Candles not only provide beautiful ambiance and often divine aromas, these days their jar designs are a chic aesthetic addition for your living spaces too. That’s why it’s becoming more and more popular to repurpose them for storage or other uses when the candle is finished.
It’s always a sad moment when you get to the bottom of your expensive candle with more wax to spare, but there’s a good reason to accept its time is up when the life of the wick grows short.
If you leave a glass candle lit with too little wick or wax (or just the metal wick holder) it can expose the base to extreme heat. A glass jar or container can become too hot, causing it to break or shatter and possibly cause a fire as well as other damage.
It’s a good idea to consult the advice of the brand you are burning. French candle company Diptyque says a candle is finished when there is no more than 5mm / 0.5cm of wax left or when the metal plate that supports the wick is visible. Ecoya advises to discontinue burning your candle when there is 10mm / 1cm of wax is remaining.
So following good candle care is essential, but if you want to re-use the jar, how do you get all the wax out cleanly?
Freeze the wax
Diptyque, one of the most popular brands to re-use, advises placing in the freezer to shrink the wax before popping it out. This is the easiest and cleanest method, but works best if you have a chunk of wax at the base.
Wait until the candle has cooled, then place it in the freezer overnight. The next day, remove the candle from the freezer and let it sit for 1 hour.
Turn the glass jar upside down and tap the bottom with the palm of your hand. The slice of wax that has shrunk should fall out. Use a spoon handle to help if necessary.
If the metal plate holding the wick is still stuck to the bottom of the glass jar, you can pull it out with pliers. Finally, wipe out the inside of the glass candle jar with a damp cloth and soap.
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Use boiling water
Hot water can also be used to remove wax, but if the jar has an external paper label, this method may cause it to peel unless you keep the outside of the jar completely dry.
You’ll need to ensure glass is thick enough. Too thin and it is at risk of shattering from the heat.
Place the candle on a heat-proof surface and cover with newspaper or baking paper to prevent wax spilling.
Use a butter knife or spoon to remove as much wax as you can. Pour boiling water into the container, leaving room at the top. The water will melt the candle wax, causing it to float to the surface of the container. If your candle is made of a soft wax, such as soy wax, you can often use hot water that’s not boiling.
Let cool completely before removing the wax. Pour water into a strainer to catch the excess hardened wax, ensuring none gets discarded down the drain where it can harden and clog pipes.
Soap and water
If you manage to scoop enough soft wax out of the vessel with an implement like a butter knife or spoon while it it still warm, the jar may just need a simple clean with some dish soap and hot water. This can help simply remove any soot build up on the inside of the jar too.
How to re-use the candle
Now your jar is clean, the most popular purpose is to use it for storage. For example, collecting up makeup brushes on your vanity counter or holding small items like cotton buds, reusable face cleansing pads, hair ties or clips. In bathroom or bedroom drawers or surfaces they can be used to gather lipsticks or lip glosses together.
Or how about turning it into a vessel for holding a small plant like a succulent on your windowsill?
The desk in your office is another idea, where it can hold spare stationary essentials, pens and pencils. Smaller votive size jars can hold items like thumb-tacks or paper clips.
A small posy of flowers on a coffee table is also a good option.