Tuesday Tutorials – How to Remove Candle Wax from a Glass Container

One more reason I love fall and cooler weather–I can burn all my great smelling candles without feeling like a weirdo. (Yes, for some reason I just feel weird burning candles in the summer.  It’s already hot enough outside, why do I want to light fire?)

Often when I’m buying candles, I look specifically at the container it’s in and if I’m on the fence about which to buy, I choose the one with the really awesome container.  Why?  Because when the candle it all gone, I reuse the containers! Saves me money and saves the earth from another glass container in a landfill.

Depending on the size and shape (and if it has a lid), there are tons of uses for empty glass containers:

  • Store your bits and bobs (buttons, paper clips, spools of thread, thumbtacks, perfectly sized coasters, loose change)
  • Decorate your bookshelf or mantle by displaying collected items (marbles, cool dice, pretty gemstones, small pine cones, potpourri)
  • Use them in gift giving if they have a lid (tie a pretty bow around the top and give out cookies, hard candy, seasoned nuts, or small toys/trinkets)
  • If they are cleaned out really well, I have no problem setting them out as candy dishes
  • Put small votive candles or larger free standing candles in them
  • Make your own candles and use the same container!

Getting all that wax out of the old container can be tricky though.  Here’s a great way to make sure you get every last drop out for a sparkling clean glass, courtesy of Aunt Peaches.


How to Remove Candle Wax from a Glass Container

First: Remove the label.  Amazingly, candle companies have caught on that we don’t always want to keep the labels, so some candles now have ones you can easily peel off (thank you candle companies!)  However, many still are glued on with super adhesive. If that is the case, soaking them in a bowl of hot (I mean really really hot) water with blue Dawn dish detergent is about as good as it gets. If you remove 95% of the label but find that dried up paper crud later on, smear it with coconut oil, let it rest for a few minutes, then go back with a scrubber. That should do it.

Next: Actually removing the candle wax.

VERY IMPORTANT: Set the wax aside in a plastic bag to save for future projects (like to make some of your own candles later)

The key is to get that paper towel in there when those last bits of wax are still liquid. They should cling to the towel without effort.

If you have to scrub, add more hot water and wait a minute, then try again. Except for a little windex or vinegar at the end, there should be no rubbing or elbow grease at all. Rubbing = smearing, and the last thing you want is wax smeared all over your glass container.

Also note: Don’t do this process in your sink or on your nice counter top. Lay down an old rag or newspaper. You don’t want to have to scrape hardened wax bits off your table or your drain.

Random tip for all those candles that come separate from the votive (and you want to keep it that way).


Many thanks go out to Aunt Peaches for providing this awesome tutorial.  I’ve been cleaning out all my old containers this way and it works like a charm!  Now, go find all those old candles you’ve been hoarding and put the containers to good use!