How to Get Candle Wax Out of a Jar: 4 Effective Methods

Repurpose or recycle used candle jars by removing leftover wax.
Deirdre Mundorf Avatar
Woman dumps pieces of candle wax out of a candle jar.

Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

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Candle jars come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Once the candle has finished burning, the glass container lends itself nicely to a variety of other uses such as organizing small trinkets or desk supplies, holding loose change, or even making new candles.

However, before you can repurpose these containers, you first need to know how to get candle wax out of a jar. Continue reading to learn four different methods for cleaning out candle jars by effectively removing the wax. Then, you’ll be able to put your empty jars to good use.

How to Remove Candle Wax From Jars Using Boiling Water

Woman pouring boiling water from red tea kettle into a candle jar.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

One technique for how to remove candle wax from a jar is to use boiling water. To try this technique at home, you’ll just need a saucepan, a towel, and water.

STEP 1: Add water to the pot and bring it to a boil on the stove.

Begin by adding enough water to the pot to fill the old candle jar. Cover the pot and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Allow the water to come to a boil. Alternatively, boil water in a tea kettle.

STEP 2: Put the jar on a towel and fill most of the jar with boiling water. 

Lay out a towel on the countertop and place the jar on top of the towel. Carefully pour the boiling water to fill the jar to within about an inch of the top.

STEP 3: Let the water cool in the jar for a few hours.

After you pour the hot water into the jar, it will cause the wax to melt. Once melted, the wax will float to the top. Allow the jar and the water to cool completely before attempting to remove the wax.

STEP 4: Strain the wax from the jar and pour out the water.

Woman removing clumps of wax from a candle jar with her fingers.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

Use your hands to remove any large clumps of wax, then strain any of the smaller pieces out of the jar. Take care not to let any wax go down the drain, as it may clog it.

STEP 5: Repeat as needed and then wash the jar.

It may take a few rounds of boiling water to remove all the wax from the jar, so you may need to repeat the steps outlined above until it is all gone. Once you have successfully removed all the wax, use soap and water to clean the jar.

How to Get Candle Wax Out of Jars by Freezing

Woman puts candle in black jar into freezer in front of frozen waffles.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

If you can’t make your candle last longer, and you’re ready to clean out the remaining wax, try freezing the jar. Learning how to get wax out of candle jars by freezing is quite simple; it only requires a freezer and a butter knife.

STEP 1: Place the jar in the freezer before going to bed.

For this technique to be effective, you need the candle jar to stay in the freezer for a few hours. The easiest thing to do is to put the jar in the freezer before you go to bed in the evening. Then, you’ll be able to clean out the jar the following morning.

STEP 2: Flip the candle jar over and dump out the wax.

After sitting in the freezer overnight, the candle wax will have shrunk. If you turn the jar over, the clump of wax will likely pop out and fall.

STEP 3: Use a butter knife to remove any remaining wax.

If there is still any candle wax left in the jar, try using a butter knife to scrape it off. You can also use the butter knife to break up a clump of wax that may be too big to fit through the jar’s opening.

STEP 4: Wash the jar using soap and water.

To finish preparing the jar for whatever use awaits it, clean it out using soap and water.

RELATED: 20 New Uses for Old Candles

How to Remove Wax From a Candle Jar Using an Oven

Woman inverts candle jar onto parchment paper to put in oven.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

When you want to know how to remove wax from a candle jar, or even multiple candle jars at the same time, you can also try using your oven. The materials you’ll need for this method include a baking sheet, aluminum foil, and parchment paper.

STEP 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the jars.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent any accidents, remove the labels from the jars. If they don’t peel off easily, try soaking the jars in water to loosen the labels.

STEP 2: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper.

Prepare a baking sheet for the candles by covering it with aluminum foil. Then, cover the aluminum foil using parchment paper.

STEP 3: Place the candle jars upside down on the parchment paper and bake them for 15 minutes.

Put the jars on the parchment paper, open side down, and place the baking sheet in the oven. Close the oven door, and leave the jars in for about 15 minutes.

Taking baking sheet with upturned candle jar on it out of oven.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

STEP 4: Carefully transfer the glass jars to a new piece of parchment paper.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. There will likely be a lot of wax covering the parchment paper, so move the empty candle jars to a clean piece of parchment paper to cool.

STEP 5: Let the jars cool, and then wash them with soap and water.

After the jars have fully cooled, use warm soap and water to wash them.

How to Get Wax Out of Jars With a Hair Dryer

Woman wearing an oven mitt, using a hair dryer to melt candle wax.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

Another method for how to get wax out of a candle jar is to use a hair dryer. Other than a hair dryer, you will need an oven mitt and a butter knife for this approach.

STEP 1: Use an oven mitt to hold the candle and set the hair dryer to a warm setting.

Place the candle jar on a flat (preferably heat-resistant) surface. A glass jar can heat up quickly when heating it with a hair dryer, so you should wear an oven mitt on the hand that will be touching the jar. Once you’re all set up, choose a warm setting on the hair dryer and turn it on.

STEP 2: Aim the hair dryer at the jar’s opening to heat the wax.

Point your hair dryer at the wax inside the candle jar. Continue for a few minutes until the the wax begins to soften.

STEP 3: Remove the wax from the candle jar.

Woman removes wax pieces from candle jar after heating it with a hair dryer.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

Periodically check the wax, and, once it feels soft, remove it from the jar. In some instances, you may simply be able to lift it out of the jar. However, you may need to use a butter knife to scrape the edges of the jar.

STEP 4: Wash the candle jar using soap and water.

Once it has fully cooled, use soap and water to clean the candle jar so that it’s ready for the new purpose you have planned for it.

Top Tips for Repurposing Candle Jars

Woman using candle jars to store Q-tips and cotton balls.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

Now that you know how to get wax out of a jar, here are some ideas for ways to reuse those cleaned-out candle jars around your house and garden.

  • Decorative “bowl filler” display
  • Bath bomb, hair tie, cotton ball, or other bathroom essential storage
  • DIY candle-making
  • Office supply holder
  • Empty seed packet or plant pick storage
  • Recycling through your local waste management service