How to Clean Out Candle Wax So You Can Reuse the Glass

Photo by @yearofamillionreads on Instagram.

So you burn a good amount of candles, and have loads of completed candles waiting for creative reuse? Although that delicious scent of Buttery Brew, or maybe the beautiful hint of Winter Rose, has reached its end, there’s still a small amount of wax left and maybe even slight residue along the side of your candle - not to mention that burned wick. I know you’re probably thinking, “Exactly how do I clean this glass?” Well, we have got you covered with some tips that will quickly have your glass squeaky clean and ready for a nice refreshing beverage or your next DIY project.  

Getting the Wax Out

Before we go much further, it's important to note that you want to be completely done burning your candle before putting water inside your candle glass. Yes, I know some of you may want to clean the candle as you go along burning it, but don’t drown your wick in water. Use a moist paper towel or cloth to gently wipe the walls of your candle clean. That being said, it’s also important to make sure that your candle has completely cooled before doing any type of cleaning to your glass.

Next, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of wax you have left in the glass. If you have a thick layer, the process is a little more difficult. But first, let’s look at a few options for when you have a thin layer left in the bottom of the glass.

The Freezer Method

Place the glass inside the freezer. Leave the glass for about 30 minutes, and the wax should shrink enough to pop out. This will also help freeze the base of the wick. If you use this method, be sure to let the glass warm back up to room temperature before proceeding.

The Sink Method

Place the glass in your sink and fill it with warm water. The water does not need to be extremely hot. We typically leave these glasses sitting for a couple of hours. Over time, the wax will loosen and move toward the top of the water. Discard the water and wax.  

But what if there are large amount of wax left in the jar?

The Large Chunks Method

Let’s say that you are in the worst case scenario and have a large amount of wax along the walls of your glass. This is mostly commonly from bad candle burn practices and tunneling has occurred. In this case, use a small blunt object to remove the wax in large chunks. Be careful if using anything sharp. Also, be careful not to put too much pressure on the walls of the glass.  

How to Get the Wick Out

If your wick has not already popped out during one of the methods above, it means that thing is in there tight. It may help to let warm water soak in the glass overnight. But, if you are anxious to get your glass clean, you can use a utensil to remove the wick.

In the studio, we often use a metal spoon (a little more safer than a butter knife) or a tongue depressor (we use these as wick holders, so we have them on hand). Start by gently pressing under the edges of the wick, working around it. The wick is actually attached with a double-sided sticker, so all you need to do is work this sticker loose. For those of you with small hands, you may even be able to reach in and pop the wick out.    

How to Clean the Glass

Yay! You have the wax and wick out of the candle. Now, it’s time to do some washing. Since we use a natural soy wax, this part of the process is actually much easier than most would expect. Wash the glass using a dish detergent soap and warm water. Our glasses are screen printed and dishwasher safe; however, we recommend doing this first wash by hand so that you don’t risk getting wax residue in your dishwasher.  

Remember that you are dealing with wax throughout this whole process. During washing and when pouring out water that you have let soak in the glass, be sure to run warm water along with it. You don’t want to clog your sink. This typically won’t happen with only a wash or two. But if you are candle fans like us with an intent to reuse and repurpose whenever possible, you may find yourself frequently cleaning your old candle glasses.

Re-use the Glass

Now that you have a sparkly clean glass, it's time to decided what to do with it. A quickly functional approach would be to use it as a drinking glass. Fill it with your favorite refreshing beverage. Or, you could decided to include it as part of a DIY project, such as turning the glass into a planter for some succulents or other plants. 

Be sure to comment below or tag #highlandbluffstudio if you share pictures of your cleaned candle glass in action! 


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