If you have a candle that came in a nice jar, you probably found yourself wanting to clean it out and reuse the jar for storage or decoration. However, you might have found that it was harder to get out all the wax and residue than you thought.
Wax can be stubborn, and smoke residue can normally be found on any used candle. You don’t want wax residue all over your trinkets or whatever else you decided to store in your candle jar.
- The best candle making jars at home
- Number of Jars: 24
Personally, I regularly buy candles with interesting jars that I can reuse. I wasn’t always successful in cleaning them out until I read up on how to clean them properly. Keeping things out of the local dump is also important to me. Read on to learn all about how to clean candle jars and some great ideas to reuse your candle tins and help save them from the landfill.
What You Need to Clean Your Candle Jars
To start, here’s a quick list of everything you’d need to try all the cleaning methods on this list. You might not need all of them if a simpler method like popping out the wax after putting it in the freezer works.
- A freezer
- Hot Water
- Dull butter knife or spoon
- Paper towels
- Dish soap
- Razor or similar scraping tool that will work for glass
- Baking sheet or cookie tray
- Foil to line the pan
- Baking soda
These materials won’t be needed for all methods. Freezing a candle to remove small amounts of wax is best if you’ve used the whole candle. If you’ve got more wax left or your jar has a narrow opening then you will need a knife or spoon to break up the wax if you want to freeze it out.
If your candle tunneled (burned down where there was lots of wax left on the sides) you may want to try a melting method since it might come out easier. If you have lots of candles to clean or votive holders, then baking them at a very low temperature in the oven can help clean them up with minimal fuss.
Once you have it cleaned, soap and water might get any remaining wax residue or smoke deposits. If that isn’t enough, hot water on a paper towel can loosen the wax, and vinegar on a paper towel can help remove smoke residue.
You can also use a razor or other glass scraper that will fit in your candle jar to gently scrape off the residue. You can use a blowdryer on medium to help soften stubborn wax if scraping it off is difficult. Just be careful not to scratch your glass.
Please note that using very hot water or a freezer does run a risk of breaking more delicate glass or ceramic by thermal shock. If you’re concerned, get your jar close to the temperature you will remove the wax at. For the freezer, put it in the fridge for half an hour then move it to the freezer.
For using hot water, use a hairdryer or add warm but not hot water to the candle jar. You can also pour in boiling water right after you burn the candle for the last time. Just make sure you aren’t changing the temperature too drastically.
If you are really concerned about the jar breaking, you can use gentler methods like a hairdryer combined with lots of scraping and washing with hot (not boiling) water in order to remove wax. This may take more time, but it should keep delicate glass intact.
Also, if your jar has a coating, be wary of abrasives like alcohol or baking soda. They can damage the finish. Plain glass jars are the simplest to clean.
Both of the methods I’m recommending will let you save wax to reuse in more candles if you like. Just be sure you don’t add conflicting scents together if you are using scented candle wax. You can melt the wax and pour it into a clean jar with new wicks to have a whole new candle to use.
How to Clean Out You Candle Jar – Freezer Method
Step 1. Put Candle in the Freezer
This step is simple. Pop your candle into the freezer for 30 mins to 4 hours. You want your wax and jar to be completely chilled and hard. Don’t put your candle in the freezer if it is still hot! The sudden temperature shift can cause your glass to break.
Step 2. Use a Butter Knife to Loosen the Wax
Use a dull butter knife to pry the wax out. If you’re lucky, it can come out in one big piece. If not, use the butter knife to break up the wax and remove each piece. If your wax starts softening, feel free to put it back in the freezer.
Step 3. Remove the Labels
Once the wax is free, remove any labels and stickers. If you can’t peel them off or they leave a residue, try very hot water or glue removing products.
Step 4. Get Out the Remaining Wax
Once the wax is mostly out, you can use baking soda and dish soap with a bottle brush to get out the last bits of wax. If you still have wax residue, try white vinegar or using a blowdryer on medium or very hot water on a paper towel to soften the wax before using a razor or glass scraper to scrape off the residue.
After this, try washing it with soap again. If you know your jar has a coating that could be damaged, skip the baking soda and use very hot water and plenty of soap.
How to Clean Candle Jars – Boiling Water Method
Credit to Craftcore DIY & Sewing on YouTube for this great tutorial.
Step 1. Boil Your Water
Boil your water in a kettle or pot. A kettle gives you a bit more control over the water, but if you don’t have one, a pot works fine.
Step 2. Pour in Your Boiling Water
Pour your boiling water into the candle. Note that some jars can break from the sudden temperature shift. You can gently heat your jars with hot tap water or with a blowdryer to help avoid this. You may need to remove cooled wax and add more boiling water a few times if you have lots of wax left in your candle.
Step 3. Wait, then Remove the Cooled Wax
Wait for around 4 to 5 hours before removing the wax. If you wait less time, the wax may still be soft and come out in pieces. You can save this wax easily. If you still have wax in the jar, add more boiling water and wait until it is completely cool again.
Step 4. Remove the Wick Bases and Clean Your Jar
You can use a sturdy spoon or dull butter knife to remove the wick bases from your jar. Then wash with soap and water and remove any labels and stickers. Baking soda added along with soap can help scrub it out, or you can use alcohol or vinegar to help you clean.
What can I do with Empty Candle Jars?
You might be wondering what exactly you can use old candle jars for. The answer is many things! Here’s a quick list of ideas that will be expanded on in a bit.
- Save the wax and jar to make a new candle
- Use it to store things like cotton swabs or hair pins
- Turn your jar into a plant pot
- Hold pencils and other stationery items
- Use it as a vase for flowers
A few notes, some glass jars may not take well to being reused for another candle since the glass is cheap and fragile. Use these for storage jars or plant pots. If you make a plant pot, be sure you use a planting method that lets the water drain away from the roots.
Plant pots that don’t have good drainage can cause root rot. If you want a cute way to start cuttings in water, any candle jar should work great. For planting in soil, use brown or amber jars and have rocks on the bottom for drainage.
Taller jars are great for making vases out of or for tall items like pencils or brushes. Feel free to get creative. Just don’t use your candle jars for food or drinks.
If you don’t want to reuse your candle jars, you can recycle candle jars easily once they have been cleaned out. Once the wax and labels are removed, the jars can be recycled like any other container made of glass or whatever your candle jar is made out of. Check your local recycling center to find out how to recycle it properly.
Hopefully, you found this article helpful in learning how to clean and reuse your candle jars. If you’re anything like me, you really prefer to reuse any containers you can rather than toss them out. When they’re as pretty and useful as candle jars, it can really hurt to have to toss them out because you couldn’t clean it out fully.
I hope this helps you clean your candle jars and find all sorts of uses for them around the house. If you have any thoughts or want to share what worked for you or helpful tips, drop them in the comments. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family.