September 5, 2019


There comes a time when you must accept the truth. With under an inch of wax left, your candle is finished. The worst thing you could do is throw it away. The best thing you can do is recycle or reuse the handy glass container. But how do you clean candle jars?

Deciding to clean candle jars is the first step. There are a few methods you can try. You need to decide which method is best for you. The options include;

  1. The Freezing Method
  2. The Baking Method
  3. The Hot Water Method
  4. The Hair Dryer Method

Click on a method to jump to it.


Using the Freezing Method to Clean Candle Jars

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The freezing method is one of the easiest and safest ways to clean candle jars. Take your old candle and place the entire container in your freezer, upright. Leave the candle in there overnight.

In the morning, take the candle from the freezer. Place a tea towel on a counter and turn the candle upside down onto it. The wax should fall out, if not, try to bang the base of the jar gently.

If you still have trouble getting the wax out, use a spoon or knife to nudge the corner of the wax, or break it up to fit through the container.

Finally, clean the used candle jar you have. Run it under some warm water. Add some soap to a sponge and give the glass a once over to remove any left over wax.

Why Does this Work?

Using the freezing method to clean candle jars works because of the cold. The cold air shrinks the candle wax, pulling it away from the edges of the jar. This makes it easier to remove.

The Freezing Method for cleaning candle jars was found at PartyLite

Using the Baking Method to Clean Candle Jars

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The baking method to clean candle jars is a little more difficult. Turn your oven on to 95°C. Take a baking tray and cover it completely in foil. Then place your old candles on the baking tray, upside down.

When the oven is ready, place the candles inside for about 15 minutes. Check on them after time has passed and the wax should have melted. If successful there should be a pool of wax on the baking tray.

Remove the tray from the oven with an oven glove. Then grab some paper towel and lift the candle jar from the tray using your gloved hand. Use the paper towel to wipe away any left over wax on the candle jar.

Run the jar under some warm water and wipe over with a soapy sponge. Place to one side to dry off. While the container is drying, allow the baking tray to cool and the wax to harden.

When the wax is hard, it may be possible to remove it cleanly from the foil and place in the bin (unless you are going to reuse candle wax). If this happens, then fold up the foil and place in the recycling bin.

Why does this work?

Candle wax starts to melt from 65°C and up. So setting the oven at 90° is high enough to melt the wax but not damage the container. This heat also expands the glass creating a gap between the wax and the glass.

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Using The Hot Water Method To Clean Candle Jars

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This option is a more challenging than most. Find some old coffee filters or similar fine filter sheets. Take the filter and cover the drain of your sink completely. With the drain covered you can add the plug for extra protection. This will help stop any remaining wax in your candle from entering the sewage system and growing to fat bergs.

Next, boil some water so you have enough to fill a cup. When the water has stopped bubbling, pour into the candle until it is half filled. After a minute or two you will notice the wax starting to melt away into small bubble shapes.

Pour the water into the sink and if you're lucky the wax will come right out. If not, try using a spoor or knife to knock the wax loose and break it up. If this does not work, try a second pour of boiling water and repeat.

The wax should come out in time. When the water in the sink has cooled a little, use a sieve or your hand to remove all the wax from the water. Place the solid wax into the bin and then release the plug from the sink.

Why does this work?

Similar to the oven method, this also uses heat to help melt the wax and expand the candle container.

The Hot Water Method was found at Better Home Guide

Using The Hair Dryer Method To Clean Candle Jars

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Another option in the heating family. Using your hair dryer, on the lowest setting. Direct the heat towards the sides of the candle container. Using an oven glove or tea towel to rotate the container. Try to apply an even heat to all sides of the container for about 5 minutes.

Place a paper towel on a flat surface and turn the used candle upside down over the towel. If the wax does not move instantly, try applying some heat to the bottom of the jar as well.

The wax should finally start to slide before falling out of the jar. If the top of the jar is narrow, use a spoon or knife to break the wax up into smaller pieces. This should help it fall out of the jar.

Why does this work?

Like the other heating methods, this one makes the container to expand. It creates a gap between the candle wax and the container allowing the wax to move.

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What to do After the Wax is out

When all the wax has been removed from the jar you might be left with the wick holder. Most of the time it will come away with some hot water. If not then use the hand-held side of a fork or spoon to nudge it off.

All that is left now is to clean the jar with some soap and sponge and remove the label. You should now be left with an empty and clean glass jar. Put this to one side and pull the plug on the sink.

What about the glass jar?

You have a couple of options with the glass jar. You could simply recycle it at any glass recycling location. You could even use the jar for some other storage such as spices, pens, paper clips, or anything you could imagine.

Discover how to reuse your glass jar with our guide.

Lastly, you could use the cleaned jar as the basis for a new jam, some tomato sauce, or try and make your own candle.

About the Author

I'm the Chief Candle Maker here at Penseth Company. I also write guides and updates for the blog.

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