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How to Clean Out a Candle Jar: 5 Methods that Work

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Once you’ve reached the end of your candle, you have two options – throw it away, or re-use the container. If your favourite candle has reached its end, it seems wasteful to throw away the beautiful jar, especially if it was expensive. Try the methods below to remove the leftover wax and give the jar a second life.

When the wick reaches its end, you are often left with a waxy mess. It is possible to remove this wax and leave a clean, empty container that you can re-use for another candle, a vase, or a trinket. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this, and it’s quick and simple. Plus, it saves you buying a brand-new candle container, and is environmentally-friendly.

cleaning out a candle jar with ease

Here are five easy ways you can clean out a candle jar by removing the wax. As well as re-using the jars, consider recycling the old wax. You can use it to make a new candle.

Method 1: Freeze the wax

This is a super easy method. All it requires is a half empty freezer.

Wax will shrink and harden when it comes into contact with anything cold. Leave the candle in the freezer overnight. The ice will harden the wax enough for you to easily pop it out of the container.

If it doesn’t fall out easily, simple scrape it out of the jar using a butter knife or spoon. Once all of the wax has been removed, scrape off excess residue and clean the container with soap and water.

Method 2: Use boiling water

On the other hand, boiling water can also remove wax from a jar. This method works amazingly for wide-mouth candles. Be sure not to pour boiling water into a jar that still has wax in it. Scrape out as much of the wax as possible beforehand. Wax and glass heat and expand at different rates such that when the hot water is added, the glass could shatter.

Scrape out as much wax as you can using a butter knife or spoon before pouring boiling water into the container. Allow the water to melt the wax which will float to the top of the jar.

Let the water cool before removing the large chunks of wax and pouring out the water to get rid of the smaller bits of wax. Be careful not to block your sink with wax! Remove excess residue and clean the jar with soap and water ready to be re-used.

Different wax formulations will melt at different temperatures. If you’re using a candle with harder wax, it will take longer for the wax to soften.

Method 3: Use the oven

If you want to time-efficient and you have a bunch of jars to clean out, try using the oven.

Scrape out as much wax as possible with a butter knife or spoon. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and place tinfoil over a large oven tray. The foil will protect your oven tray, and makes it easier to clean up afterwards.

Place the candles upside down on the foil and pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the wax has melted. Keep a close eye on the jars throughout. You can even keep the oven door open if you prefer. Try to keep the candles apart from each other to allow the wax to melt freely and stop it from overflowing and covering your oven!

Remove the jars from the oven and place them on a heat-proof surface. Use a cloth or towel to remove the melted wax from the containers. Clean the now-empty candle jars with soap and water.

Method 4: Use a hair dryer

If you don’t want to use your oven, you can use a hair dryer instead. The principle is the same – the heat melts the wax so you can easily remove it from the jar.

Blast the wax with hot air from the hair dryer until it melts, and carefully scrape out the melted wax onto foil. Once the wax has cooled, you can save it to re-use in a new candle, or throw it away.

Clean your jars with soap and water ready to be used once again.

Method 5: Use a double boiler

This method works well with soy-based candles, or waxes that have a lower melting point.

As with any of the other methods, remove as much wax as you can using a butter knife or spoon. Place the container inside a large pan or bowl on a heat-proof surface. Pour boiling water into the pan or bowl so it surrounds the candle. Make sure the water doesn’t go into the jar itself.

Let the candle sit in the until the wax melts, before scraping out the wax. Do not take the jar out of the water until you’ve removed all of the wax. Instead, hold the jar with one hand, and use a knife or spoon with the other.

If you’re not sure whether the wax is soft enough, lightly press it with your finger to see if it leaves a dent. This indicates that the wax is ready to be removed.

After taking out all of the wax, wash the jar with soap and water and it’s ready for a second life.

Now you know how to clean out a candle jar after it has burnt out by removing the leftover wax. Try each one and see which method works best for you. Instead of washing the jars out with soap and water, you can use a dishwater if you prefer.

Re-using your candle jars is not only quick and easy, but also sustainable and great to reduce waste.