Home luxury candles often come packed inside delightful, decorative candle jars or glasses that are a beautifully-designed treat for the eyes — not just the nose.
Tossing the lovely container after burning a candle can feel like a real shame when you could clean out the candle jar instead, reusing it for something else or keeping it to decorate a shelf or mantel.
On the Harlem Candle Company's Instagram account, we’ve featured several ideas on reusing and upcycling our candle glasses. For example, after cleaning out the jar you can repurpose your favorite candle as a:
- Drinking glass or cocktail glass
- Planter for small succulents or cacti
- Flower vase
- Pen and pencil holder
- Makeup brush holder
- Jar for spare change or keys
In this article and the short video below, we’ll show you how easy it is to safely get the leftover wax out of a used candle and clean out the candle jar.
HOW TO REMOVE CANDLE WAX & CLEAN CANDLE JARS
Removing candle wax and cleaning the glass is something you can do at home without requiring any special tools. The method we’ll be showing you today is the freezer method.
There are other ways to get wax out of an old candle jar, like melting it with a hair dryer or using boiling water, but we like freezing it because it’s safer and more convenient. All you need is the following:
- Butter knife or spoon
- Cooking oil
- Paper towel
- Dish soap
STEP 1: FREEZE THE JAR
Set your candle in the freezer and leave it alone for at least 3-5 hours (preferably overnight for best results). The colder the temperature is, the better.
Freezing the wax doesn’t just harden it — it causes the wax to shrink and loosen. When you’re done, you should be left with a large, frozen lump of wax at the bottom of the jar.
STEP 2: EXTRACT THE WAX
Using a spoon or butter knife, slowly and gently poke at the edges of the wax to loosen the frozen lump from its container.
If the wax remains stuck to the glass and refuses to loosen up, place the candle back in the freezer for another hour or two. Don’t worry about over freezing it!
Once you’ve loosened up the edges enough, the lump of wax should be ready to come out. If you have a pretty sizable chunk left over, turn the jar upside down and let gravity do it’s work.
You might need to give it a little shake, and if you’re lucky, the frozen wax will pop right out.
If it doesn’t come out right away, poke at the middle of the wax with your spoon or knife and try to pull or dig it out.
For any small pieces of wax that remain on the glass, use a spoon to gently scrape some of it off. If what’s left is thinner than a fingernail, you’ll be able to scrub it off in the next step.
Step 3: Wipe The Glass
Remove waxy residue by dipping part of your paper towel into some household cooking oil and wiping the inside of the candle jar.
The oil will help dissolve the remaining wax, which can then be wiped up by the paper towel. (If you still remember a bit of high school chemistry, wax dissolves in oil but not water because wax and oil are both nonpolar compounds)
Spend a few minutes wiping thoroughly until the inside of the glass looks smooth, then use a clean paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
For this step, any type of oil will work — canola oil, olive oil, melted coconut oil, and even baby oil. You can also substitute the paper towel with a clean cotton ball or pad as well.
Step 4: Clean & RINSE
Now that the hard part is done, all that’s left is to give your empty candle jar a good rinse.
Apply a bit of dish soap to a sponge and gently scrub the glass to get rid of any remaining oil. Rinse thoroughly and put it on your counter to dry.
And that’s it! Your beautiful, pristine candle jar has been cleaned and is ready to be reused, repurposed, or upcycled.
If you’d like to browse some guides or exciting ideas for repurposing used candle jars, stay tuned for our upcoming article.
We’d also love to feature any cool ideas that you come up with as well — let us know what you come up with by messaging or tagging @harlemcandlecompany on Instagram!