Updated: Jun 24
Your old candle jars don’t have to be wasted. You can clean them and repurpose them in your home!
Wasting as little as possible has always been part of my candle-loving journey. I started to learn about candle making by recycling old candles! Today I’d like to show you how to clean your old candle jars, so that you can repurpose them in your home.
Try the freezer method first
The freezer method works best for getting wax unstuck from your candle holders. I am adding it to this article for completeness’ sake, so that you know how easy it is to remove stuck wax from your candle holder, and clean the holder for next use. You can also try it with your candles jars, but I personally haven't had that much success with it for jars.
Simply put the candle holder with leftover wax into the freezer for 10 – 20 minutes. When you take it out, the wax will have shrunk and it will be easy to get the wax out. Sometimes, you need to give it a bit of a wiggle, or even a little push with a wooden chopstick, or plastic single-use cutlery (so that you don’t scratch your holder with a metal knife or another metal utensil).
To clean the holder, you can pour hot water over it and clean off remaining wax with a paper towel.
Use heat to clean old candle jars - Precautions first
To clean actual candle jars, I find it’s better to use heat. Please, be very careful with all of this. You are working with hot wax/water/glass. Always touch-test the jar before you fully grab it with your fingers. Use a cloth or oven mitten to protect your skin.
Keep in mind the properties of glass. Even though candle jars are quite resistant to heat, there is a limit to everything. Heat the jar up slowly and gradually. Do not put a hot jar in the freezer, or a cold jar in hot water.
Another important thing is that wax always solidifies at room temperature. Therefore, do not pour wax-infused water down the drain, or put wax-containing vessels or dishes in the dishwasher. The wax will clog your pipes.
Only use old pots and utensils when you are manipulating anything wax related. There is a chance that some wax will escape the containers and will end up in the water we are using to heat up the jar. And even though it is possible to wipe any extra wax off, it is never a 100% perfect job. You do not want to cook your food in a pot that contains tiny wax speckles.
I also strongly recommend to line your working space with sheets of baking/parchment paper. Even if you are very careful (and skillful), a couple of drops of wax are most likely to end up on your surfaces. Parchment paper protects the surface, plus you can use it to collect wax leftovers, if you wish to remelt and repour them!
Heat up your candle jar to melt wax leftovers
Now we have all the necessary precautions covered, we can get to the actual jar cleaning process. To clean your candle jars, you need to heat up the remaining wax so that it liquefies, and can be poured onto parchment paper (to be collected and thrown away, or recycled). I recommend you watch the whole video first, so that you have a better idea of what needs to be done.
You will need the following items:
- Old pot
- Baking/parchment paper
- Oven mittens or old cloth to pick up hot jar with
- Paper towel
- (Wood chopstick or skewer to encourage potential wax leftovers to slide down to the bottom of the jar)
1. Take an old pot. You will use it to create a water bath in which you will put the old candle jar.
2. Fill it with a few centimeters of water and put on the stove.
3. Place candle jar into the water bath.
4. Switch the stove on to medium heat. Let water (with the candle jar in it) warm up gradually.
5. While wax is heating and liquefying, prepare a sheet of parchment paper next to your pot. Fold it once to create a thicker layer.
6. When wax in the jar has liquefied, use oven mittens or a cloth to very carefully pick the candle jar.
7. Pour the remaining, now liquefied, wax onto the parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper is horizontal and flat, and a large enough surface, so that the liquid wax does not run off the paper.
8. Wipe the still hot candle jar with paper towels until the desired level of cleanness.