How to remove wax from candle jars

Candle in container

Yes, our candles have been designed & developed not to drip, and yes, we do get asked this question from time to time. Because even the most dripless candle takes a knock every now and then, causing some of the wax to spill. The following is based on our experience as well as that of the event stylists we work with.

Obviously prevention is better than cure, or in this case clean, so when possible, keep the candles out of any draughts, as that can cause dripping, and place them where they are less likely to be knocked. Our candles have been tested not to drip in cylinders from 10cm diameter upwards, so keep this in mind when choosing your vase. As a rule of thumb, ideally you should be able to insert two fingers between the candle and the edge of the vase.

Even though dripping cannot be wholly prevented when the cause is external, anticipating it can go a long way. If the aesthetics allow, a layer of (coloured) sand, fine white rice or water at the bottom of the vase will make it so much easier to remove any wax that has accumulated there. Simply break the wax and remove it.

So how to remove residue wax from a container, vase, jar or votive? There are a few ways to do this, and which one to use depends on what you have available. To make any of the methods below more effective, remove as much wax as you can from the container beforehand.

  1. Freezer: if you have the space for it, put the vases in the freezer - wax shrinks when it freezes, which makes the wax pull away from the glass edge; the wax will let loose and come out easier.
  2. Oven: place the containers upside down on a baking tray lined with foil, and place the tray in the oven until the wax has melted and dripped out of the vase. Remove from the oven and wipe the container with a paper towel (use an oven mitt as the container will be hot!).
  3. Hot water: pour boiling water into the container, and as the wax melts it will start floating up, ready to be scooped out once it cools down again. This method might take some time depending on the amount of wax residue in the vase.

For more detailed instructions (including video) to the above 3 methods, go here.

Finally, an option which is specifically relevant for taper candles in a candelabra or candlesticks, is to prepare the surface with a thin layer of oil (cooking oil, vegetable spray etc.) which will make the wax easier to remove.

There really is no substitute for natural light, so don't let a little wax get in the way of a lot of loveliness. And keep in mind it's not a party until something gets broken (or spilled)!

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