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Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

How To Remove Candle Wax From A Jar Easily

Never dispose of a candle jar again. Let me show you how to remove candle wax from its jar using four different techniques, so that you can recycle and reuse the jars over and over again.

So, you bought and burned your favourite candle and now you are left with a jar or candle holder that would be just the thing to reuse as another candle holder, trinket holder, or a plant pot? However, you’ve been left with a waxy, sooty mess that seems impossible to remove? Yup, I’ve been there too. Thankfully, it is easier and not as messy as you think to remove the residual candle wax from your jar. Let me show you four different methods that you can try at home today.

How To Remove Candle Wax From Its Jar – Four Ways

Image of three candles in glass jars with a blue text box that says how to remove candle wax from jars so you can reuse them.

First, of all – a note on safety. When you are trying to remove candle wax, it can be tempting to burn your candle as much as it will allow before self-extinguishing. This isn’t a great idea. The base of the jar can get very hot and cause your candle to explode. Burning it this far down can also damage the surface your candle is sitting on.

Instead, extinguish your candle when about one centimetre to half a centimetre (½ of an inch to ¼ of an inch if you prefer old school measurements) of wax remains. This will prevent your candle jar from overheating, and potentially shattering.

Now we’ve got the safety chat out of the way, here are the best ways I’ve found to remove leftover candle wax from its jar. You can use the quick links below to navigate to each section, or just keep scrolling:

Freeze The Candle

Use Hot Water

The Soaking Method

Warm The Candle In The Oven

Freeze The Candle

My preferred method to remove candle wax from a jar is to simply pop the whole thing in the freezer overnight. Yup, just put the candle jar upright in the freezer. This method shrinks the wax – no matter if the wax is plant-based or mineral-based – making it easy to remove. In the morning, you can just take the candle jar out of the freezer and turn it upside down. The leftover candle wax should just pop right out, without too much fuss.

If the candle wax is being stubborn, then you can use a spoon or a butter knife to carefully prise the wax out. If it won’t come out, then don’t risk injuring yourself. Just try another method.

Use Hot Water To Remove Candle Wax

If you can, use a spoon or butter knife to remove as much excess wax as possible. Place your candle jar on a heatproof surface, and then, depending on what your candle is made of, add hot water.

  • If your candle was made from beeswax or soy wax, then add hot water to the jar – leaving around 2 centimetres of space at the top of the jar.
  • If you candle was made from a mineral based wax, then add boiling water to the jar, again leaving around 2 centimetres of space at the top of the jar. This method can cause your jar to break so do if you decide to try this technique then proceed with caution. Take care when using boiling water as your candle jar may not be heatproof. If you hear any supicious cracking noises, then, using an oven glove, carefully pour out the water. If in any doubt about the integrity of your jar, or if it is made of thin glass, then do not use this method for candles made from mineral based wax.

No matter which method you try, after a short period, the hot water should have melted the candle wax. This should cause the majority of the wax to float to the surface of the container. Let the water cool completely before removing any large pieces of wax, and then strain the water into a bowl – not your sink. Using a mesh strainer, try to fish out as many small pieces of wax out of the water as possible, before discarding the water. This is because wax could block your sink.

The Soaking Method

For beeswax or soy-based candles, then another effective method for removing candle wax from your jar is the soaking method. If you are not precious about keeping the label on your candle jar – because it will come off – then using this method you just let the candle jar soak in hot water.

Simply fill your sink with hot water, and place the jar in the water for around half an hour or so. The heat should melt the residual candle wax, making it easy to scoop out with a spoon or butter knife.

Warm The Candle Jar In The Oven To Remove Wax

This method isn’t my favourite, as it’s a little messier than the others. However, if your candle wax is refusing to budge from its jar, then it’s a good technique to have up your sleeve.

Do note that this method is not suitable for candle jars with any decorations on them. This includes stickers, labels, sequins, or glitter. Only place plain glass jars in the oven.

If your jar is suitable, preheat your oven to 80°C/180°F, and line a rimmed baking dish with some tin foil. Place the candle upside down on the dish and then pop it in the oven, for about 15 minutes or until the wax melts. You’ll know when the wax melts because the wax will form a pool on the tin foil.

Once the wax has melted, remove the dish from the oven, and place it on a trivet or similar heat-safe surface. Then let your jar cool before cleaning it in warm soapy water. When the leftover wax has dried on the tin foil, simply peel it off the tin foil to reuse or recycle. Do see my notes on candle wax recycling below for more details on this.

Final Steps

No matter which method you employ to remove candle wax from your jar, your jar will need a good clean. A scrub in warm soapy water will help remove any residual wax and soot, leaving your jar ready for whatever purpose you have in mind.

How To Recycle Candle Wax

Once you have successfully been able to remove the leftover candle wax from your jar, don’t bin it. It’s a little-known fact that old candle wax can actually be recycled, even if you are not a candlemaker.

If you make your own candles, simply keep the wax scraps to meltdown for future candle-making crafting times. However, even if you don’t make your own candles, you can still recycle the old candle wax.

Companies like The Recycled Candle Company will take any type of old candle wax and melt it down to make new candles. The wax can be in any colour, scent, or size. And don’t worry if there is any debris in the wax. This can be removed during the refining process. And after following all of these tips, and you still can’t remove the wax from your candle jar, they will also take the wax in all types of containers. This includes glass. They will even take the aluminium sustainers from tealights, and these will be recycled too for zero waste.

If you are local to Devon, you can drop off your candle wax in person. Alternatively, you can save up your leftover candle wax, and post it to them. All the information you need is here.

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style, Special Occasions

How to Make Homemade Clay From Household Ingredients

Follow this easy recipe on how to make homemade clay, from just two common household ingredients – cornflour and bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). You can then use this to make beautiful homemade clay Christmas decorations.

Making decorations from air-drying clay is always a really fun activity, especially with kids. However, the packs of air-drying clay always come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. As such, I’ve been having a go at making my own homemade clay. It turns out this is easier and cheaper than you might think. In fact, it’s a really fun, plastic-free way of making clay, and for making beautiful zero-waste Christmas decorations.

If you’ve tried to make homemade clay from a cornflour and bicarbonate of soda recipe before, then you may have experienced some cracking. I have a clever tip below to help prevent this from happening, so keep reading!

Image of homemade clay stars strung up on Christmas garland

How To Make Homemade Clay

You Will Need

65 grams of cornflour (plus a little extra for dusting your work surface)

125 grams of bicarbonate of soda (this is also known as baking soda outside the UK)

180 ml water

Method

making homemade christmas decorations
  • In a saucepan, mix the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, and the water.
  • Next, gently heat the mixture on your hob. The consistency will first be that of a soft paste. Keep mixing it until it takes on the consistency of mashed potato.
  • Once you’ve reached the desired consistency (if you’re unsure, the mixture will start to pull away from the pan), then remove the pan from the heat immediately and leave to cool. You now have homemade clay!
  • Use the clay on a cornflour dusted work surface to create the shapes you require. If you are using cookie cutters to cut out shapes, then less complex shapes work best.
  • If you’re planning on hanging your shapes on your tree, or to create a garland, then use a skewer to poke a hole at this stage too.
  • Once you’ve cut out your shapes, leave them to air dry for one to two days. After two days, you can then bake them in oven for around 20 minutes or so at 80°C The cooking time depends on the size of your shapes, so keep a close eye on your creations.
  • Remove the decorations from the oven. They should have dried to a white clay texture. This can be left as it is, or you can paint them paint or marker pens.

Why Do You Air Dry And Then Bake?

It’s important to air dry your homemade clay first, before baking, as this type of clay is prone to cracking. Especially so if you dry them out quickly in the oven. Slowly drying the clay creations in the air, away from the sun and direct heat, before baking helps prevent cracking.

How To Make Homemade Clay Christmas Decorations

  • Follow the above recipe to make homemade clay.
  • Once cool, dust your work surface with cornflour, and spoon your homemade clay on to the cornflour dusted surface. Next, using a rolling pin, roll out the clay until it is around 5 mm thick.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut out your desired shapes. Again, simple shapes work best. At this stage, take a skewer, or similar, to make a hole, to allow you to hang up the decorations either on your tree or as part of a Christmas garland.
  • Finally, leave the shapes to air dry for 1 to two days. Once air dried, bake the shapes in the oven for around 20 minutes, turning halfway so that the clay evenly cooks. Again, if 20 minutes isn’t long enough, keep the shapes in the oven until the clay is no longer soft.

If you would like to incorporate some texture into your decorations, use a textured rolling pin, or use a piece of lace to press on a pattern.

How To Store Your Homemade Clay Decorations

If you are using your homemade clay to make Christmas decorations then it’s important to store them correctly, so that you can enjoy them year after year. We had a disaster the first year, when ours were stored incorrectly and became soft and mouldy, so do learn from our experience!

I find it’s best to store your clay decorations in an airtight Tupperware tub or glass jar. If you have any silica gel bags lying around from any items you have bought then you can add a silica gel bag to help absorb moisture. However, some silica gel can be poisonous, so do bear in mind that the gel is in there when you come to decorate the following Christmas – particularly if you have pets and/or kids. Alternatively, a tablespoon or two of dried rice in the tub will also do the trick.

More Crafty Ideas!

For more homemade Christmas decorations ideas, then I’ve got loads of great eco-friendly ideas for you.

Firstly, here’s how to dry orange slices to make stunning natural garlands. And if you’ve caught the natural garland bug, then here’s how to make a popcorn garland. Finally, here are even more stunning plastic-free and zero-waste Christmas decorations to make.

If you’re busy getting ready for Christmas then you can also check out my guide to having an eco-friendly Christmas. It’s bursting with festive ideas that are kind to the planet! From choosing an eco-friendly Christmas tree, to help finding eco-friendly gifts and wrapping paper. From tips on plant-based Christmas dinner ideas to tips on reducing your festive food waste, it’s all in there.

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Image of homemade clay stars on festive branches, with a blue text box that says how to make homemade clay using common household ingredients