How to Get Wax From a Candle Jar: 4 Ways That Actually Work

Need another reason to justify that pricey candle? Learn how to get wax from a candle jar and suddenly you have a statement piece of decor. After enjoying hours of burning time and making your home smell exceptionally great, turn that wax-clad container into a vase, a catchall, or even a cocktail glass. The removal methods below work on different types of candle wax, including paraffin, soy, or beeswax. You don’t need any special equipment or a ton of time—just a kitchen and some patience. Read on to find out how to get wax out of a candle jar once and for all.

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How do you get wax out of a candle?

Freeze it, melt it, place it in a double boiler, or the oven—here are four ways to remove old candle wax from pretty containers.

Method 1: Freeze the candle wax

Cold causes wax to harden and shrink, making it easier to remove, hence the old trick of using ice cubes to get wax out of carpets. Here’s how to put the same science to work for your candles.

Step 1: Break up large pieces of wax

Use a butter knife—or a spoon if your wax is soft—to break up any large chunks of wax that remain in the container if the jar has a narrow mouth.

Step 2: Place candle in freezer

Place the candle in the freezer for several hours or until it is frozen.

Step 3: Pop out wax

The wax should pop right out of the container, but you can also loosen it with a butter knife if necessary. Scrape off any residue and then clean the container with dish soap and water.

Method 2: Use boiling water

Hot water can also be used to remove wax, here’s how.

Step 1: Remove as much wax as you can with a knife

Put the candle on a surface protected with a towel or newspaper. Use a butter knife or spoon to remove as much wax as you can.

Step 2: Pour boiling water into vessel

Pour boiling water into the container, leaving room at the top. (If your candle is made of a soft wax, such as soy wax, you can use hot water that’s not boiling.) The boiling water will melt the wax and it will float to the top of the water.

Step 3: Remove wax

Let the water cool and remove the wax. Strain the water to get rid of any small wax bits. (Don’t pour wax down the drain—it can create a clog.) Scrape any remaining wax and clean with dish soap and water.

Method 3: Create a double boiler

Try this for quick wax removal.

Step 1: Remove easy-to-scrape wax

Remove as much wax as you can with a butter knife or a spoon.

Step 2: Create a double boiler

Place the candle inside of a pot or large metal bowl on a heat-safe surface. (You can put a folded dish towel under the candle to keep it from moving in the pot.) Pour boiling water into the pot around the candle, making sure that the water does not get into the candle jar. Let the jar sit in the hot water until the wax has softened.

Step 3: Remove container

Remove the container from the water, pop out the wax, and then wash with soap and water.

Method 4: Place it in the oven

This method works well if you have several containers to clean at once.

Step 1: Scrape as much wax as you can and preheat oven

Scrape out as much wax as you can with a butter knife or spoon. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil or one or two layers of parchment paper.

Step 2: Place jars in the oven

Place the candle jars upside down on the pan and set the pan in the oven. The wax will melt in about 15 minutes.

Step 3: Wipe out hot wax

Remove the pan and place on a heat-safe surface. Hold the container using a towel or pot holder and wipe the inside with a paper towel. Let the container cool and then clean with soap and water.

Frequently asked questions

Read on for all remaining questions about removing wax from candles.

How do you remove candle wax without scraping it?

If you still have small bits of wax at the bottom of your container after using one of the methods above, you can pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. (Note: Be sure you have a microwave-safe jar before doing this.) Afterward, you should be able to simply wipe away any waxy bits with a paper towel, rather than having to scrape them with a knife.

How do you get all the candle wax to melt?

Patience is key, especially if you’re working with larger vessels—these will have to sit in the freezer or double boiler longer than small votive candles. If you have an area at the bottom of the jar with particularly stubborn wax, you can spot treat it with a hairdryer or heat gun. Just be sure to protect your hands by wearing an oven mitt and make sure you’re working on a heat-safe surface.

What can you do with empty candle jars?

Lidded jars are perfect for the kitchen. Use them to store spices, baking ingredients (like chocolate chips or marshmallows), nuts, or candy. If your container doesn’t have a lid, place it on your vanity to hold makeup brushes or hair ties. Oversized vessels make great vases or succulent planters, and small votive containers work well on desks, holding paper clips or rubber bands. Food-safe containers, like glass jars, can even be used as cocktail glasses. In fact, candle brand Paddywax uses vessels made of Mexican bubble glass that are meant to hold margaritas long after the wick has been burned to the end.

How do you salvage a candle without a wick?

Here’s a bonus: Not only can you recycle your candle container, you can also reuse the wax—even if the original wick doesn’t survive. One idea is to create mini wickless candles in fun shapes that you can then burn in a candle warmer. Pour the leftover wax into candle molds (Michaels sells heart- and gem-shaped molds), then add essential oils for subtle scents, and let them set. These are especially great if you have pets and prefer not to have an open flame but would still like an inviting aroma.

Another idea: Snag new, pre-waxed wicks from your local craft store and DIY tea lights or votive candles with the leftover wax. Insert your wicks into small heat-resistant cups and carefully add melted wax. To make sure your wicks stay in place while you pour, consider using wick centering tools. Once the candles have set, trim your candle wicks to around a quarter-inch. Voilà! You have new candles in addition to your repurposed containers.

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