Tiffany Bixler | 

3 Ways to Remove Wax from Old Candle Jars

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I’ll admit it; I’m a candle-hoarder. The space under my sink is stuffed with all kinds of candles — mostly those pretty smelling ones from Bath & Body Works.

Because candles can be ridiculously expensive — and I am a hoarder that hates to toss anything into the trash — I like to reuse my candle jars once they’ve burned to the bottom.

Unfortunately, candle wax is notoriously difficult to remove. That’s unless you use one of my easy wax removal methods! After you remove the wax, repurpose it!


Method 1: The freezer

Place your candle in the freezer. I recommend leaving it in there for a least one hour—but you can leave it in for longer. I’ve accidentally forgotten mine in there for a week! The wax will contract from the sides of the jar as it freezes. Once it’s completely frozen you can use a dull knife to stab the wax. It should break apart in chunks. Scrape out any leftover wax and dump it into the trash. Once the wax is all out, you can use vinegar, baby oil or orange solvent to remove any excess wax sticking to the inside of the jar. Peel off the label and wash the jar in warm soapy water to remove any remaining soot, glue or wax.


Method 2: Boiling water

Cut several slits into the hard wax. Pour boiling water into the jar, leaving a few inches of space on the top. Allow the water to sit for an hour. The wax will melt and float to the surface of the jar. Once it reaches the surface, it will start to harden again and it can easily be removed with your hand. Repeat this method one more time if you have any lingering wax on the bottom of the jar. Once you’ve removed all the wax, wipe the inside of the jar with a paper towel. Always use caution when pouring boiling water into glass. Thick glass is better for this method. Some thinner glasses might not be able to withstand the temperature of the boiling water and will shatter.


Method 3: Submersion

Place your candle into a bowl or pot. Pour boiling water into the pot or bowl until it almost reaches the top of the candle. You can put the pot on the stove if you want and turn the temperature on low. The warm water bath will cause the wax to melt. Once the wax melts, use oven mitts to dump it into an old soda pop can (or another type of disposable container) and allow it to harden before tossing it into the trash. Or if you are especially frugal, you can reuse the wax as desired.


A Note of Caution: Be very careful when heating the glass! Remove the jar as soon as the wax melts. You don’t want to overheat it and risk it shattering! And never let the jar touch the burner directly, which can also cause it to explode.


Creative uses for old candle jars

  • Store bathroom supplies like cotton balls or swabs in the jar.
  • Paint the outside of the jar and use it as a vase. (Check out our article Make Your Own Milk Glass)
  • Pour pet treats into the jar—which is a lot more attractive than the ugly cardboard box treats come in.
  • Store baking goods like baking powder and flour in old candle jars. You can even store your coffee this way, assuming your candle came with a lid, of course.
  • Fill the jar with crafting or sewing supplies like buttons, needles, thread, crayons and pencils.
  • Put candy in the old candle jar for a pretty way to store candy on the kitchen counter.

To remove labels from your jars, check out this article: Remove Stubborn Labels with Peanut Butter!

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