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How to Clean Wax off of Candle Holders

Very few candles burn so cleanly that they don’t leave any wax gunk behind in your candle holders. Sometimes it’s easy enough to scrape off, but other times, it’s not. There are a couple of good ways to clean wax off of candle holders easily, but one we specifically recommend.

Even the cleanest burning candle tends to leave some residue behind that will dull the shine of a glass or metal candle holder. These tips will help you whether you’re struggling to pop the bottom of a candle out of the holder or just to get the last few pieces of gunky wax and sooty stuff off of it.

Hot Water Method

This is the best way to get wax out of candle holders. The hot water method works every time, and it’s easy to do. There’s also not a lot of mess or cleanup. And it’s great if you want to preserve some of your old candle for making a new recycled candle.

You start with your candle holder with the gunk up the sides and the bottom of the candle stuck in the bottom. This one is made of glass, but this tip will work with any material that works as a candle holder.

Waxy gunky glass votive candle holder

Step 1. Pour hot water into it

Pour hot tap water into your candle holder, up to the top of where you see wax. It doesn’t need to be boiling. Just hot tap water is good enough.

Pouring hot water into candle holder

Note: if you’re doing this over a sink, plug up the sink. You don’t want chunks of wax getting into a garbage disposal or going down a bathroom sink into the sewer.

Let the water sit for a few seconds. No more than a minute.

Step 2: Scrape it

Now take a table knife or tool with a similar flat edge. Starting from the inside edge of your holder, push it down behind the wax. The wax will pop out easily, often in lots of little chunks.

Pushing knife down the side of the candle holder

You may need to fish a few of the chunks from the side out onto a surface to see the bottom.

Wax chunks floating in candle holder

Once you’re done with the sides, push the knife down the edge of one side. Very often the whole bottom will pop out in one piece and you’re done. Sometimes it breaks and you’ll have to get one chunk, and then try again from another edge until you get them all. This is where you can set the old candle pieces aside to make them into a whole new candle, if you want to do that.

Here’s a very short video to show you how this part of the process looks.

 And if you prefer not to watch videos, here are a couple of stills to give you an idea. First, you push the knife down against the edge, between the wax and the holder.

Knife against edge of holder to pop out bottom of candle

This time when you press, there’s a good chance the whole candle bottom will pop out in one piece. If not, it will pop out in a few pieces, but generally they are pretty large and you don’t have to repeat this step many times.

Popping the candle bottom out of the holder

And there’s the candle bottom popped out. All that’s left now in your holder are some small traces of wax on the sides and bottom and maybe some sooty spots. These are easy to clean with dish washing liquid.

The best way to do this is to put a tiny amount (really doesn’t take much) of the detergent on your fingers and rub it around inside the candle holder first. Once you’ve done that, add a little bit of water to it and rub some more. Sometimes you need a little bit of elbow grease, but most of the wax and soot will come off quickly and easily.

And now you have a very clean candle holder, ready to use with your next candle.

Clean candle holder on table

And that’s it – a very simple, no fuss, easy clean up method for cleaning every bit of candle wax out of a holder!