How to Clean Out Candle Jars

April 1, 2020

Hey Jewels, confession time…I have candle commitment issues. Which means I have a plethora of used products hanging around my apartment; photo evidence of my guilt below.

You’ll notice that I’m one of those people who organize their towels by color – don’t judge. In the spirit of spring cleaning, I thought it was finally time to do something with the empty jars.

I have been putting it off for months because, in my opinion, cleaning out the jars is the most time consuming and annoying step in the upcycling process. So I wanted to share my “wisdom” in the hope of making this process easier on all of you.

Step One – Wax Removal

After extensive research into the different ways to remove the leftover wax from the jars, I settled on the one that sounded the easiest and safest – freezing. This worked so much better than I anticipated and was basically effortless. Select your candle and simply pop it into the freezer.

PRO TIP: Make sure you set the jar on a flat surface so that it won’t tip over and shatter. Cold glass/ceramic has a higher probability of breaking when it is subjected to low temperatures. After about two hours I checked the jar and noticed that nothing had changed. I decided to let it sit overnight and revisit in the morning. 

The next morning I woke up and immediately checked on my frozen candle. I blame this urgency on the fact that I had a nightmare that the jar shattered and ruined everything in my freezer…dramatic…I know.

To my surprise, I found that all of the wax had pulled away from the side of the jar. All I had to do to remove it was tilt the container upside down and the frozen chunk slid right out.

The science behind this process is extremely simple. Extremely cold temperatures cause objects to contract, something you’ll notice in the winter when your fingers shrink and suddenly your rings don’t fit. This contracting detaches the wax from the edges of the container making the removal process extremely simple. 

Step Two – Giving the Jar a Deep Cleaning

This step surprised me a bit. After letting the jar return to room temperature, I assumed that I could just wipe out the inside…I was wrong. Multiple cleaning solutions were tried and the majority of them failed. In the end, I found that a combination of a 409 and GooGone worked the best.

409 was originally designed to be an industrial grade solvent and degreaser, so it was able to take care of all of the black marks easily. The GooGone was extremely helpful in removing the ring pouch glue and the residue leftover once I pulled off the outside label.

After everything was cleaned out, I washed the jar with hot water and soap to remove any film left by all of the cleaning products. This step is EXTREMELY important if you plan on using the container for storing food or as a planter. 

Now that it’s all said and done I’m kicking myself for putting this off for so long. Not only do I have A LOT of clean jars for DIYs, but I have significantly more room in my closet for more candles; a fact that my husband was not extremely excited about. Stay tuned for all of the hacks, upcycles, and DIYs that will be coming your way now that I jumped over the first hurdle.

JulieAnn Whittemore

JulieAnn Whittemore

A story about a girl and her constant search for more coffee. JulieAnn would describe herself as a coffee enthusiast, world traveler, and self-proclaimed social media guru; in that order.