How to Get Wax Out of a Candle Jar

Learn how to remove the wax so you can save or reuse the candle jar.

We love a candle that burns so well, but how do you get the candle wax and residue off the glass container when the candle is done? Don't let another wax-filled container go into the trash or donate bin. Whether the candle wax is fixed at the base of the jar, lining the sides unevenly, or wedged into the bottom of a candlestick holder, these tips will help.

A glass container filled with candle wax is placed in a freezer.

How to Remove Candle Wax From a Glass Jar

Freeze stubborn wax so it pops loose.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Use the Freezer

Candle wax hardens and shrinks when it gets cold, so freezing is often enough to make the leftover candle wax pop loose.

  1. Freeze the jar. Place the jar in the freezer and leave it for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Remove the jar and chip out the wax. Once the wax is frozen, remove the jar and use a butter knife, wooden popsicle stick or similar tool to gently chip at the wax. Large pieces may easily separate from the bottom or sides of the glass jar. Smaller pieces will pop loose with a little chiseling. Avoid using sharp items that might damage or break the glass.
  3. Wash the jar. Use warm water and dish soap to remove any flakes of wax or oily residue.
Hot water softens stubborn candle wax in a glass jar.

How to Remove Candle Wax From a Glass Jar

Pour hot water into the container to soften wax.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Use Boiling Water

Soaking the inside of the jar with hot water softens stubborn candle wax.

  1. Boil water. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil on the stove. It needs to be enough water to fill the glass jar or candle container.
  2. Fill the jar with hot water. When the water comes to a boil, place the room-temperature jar on a flat, heat-safe surface like a cutting board and pour a small amount of boiling water into the jar, covering the wax residue.
  3. Soften the wax. Let the hot water sit for a few minutes to warm the leftover wax.
  4. Remove the wax. Pour the water into the sink. You may find that some chunks of wax have popped loose and dropped into the sink, too. Use a dishcloth or old sponge to wipe away any remaining wax.

Make a Double Boiler

In this rendition, you'll warm the wax from the outside of your jar. Wear an oven mitt!

  1. Boil water. Fill a saucepan with one inch of water and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Hold the jar in the hot water. Lower the base of the glass jar into the simmering water. Hold it there for 1-2 minutes. Wear an oven mitt to prevent steam burns.
  3. Remove the softened wax. Once the hot water has softened the wax, you should be able to easily scoop it out with a rubber spatula or spoon. Use an old sponge to wipe away any remaining wax.
A glass votive holder dripping melted wax in an oven.

How to Remove Candle Wax From a Glass Jar

Use the oven to melt and drip the wax.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Use the oven to melt and drip the wax.

Use the Oven

The drip method is great for hard-to-reach areas.

  1. Preheat the oven. Set the oven to a low temperature (around 150-200°F or 65-93°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet. Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil or a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Place the glass jar upside down on the baking sheet.
  4. Put the baking sheet into the oven for 15 minutes. During this time, the wax will slowly melt and drip onto the foil. It may take 10-15 minutes, but it will eventually drip onto the paper.
  5. Carefully remove the jar and the baking sheet from the oven.
  6. Clean the edge of the jar. Before the container cools completely, use a paper towel to wipe any soft wax that has settled around the edge of the glass jar and on its walls.
Melting candle wax with a hair dryer or heat gun.

How to Remove Candle Wax From a Glass Jar

Melt the wax with a hair dryer or heat gun.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Melt the wax with a hair dryer or heat gun.

Use a Hair Dryer or a Heat Gun

Targeting with heat softens thin layers of wax residue.

  1. Place the jar on a flat, heat-resistant surface, such as a wooden cutting board. Avoid using a plastic cutting board. It will soften too much under direct heat and can easily be damaged.
  2. Turn on the hair dryer or heat gun to the lowest setting.
  3. Target the wax with the heat of the gun until it becomes soft and starts to melt.
  4. Wipe away the areas that have melted with a paper towel or cloth.
  5. Repeat. Slow and steady. You'll wipe away a little more wax each time the glass is heated. Continue the process until all the wax is removed.
A candle sits under a modern candle warmer lamp.

How to Remove Candle Wax From a Glass Jar

A candle warmer can prevent wax from sticking to the walls of your glass jar.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

A candle warmer can prevent wax from sticking to the walls of your glass jar.

What Worked Best

A combination of methods works best for most candles.

  • The easiest pieces of wax to remove are thick – these chunks will easily pop loose after being in the freezer.
  • Thin layers of wax and residue are more stubborn, but it is possible to completely remove it if you let the wax soften enough. Letting the wax soak in boiled water or targeting heat with a heat gun was easiest. The wax will wipe off the glass with a paper towel.

The experts agree: To transform your candle jar and remove the wax, the National Candle Association recommends the freezer method. "Place the candleholder in the freezer for an hour or so, allowing the wax to shrink and easily pop out," shared a representative. "If there is leftover wax along the insides of the container, try running hot water over the exterior of the candle holder, but make sure the glass is at room temperature before running under hot water. Then use a cloth to wipe away the melted wax. Never use a knife or sharp tool to remove wax, as it could damage the integrity of the glass or break the container.”

How to Remove Candle Wax
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