Upcycling 101: How to Get Wax Out of Candle Jar to Reuse


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Have you ever ended up with an assemblage of gorgeous candle jars, and then had the problem of how to get the wax out so that you can use them again?You’re not alone! A lot of us fail to let these decorative boxes go, especially knowing that they could have another life. Upcycling is really an amazing tool to save waste and to give new life to the objects that could be otherwise sent to dumps. This article will explain a couple of techniques to remove wax from your jar candle so that you may be able to reuse them in different ways.

I am a candle lover and have used many techniques to remove the wax from the jars. Having experienced them all, I will share with you the most efficient ways to clean your jars with minimal effort. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, these techniques will help you transform your wax into something special. Here we go! Let us look at the details of how to get the wax out of candle jar to reuse it without any special equipment needed.

Preparing Your Candle Jar for Wax Removal

Before you start the process of getting rid of the wax from the jar of the candle, it is crucial to prepare the container correctly. Firstly, get rid of any labels or stickers that are affixed to the jar. If the labels are hard to get off, soak the jar in warm soapy water for a few minutes to get the adhesive loose. After you remove the labels, use a butter knife or spoon to scrape out the most of the remaining wax you can. Do not be concerned if there are still some wax remains, these methods will make sure that everything is gone.

It’s essential to be cautious when dealing with the jar, especially if it’s a glass one. Use a dish towel or pot holder to hold hot water or heated containers to prevent burns. Furthermore, make sure that you work in a well-ventilated area as melted wax may emit fumes that may be irritating to the respiratory tract or even harmful if you breathe in too much. After you have your candle jar ready, it’s time to decide which technique you will use to eliminate the remaining wax.

Method 1: The Freezer Technique

How the Freezer Method Works

The freezer method is an easy and efficient approach to remove wax residue from your candle containers. This is even more so if you are using soft waxes like soy and coconut. When the wax is exposed to the very cold temperature, it hardens and shrinks, which makes it possible to be removed as large chunks from the jar. This easy way is best suited for the ones who do not use heat or do not prefer wax.

The element of surprise is the secret of this trick when you immerse your candle jar into the freezer. The cold air surrounding the jar makes the wax solidify and pull away from the sides of the container. The time for this procedure can be from a few hours and until the next day, depending on the size of your jar and the amount of wax inside. Once the wax is completely hardened, it becomes brittle and much easier now to remove it using a butter knife or spoon.

A benefit of the freezer method is that it ensures the safety of your candle without breaking the jar. On the other hand, methods that depend on heat can cause the glass to crack or shatter. However, this freezer method is the most gentle on your containers. The softness of the cloth ensures it is good at the removal of wax from fragile or vintage jars that you would like to maintain.

Step-by-Step Guide to Freezing Out Candle Wax

  1. Prepare your candle jar: Before you put your candle jar inside the freezer, make sure it is at room temperature. If the jar is still warm from the flame of the candle, let it cool down completely for the sake of thermal shock when it is exposed to cold air.
  2. Place the jar in the freezer: Put your candle jar into the freezer, ensuring that it’s level and not tipping over. If you’re afraid the jar will touch the freezer walls or other stuff, you can put it on a small baking sheet or tray.
  3. Allow the wax to freeze: Take your candle jar to the freezer and put it there for several hours or overnight, the longer the better if you have a lot of wax. The colder you set the freezer and the longer you leave the jar inside, the simpler it will be to get rid of the wax later.
  4. Remove the jar from the freezer: When the wax is frozen, get the jar out of the freezer and remove it from the mold. If the jar feels stuck to the freezer shelf or tray, you can use a butter knife to gently remove it.
  5. Pop out the wax: With a butter knife, spoon or your fingers (if the wax is soft enough), remove the large lumps of the ice wax. The wax shall come out smoothly in solid pieces, leaving behind the little amount of residue.
  6. Clean up any remaining bits: In case there are any little bits of wax stuck to the inside of the jar, you can clean them easily. The best method is using a paper towel or soft cloth lightly dipped in warm, soapy water to wipe them off. If the residue is persistent, use a bottle brush or an old toothbrush to clean it away.

Method 2: The Boiling Water Approach

Why Boiling Water is Effective

Boiling water is another highly effective approach to removing old wax from candle jars. The hot water will melt the wax, which will then be skimmed off the water surface as the wax floats. This method is suitable for a majority of the waxes including soy, paraffin and beeswax.

Boiling water is another highly effective method for removing leftover wax from candle jars. Contrary to freezing method which may take several hours, boiling water method can melt wax in a few minutes. This convenience feature makes it a perfect choice for those who are short of time and want to move on to their upcycling projects.

Instructions for Removing Wax with Boiling Water

  1. Boil a pot of water: Fill a large pot with water and put it on your stove to boil it on the top. Do not forget that the pot should be large enough not only for the candle jar but also to prevent water from overflowing.
  2. Place the candle jar in the boiling water: Utilizing a pair of tongs or oven mitts, delicately insert your candle jar into the boiling water. Make sure that the water level is deep enough to melt the wax, but not so that the water spills into the jar.
  3. Let the wax melt: Wait for a few minutes, until the wax in the candle jar has melted completely into the boiling water. On the water you will observe the wax melted.
  4. Remove the jar from the water: Afterwards, you can use your tongs or oven mitt to take out the jar from boiling water when the wax has melted.
  5. Pour out the melted wax: Within seconds, remove the molten wax from the jar and pour it into a disposable container, for example, an old can or aluminum foil. The wax will gradually harden while cooling, so work fast.
  6. Repeat if necessary: Continue the process as long as the jar still contains some wax.
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Method 3: The Oven Method

Advantages of Using the Oven

The oven method is a highly potent method to remove wax that is hard to get rid of from candle jars. The wax melts as the jar is heated in the oven, making it easier to pour out, and the jar is ready for upcycling leaving it clean.

The benefit of the oven method is that it can deal with the most problematic wax residue. If you’ve already used freezing or boiling water but there’s still wax on the sides of the jar, don’t panic. In this example, the oven technique would be your best option. The oven’s sustained heat is capable of melting the most persistent wax, leaving it very easy to remove.

Detailed Process for Oven-Based Wax Removal

  1. Preheat your oven: Set your oven to its lowest temperature setting, typically 180°F (82°C). Do not use the higher temperatures, because the glass will break and crack.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet: Catch wax drips using aluminum foil and clean up will be easy.
  3. Place the candle jar on the baking sheet: Put the candle jar on the baking sheet with the liner, to ensure that the jar is stable and level.
  4. Heat the jar in the oven: Set the baking sheet with the candle jar at the preheated oven. Place the jar in a water bath for approximately 15 minutes or until all the wax has melted.
  5. Remove the jar from the oven: Employing the oven mitts, with care remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  6. Pour out the melted wax: Take good care of pouring the melted wax from the jar into a disposable container. Avoid dripping any wax on yourself and the surrounding area.
  7. Wipe away any remaining residue: If some wax is left in the jar, use a paper towel to remove it when the jar is still warm.

Method 4: The Hair Dryer Technique

How a Hair Dryer Can Help Remove Candle Wax

A hair dryer may be a hair dryer can be a great tool to remove small quantities of wax or to address difficult-to-reach places inside your candle jar. The wax can be melted and then easily wiped away with a hot breeze blowing onto it.

One of the main benefits of using a hair drier is that it allows for a focused removal of the wax. Let’s suppose you have a container with complicated or hard to reach patterns, a hair dryer will help you to concentrate the heat where it is needed. This method is not only good for cleaning wax drippings or residue from the sides of your jar but also helps to keep it clean.

Guide to Using a Hair Dryer for Wax Removal

  1. Set your hair dryer to its lowest heat setting: Insert the power cord of your hair dryer and set it to the lowest heat level. An excess of heat may lead to the glass breaking or becoming too hot to be held.
  2. Direct the hot air onto the wax: Stand the hair dryer a few inches away from the candle jar, blow the hot air toward the wax buildup areas. Ensure the dryer keeps turning to avoid overheating any spot.
  3. Wipe away the melted wax: The wax will start to melt as you continue wiping away with a paper towel or a soft cloth. Do the same procedure, until you’ve removed all wax as much as you can.
  4. Work in a well-ventilated area: If you are working with melting wax, do not forget that it can produce fumes. Hence, it is advised that you should only work in a well-ventilated space to prevent inhaling those fumes.
  5. Consider using a heat gun for stubborn wax: Should you find the hair dryer method to be too time consuming or the wax not melting enough, you can opt for a heat gun as an alternative. On the other hand, make sure that the heat gun is set to its lowest heat setting. The reason is that hair dryers have a lot lower temperature than heat guns.

Method 5: The Double Boiler Method

Understanding the Double Boiler Technique

The double boiler technique is a mild approach to get the wax off candle jars, especially if you’re dealing with delicate containers that might crack under extreme temperature changes. They can break in case of drastic change of temperatures. Yet, the double boiler method circumvents this issue. To indirectly heat the jar and melt the wax, this method uses the steam from simmering water.

The double boiler consists of a heat-safe bowl that is placed on top of a pot of simmering water. The water in the bowl heats up, and the heat melts the wax in your candle jar. This kind of a method will be much slower and more careful, making sure to use enough water to prevent damage to your jar.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Double Boiler Wax Removal

  1. Set up your double boiler: Fill up a large pot with a few inches of water and put it on your kitchen stove. Heat the water until it reaches a simmering point.
  2. Place a heat-safe bowl on top of the pot: Pick a bowl that will fit on top of your pot so that it does not touch the water. Either a glass or metal bowl will do.
  3. Put your candle jar in the bowl: First, set your candle container in a heat-safe bowl so it won’t tip over.
  4. Allow the wax to melt: When the water simmers, the steam will heat the bowl and over time, this will make the wax in your candle jar melt. This operation will be longer compared to other methods, but it is kinder to your container.
  5. Remove the jar from the bowl: When the wax is fully melted, use the mitts or tongs to carefully take out the jar from the bowl.
  6. Pour out the melted wax: Gently pour the melted wax into a disposable container making sure you don’t get burned as the wax will start to harden as it cools.

To help you choose the most suitable candle jar cleaning method for your needs, we’ve summarized the following commonly used techniques, along with their pros and cons, and best use cases:

MethodProsConsBest For
Freezer– Gentle on jars- No heat needed
– Eco-friendly
– Time-consuming
– May leave some residue behind
– Soft waxes like soy or coconut
– Delicate jars
Boiling Water– Fast- Efficient for large amounts of wax
– Works for most wax types
– Requires handling of hot water
– May cause thermal shock to some jars
– Most wax types
– Sturdy jars that can withstand heat
Oven– Effective for removing stubborn wax
– Quick melting process- Hands-off method
– Requires caution when handling hot jars
– Potential for jars to crack due to heat
– Large amounts of stubborn wax
– Heat-resistant jars like Pyrex
Hair Dryer– Targeted removal of wax
– Good for hard to reach areas- Minimal setup required
– Slow for large amounts of wax
– May produce some fumes
– Small amounts of wax
– Intricate jar designs
Double Boiler– Gentle on delicate jars
– Allows for controlled melting
– Minimizes the risk of thermal shock
– Time-consuming
– Requires more setup than other methods
– Delicate glass jars
– Jars prone to cracking under direct heat

Cleaning Your Candle Jar After Wax Removal

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Now you have done a good job removing the wax from the candle jar, it is time you took some time to clean it well before you can reuse it. On the first place, clean the jar by washing it in the warm soapy water using a sponge or soft cloth in order to remove all the wax residues and soot marks. This will be your last resort, so if you have trouble getting rid of the sticky residue, you can try white vinegar and water mixture in equal parts. Simple as that, just pour the solution into the jar, wait for a few minutes and get rid of the residue with the help of a bottle brush or a tooth brush.

By the way, in case you want to scrub something really deep, you can mix baking soda and water together as well. Combine baking soda and water in a ratio of 1:1 to make a paste. Apply it on the inner surface of your jars with a clean sponge or cloth. Allow the paste to be there for a while and then scrape it off using a brush or sponge. Rinse the jar with warm water and then dry it with a towel that is clean.

Creative Ways to Reuse Your Candle Jar

Now that you have figured out how to reuse the candle wax you can get started with your upcycling ideas. There are too many to count how you can reuse the candle jars that are clean, from storing to decorating your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Fill your jar with fresh flowers or a plant, and use it as a vase.
  • Take a jar and fill it with an array of colorful stones or marbles and use it as an attractive centerpiece.
  • Store small pieces like buttons, pins or paper clips using your jar.
  • Change it into a special drinking glass or cocktail tumbler.
  • Use your jar to fill it with layered ingredients so you can eat it as a delicious dessert or a snack, like a parfait or trail mix.

The ideas are limitless with what you can do with your candle jars after they are done. Be imaginative and think out of the box, you might be impressed by the clever and useful stuff you will produce.

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Tips for Successful Candle Jar Upcycling

To ensure your candle jar upcycling projects are a success, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Hot jars and melted wax must always be handled with care, as you will need oven mitts or tongs to avoid burns.
  • In melting the wax, ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • A disposable container is a great way to collect the melted wax and you will have no problem with the cleanup.
  • Don’t rush through the wax removal process when the jars are being cleaned, because such haste may break your jars.
  • Let your imagination run wild when you are selecting your upcycling projects, and do not be afraid to experiment with them.

By applying these tips and the instructions provided here, you will be able to successfully remove wax from your candles jars. This will give them new hope and purpose.


The skill of removing wax from the candle jar to reuse it, if acquired, will be beneficial to candle lovers and environment friendly people alike. You can simply take one of these methods (freezer technique, boiling water approach, oven method, hair dryer technique, or the double boiler method) and use it to remove wax from your candle jars. Then you can give the jars a second life by reusing them in creative ways. You’ll be not only aiding in waste reduction and the environment preservation, but also transforming old items into stylish and useful home decor.

Thus, when you next have a used candle jar, stop throwing it into the trash. Instead of burning the jar, you can try one of these methods to remove the wax and give the jar a second life. By using imagination and your skills, you will be able to give a new meaning to your old candle jars and turn them into something unique and gorgeous. Happy upcycling!



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