Do you have some old, wax-ridden candle jars that need recycling or reusing, but before you can do so you need to clean the waxy remnants out first?
Although it might seem like tedious work, removing wax from jars is a lot simpler than you might think!
Follow the step-by-step guide below and you’ll remove the pesky wax out of your candle jars in no time.
If you want to recycle or reuse your candle jars, the first thing you need to do is get rid of the old wax in the holder. You can do this by following one of the methods below.
Just keep these tips in mind:
- Take your time and be patient.
- Wear oven gloves to protect your hands.
- Use blunt tools to clean wax out of jars.
- Protect your workstation – pop newspapers/towels over the surface.
- Consider what type of jar you have to clean out, and pick a suitable method for the jar! Not all the methods below will work for every shape of candle jar.
How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar Using Hot Water
Be careful when pouring boiling water in or around thin glass jars. The intense heat could crack the fragile glass. If you’re concerned about damaging your candle jar, try another method on this list.
Method 1: Boiling water
Note: This method generally works well when you’re cleaning jars that have a wide top. If your candle jar is quite narrow, you should consider using another method.
Steps to follow:
- Cover your work station with newspaper, so you don’t spill water everywhere later on.
- Grab your wax-filled jar and start to slice/loosen the wax up with a blunt knife/spoon.
- You should make tiny tears in the wax so the boiling water can penetrate through them later on.
- Pop the kettle on.
- Pour boiling hot water from the kettle into the jar – don’t fill the jar up, you need to leave room for the wax to move around.
- The wax will melt in the jar.
- Leave the water in the jar to go cold.
- When the water is cold, you’ll notice that the melted wax will have solidified again. The significant difference is that the solid wax will be floating in the cold water, instead of clinging to the sides of the glass.
- Reach into the jar and pick up the wax.
- Remove the wick holder from the jar by poking it free with a dull knife/spoon – if the wick holder doesn’t move, pour boiling water over it and tease it free.
- Drain the jar.
- Wash the jar with washing up liquid and water to remove any remaining residue.
- Dry the jar when you’re done.
Method 2: Boiling water and a bowl
Steps to follow:
- Cover a flat workspace in some newspapers/towels.
- Pop a large bowl on the newspapers/towels.
- Put the candle jar inside the bowl. Make sure the jar is standing upright.
- Fill the bowl up with hot water. Just add enough water to the bowl, so the water level goes slightly above the level of wax in the candle jar. The water needs to be lower because you have to hold the jar later on with your hand, and you don’t want to scold yourself.
- Make sure you don’t fill the entire bowl up and flood the candle jar. If you do this, you must remove the excess water before you continue.
- Wait a few minutes while the wax melts.
- Test to see if the wax has melted enough by gently pressing your finger into the wax.
- If your finger makes a dent in the wax, you can start to remove the wax from the jar. If not, leave the jar in the water for longer.
- Hold the jar with one hand.
- With your other hand, grab a blunt knife/spoon and push it down in between the side of the glass jar and the outer edge of the wax.
- Do this multiple times and the wax will ease out of the jar.
- If there’s any remaining wax in the jar you can remove it using the blunt knife/spoon.
- Take the wick holder out of the jar.
- Wash the jar in washing up liquid and water.
- Dry the jar with a cloth when you’re finished.
Tip: If you use a big enough bowl, you can clean out multiple wax-ridden jars at once using this method.
How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar Using a Freezer
Note: This method is most suitable for candle jars that are quite small in size, and don’t contain a huge amount of wax.
Steps to follow:
- Grab your wax-filled jar and start to slice/loosen the wax up – particularly useful when you’re cleaning out jars with small openings.
- Using a blunt knife/spoon start to peel the wax away from the side of the jar, so you get a load of loose wax.
- Pop the jar inside the freezer.
- Leave the jar in the freezer until the wax freezes. This freezing action will shrink the wax, so it’ll pop out of the glass jar.
- Remove the jar from the freezer and press down on the wax.
- If the wax moves and dislodges itself from the jar, you can tip the wax upside down.
- The wax will fall out of the jar.
- You can also tease the wax out by gently tapping the jar on a hardened surface.
- If you’re having trouble, you can slide a blunt knife/spoon in between the glass and the wax, and gently wiggle the wax out of the holder.
- Remove the wick holder with the blunt knife/spoon, if it didn’t fall out by itself.
- Remove any lasting residue by scraping it off with the blunt knife/spoon, but don’t be too heavy handed.
- Wash the jar in some washing up liquid and water.
- Dry the jar with a cloth.
How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar Using an Oven
Note: If your candle jar is adorned with sequins, tassels or any painted decoration, you should avoid this method. The heat from the oven could cause serious damage to the jar.
Steps to follow:
- Fire up your oven and select a temperature of about 90°C.
- Allow the oven to heat up.
- Open a window to leave any overpowering scents out of the house.
- Cover an entire flat baking tray in foil. Make sure you wrap the side of the tray up as well because you don’t want the melted wax to run everywhere.
- Pop your candle jar upside down on the foil covered tray. If the jar in question has a lot of wax in it, you’d be better off melting this jar on its own in the oven. You don’t want your oven to be overrun with wax.
- Carefully place the baking tray and candle jar in the oven. You should adjust the racks in the oven to suit the height of the jar.
- Leave the jar in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- You must keep an eye on the jar during this time! You cannot leave the oven, jar and wax alone.
- Remove the tray and jar from the oven carefully, and place it on a heat resistant surface. Use oven gloves as the tray will be hot.
- Keep your oven gloves on, and carefully remove the glass jar from the baking tray.
- The melted wax will fall straight out of the jar and will be stuck to the foil on the tray.
- Clean the jar with soap and water and dry it.
- Scrunch up the foil and bin it.
- Wash the tray.
Tip: If you’re going to be using this method to remove wax from multiple jars at once, you need to use a deep baking tray. If you use a shallow tray there’s a chance that all the melted wax will fill the tray, and the wax may spill over the edges.
What Can You Do with Empty Candle Jars?
Candles are first and foremost there to smell nice and to scent a home. But candles also have another purpose… to decorate a house.
There are so many different shaped jars, holders and ornaments you can buy, it’s a shame to take them to a recycling centre, especially if the jars in question were expensive!
So, instead of binning your candle jars, here’s what you can do with them:
- Pop a new candle in the jar.
- Collect a load of empty, different shaped jars, pop them on a flat piece of wood, and create a table decoration out of them.
- Large jars make great pen pots.
- Use your empty jars as vases.
- Use tall jars to hold makeup brushes.
- Jars can be used as stationary organisers – paper clips, staples, and sharpeners.
- Small jars can be used to hold rings.
- Craft supplies can be popped into old candle jars.
- Pop your loose change in the jar and save your coppers up!
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!