Updated: Oct 31, 2022
You can reuse your old candle jars and make them into beautiful tealight holders
Heart of Europe Candles is all about enjoying your candles in a sustainable way. As a small candle crafter, I know how important it is to be economical with my resources. I do my best to help my customers do the same.
For our local customers, I offer the service of returning and refilling their Heart of Europe Candle jars. Our customers can also return leftover wax from free-standing candles and get a 10% discount on their next order. I then filter the old wax and use it for small freebie candles that go out with orders. I am pleased to say that I’ve perfected this process and the recycled-wax candles look and burn as well as a brand new candle. It’s amazing!
But what about our customers who cannot return their jars in person and have them refilled? This blog post is just for you!
Golden festive candle holders
The festive Christmas season is quickly approaching and we will be selling beautiful Christmas candles in golden jars. I would love for you to enjoy these jars for longer than what one candle can give you! That is why I’m bringing you tips and instructions on how to clean your jar so that you can reuse it forever as a candle holder!
Please note that you can find a similar article on our blog called How to clean a candle jar, followed by a sequel called Alternative methods to clean old candle jars. Please refer to these articles for detailed instructions (they even include short videos). I will keep this blog post more general, talking about the principles of working with wax that will help you reach your goal.
Use mild heat to clean wax residue
Over the years, I’ve found that the easiest way to clean an old candle jar is to use mild heat. Here are the steps to follow:
1) Take an old pot that you are no longer planning to use. This is important as some wax could inadvertently end up in the pot and you would have to clean it very thoroughly. It is simply easier to dedicate an old pot to this purpose, especially if you’re planning to reuse old candle jars from more than just one candle. You will not mind if some wax residue remains in the pot.
2) Fill the pot with about 3 cm of lukewarm water from the tap. (If you need to clean a jar with a lot of wax left in it, fill the pot a bit higher, maybe 5 cm.)
3) Place it on the stove on mild heat and place the old candle into the lukewarm water. Let the water warm up gradually! It is important to heat the candle jar gradually to be safe! You do not want to expose the glass to sudden high heat and let it crack. Be patient!
4) After a while, the leftover wax will gradually melt into liquid. If this doesn’t happen after 10 minutes, feel free to increase the heat slightly. (Harder waxes like beeswax may require more time and/or higher temperature to melt down, whereas softer waxes like rapeseed will melt faster.)
5) Once the wax is liquified, use oven mittens and/or an extra cloth to take out the jar and pour the wax onto a pre-prepared sheet of parchment paper. Be very careful during this step, the glass jar may be quite hot at the point, as is the wax. Do not pour the melted wax down the drain as the drain could get clogged once the wax cools down! Read the above-mentioned blog posts for more details.
6) Still protecting your hands, use a copious amount of paper towels to wipe the empty jar clean. Et voilà! You’ve got yourself a new tealight holder!
Putting cleaned jars in the dishwasher
You can put the jars you’ve just cleaned using the above-described method in the dishwasher for an impeccable result. But not in any and every case! I’d recommend doing this only if your candle was made of soft vegetable wax, e.g. rapeseed, soy or coconut wax. These have a low melt point and the tiny layer (more perceivable as soft “smudges”) that may still be clinging to the wall of your jar will easily be washed away with the detergent and higher washing temperature in the dishwasher, just as your oily pots and pans are. I personally do not do this with beeswax because it is a harder wax that needs much higher temperatures to melt completely and be washed away. I only use the paper towel wipe method with beeswax, even though the end result is not as impeccable as with the dishwasher method.
Also, do not put jars with patterns or special finishes into the dishwasher. If your old candle jar has a frosted or matt finish, or if it has a pattern or lettering engraved, you risk destroying the finish by using the dishwasher, so be careful with that.
Safety of our waxes
The waxes we are using at Heart of Europe Candles (rapeseed and beeswax) are of natural origin. If a tiny amount gets onto your pot, or if the waxes are in contact with other dishware in the dishwasher, it is completely safe. But I still recommend you to use a dedicated old pot and old rags to do this.
Also, working with hot wax or glass does require patience and some practice. Protect your hands, cover the dedicated area with parchment paper, and use large amounts of paper towels to do the cleaning. The end result is still worth it!
Do the same to clean your candle holders!
If you’re struggling with cleaning your candle holders that were holding free-standing candles (or maybe a leaking tealight), try the following tricks:
The freezer method (perfect for beeswax) - 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).
Use warmth – As described in this article, warmth is your friend to help you melt wax and wipe it off. If you’re dealing with only a small amount or layer of wax, you can try using a heat gun or even a hair dryer (always put it on low setting) to warm the wax enough for it to be wiped off. If the holder is deeper and/or there is more wax left in it, use the warm water bath described above. You can also use a candle / mug warmer plate if you have one.
Dishwasher – Similarly to what I described above about candle jars, you can put your glass candle holders in the dishwasher for an impeccable end result. Do this only after you’ve cleaned them thoroughly with the warmth-and-wipe method. Even if you’ve cleared the holder of leftover wax with the freezer method, do wipe them clean before you put them in the dishwasher. You don’t want to run the risk of clogging your pipes with too much wax residue.
Enjoy candle jars as tealight holders!
Tealights can help you create an amazing evening atmosphere, just as well as a candle does. They are also a great way to add some extra flickering light once you’re burning a scented candle for its perfume. Remember, that even tealights should be put onto or into a holder. Now you’ve cleaned your old candle jars, you can keep enjoying them again and again!
Pro tip: You can also place larger pillar candles into a cleaned candle jar. They will still look beautiful (especially if your jar is transparent), and the jar will serve to not only protect your furniture but also to collect the leaking wax from the pillar. The wax will pool in the bottom of the jar, making your candle last longer! Use the same process(es) described above to re-clean and re-use the jar. Enjoy!
We are offering candle refills!
If you pick up your candles in person, you can get your candle jar refilled! (And yes, I will clean the jar for you.) Check out our Candle refill product for more information. You will find more information about candle refills and more, on our Zero Waste page!
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Enjoy your candles, and until next time!