda and some dish soap.
  2. Put the jar in and turn on the cooktop.
  3. Wait for the water to warm up a bit.
  4. After a few minutes, the label will start to peel off.

Using rubbing alcohol

You might find yourself using rubbing alcohol in many tasks around the house. A couple of its uses is to get chewing gum or nail polish out of clothes. It’s also a great and effective way to remove adhesives. Dab some alcohol on a cloth and rub the label. After a while, it comes off pretty easy.

Lit colourful candles in jars

Cleaning the jars of the remaining wax isn’t so tricky as it might sound. In most methods, high temperature and a knife are the key tools to removing the candles. Clean your favourite jars to repurpose for other craft projects. You can use them, for example, to store your bath salts or potpourri. There are many things you can do with them. Follow the steps below to clean them, and we can promise you that they won’t go to waste! You’ll find many ways of reusing them!


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