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 plant pot. However, you are left with a waxy, sooty mess in the jar 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
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
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 pop right out, without too much fuss.
If the candle wax is stubborn, then you can use a spoon or a butter knife to carefully prise the wax out.
If the wax won’t come out, then don’t risk injuring yourself. Just try another method.
Use Hot Water To Remove Candle Wax
Another method is to use hot water to remove any excess wax from your jar.
To do this, place your candle jar on a heatproof surface, and then add hot water to the jar – leaving around 2 centimetres of space at the top of the jar.
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.
To get the wax out, let the water cool completely. Then, use your fingers to remove 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 – something we want to avoid!
A word of warning – if your candle jar is not heatproof then this method can cause your jar to break. If you decide to try this technique then proceed with caution.
If you hear any suspicious 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.
The Soaking Method
For beeswax or soy-based candles, then another effective method for removing candle wax from your jar is the soaking method.
This method works best if you are not precious about keeping the label on your candle jar. This is because soaking it invariably means the label will come off.
To use this method, simply fill your sink with hot water, and place the candle 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 tin foil. Place the candle upside down on the dish and then pop it in the oven, for about 15 minutes or so 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 the wax.
Do see my notes on candle wax recycling below for more details on this.
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 melt down 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.
If after following all of these tips, you still can’t remove the wax from your candle jar, it’s worth knowing that The Recycled Candle Company will also take the wax in all types of containers. This includes glass. The company 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.