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How to Remove Dried Wax So You Can Reuse Your Favorite Candle Jars

There’s nothing quite like the scent of lavender or DIY soy candles burning in your bathroom after a stressful day. But, if you haven’t learned how to clean out candle jars, you might be racking your brain trying to come up with an easy way to get the wax out so you can keep your favorite jar. The good news is, with a few tips from the experts, you’ll learn how to clean out old candle jars in no time.

How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar

When it comes to figuring out how to get wax out of a candle jar, there are a few things you need to know before getting started. First, despite what you might have heard, do not ever put water in the bottom of your holder to try to keep the wax from sticking.

Amanda Ullmann, from Quick Candles, says the idea that water will help is a myth. “Putting water in the bottom of a holder to try to prevent wax from sticking will result in candlewicks getting wet and not burning properly,” she explains.

The amount of wax left in the holder helps determine how to clean candle wax out of jars. “If you have a small amount of wax left in your holder, you can pop the holder in the freezer after the wax has cooled,” says Ullmann.

After letting the holder sit in the freezer for about 30 minutes, the wax should shrink and pop right out, Ullmann says. This method also helps remove the base of the wick from the holder. If you are reusing the holder, let it warm back up to room temperature before its next use.

Another tip is to place the holder in the sink, fill the sink with some warm (not hot) water, and let the holder sit for a bit. Ullmann says this usually releases the wax at the bottom so you can easily pop it out.

If the sides of the jar have wax on them (also known as tunneling), Ullmann says freezing the jar may not get all the wax out. In this case, she recommends the following steps for how to clean candle wax out of jars:

  1. Get a small pot, and fill it about halfway with water.
  2. Put the pot on the stove, place your jar candle in the water, and use an extremely low heat to warm the water and soften the wax (enough to collect the wax at the bottom of the pot).
  3. After the wax has collected at the bottom, wait for the wax and jar to completely cool, and place the jar in the freezer. Once again, your wax should shrink and pop right out.

When determining how to get candle wax out of glass votive holders, cleaning expert Lily Cameron of Fantastic Services suggests this method:

  1. Place a foil-lined baking sheet on top of a pan.
  2. Turn the votives upside down, and place them on the foil.
  3. Put the pan covered with baking sheet in the oven, and set the oven to 200 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove.
  4. Using a hot pad, remove each of the votives.
  5. Wipe away the wax residue with a paper towel, and then wash with soapy water.

The tips we describe generally work for getting larger chunks of wax out of jars. But you might also be wondering: How do you remove candle wax from glass? While it is a bit more time consuming to get the last remnants of wax off of the glass, it’s not impossible.

Cameron says to follow these steps for removing candle wax remnants from glass:

  1. Using a sharp razor blade or a window scraper, gently scrape any larger chunks of wax from the surface.
  2. To remove any residue, moisten the glass using a sponge dampened in hot water. You want the wax to loosen before tackling it again with the scraper.
  3. To avoid leaving scratches on the surface or having the razor blade slip, loosen the wax using light movements.
  4. Continue to scrape until all wax debris is removed from the glass.

Ginger Whitson, owner of Love My Maids, says a blow-dryer set on medium can help soften up wax that’s on the glass, and then you can scrape it off with a razor blade. Dampening the wax with very hot water works well, too.

How to Clean Out Candle Jars

Once you get all the wax out, your next step is to figure out how to clean out a candle jar completely. To clean any smoky residue out of your holder, Ullmann says you should gently wipe your holder or jar with a damp cloth or paper towel.

You can use soap and water on plain clear glass, but if the holder has a metallic or colored finish, Ullmann warns that soap may remove part of the finish. So, when in doubt, a damp paper towel is your best option for how to clean a candle jar.

If you have some vinegar handy, Whitson recommends dipping a cotton ball in vinegar and cleaning the inside of the jar.

When it comes to learning how to empty candle jars and remove the wick, fill the glass candleholder with hot water, and let it sit. This will loosen up the wick enough to pull it out with your fingers, or you can use a dull butter knife to scrape it out.

If you’re searching for how to remove a whole candle from a jar, Ullmann says you might want to think twice about even trying.. “We don’t recommend removing a whole candle from a jar since jar candles are often meant to liquefy entirely,” she says. “If you remove the candle from its jar, you will have a giant mess of melted wax on your table,” she adds.

But if you’re determined to figure out how to remove a whole candle from a jar, Cameron says this method might be your best bet:

Place the jar inside your freezer.

Let it stay there for a couple of hours.

Take it out, and turn the jar upside down to get the wax out. If the candle is big, it should fall out by itself; if not, gently tap the bottom of the jar to loosen it.

Ullmann says her customers often share tips about how to clean a candle jar. One recent tip is to spray a little bit of cooking oil spray inside the holder. This may produce some residue on the glass if it’s clear; however, her customers swear by this trick.

This post was written by Sara Lindberg.

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