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 – especially if you make your own candles out of old ones – it’s gross. And even when it’s not gross, even the cleanest burning candle tends to leave some residue behind that will dull the shine of a glass or metal candle holder.
Over the years, I’ve found several methods for cleaning off both wax chunks and wax residue. My preferred method is this one:
Unless your candle holder has metal or metal trim, or if the wick tab is stuck to the bottom, the quickest and most thorough way to clean it is to put it in the microwave on a low power setting. Start with ten seconds, then see what you can scrape off with a dish cleaning brush or sponge. The wax should be soft and pliable so you can scrape it off completely. If not, or if it cools again before you can finish the process, put it back in the microwave. Be careful not to overheat the glass to the breaking point – if it’s hot to the touch, let it sit a few minutes before microwaving it again.
For metal candle holders
Plug up your kitchen sink so you won’t get chunks of wax going down into your garbage disposal or the sewer. Run some hot tap water into the candle holder – it doesn’t need to be so hot you scald your hands; very warm is fine. Give it a few seconds, and the wax should easily scrape out. Sometimes it even floats to the top so you can just dump it out. Set the wax bits aside to dry, and then you can reuse them to make new candles.