The soft illumination of a burning candle instantly sets the mood. Whether it helps to create a sense of calm or desire, the flicker of the flame almost always brings pleasure. But, sadly, these emotions are replaced with frustration when the candle has burned out and it’s time to clean out that icky stubborn leftover wax.

Prying and scraping melted wax is not only time consuming, but can also damage ceramic and delicate glass. There’s a much easier method that is quick and hassle-free: Harken back to science class and the physical laws of matter. We all know water expands as it freezes, but did you know that wax shrinks when frozen? It is this basic fact that will save you time and energy when cleaning reusable candle holders.

FREEZE IT

Simply pop your used candle holder in the freezer until the wax freezes. This may take as little as 20 to 30 minutes, to as long as a couple of hours, depending on the candle. Once the wax has frozen, it will pull away from the sides of the glass as it shrinks. If the wax moves about or feels loose, that means it is frozen and ready to remove.

TAP IT

Turn the jar upside down and gently tap the bottom. The wax should fall right out. If it gets stuck, carefully use a butter knife between the wax and the glass, and pop it out by carefully pushing down on the knife handle.

SLICE IT

Many candle jars become narrower at the opening, which means that the wax can get stuck when you try to remove it. You can prevent this by slicing the wax up inside the jar prior to freezing. The smaller pieces will be easier to take out than one big piece.

WASH IT

If any wax residue is left behind, you can remove it by washing the jar using soap and hot water, or by wiping it down with some baby oil.

Martha Stewart suggests, adding a drop of water to the bottom (between the jar and the candle) before you start burning a votive candle. The water keeps the wax from sticking to the candle holder right from the start. Wax floats on water and when the candle burns out, you can usually just pop it off the bottom of the glass. You’ve gotta love science!

 

(Photo by: Pasja)