glass candle burning on wooden table.

How to remove wax so you can reuse the vessel

Candles come in all kinds of wonderful containers, but once the wick is burned out and the candle wax depleted, how do we remove the wax from the vessels so that they're fresh and new again? 

There are several ways you can achieve this, some will depend on the type of wax you are trying to remove. Methods will differ if the candle is made from paraffin, natural waxes like soy, coconut and rapeseed, or beeswax.

Make sure you put any hot vessels on heat-protected surfaces. The final stage for all options below (except #3) is to give it a wipe with a cloth to get any remaining residue out. Rubbing alcohol works well at this final stage. Wait for the vessel/wax to cool slightly, and make sure you're wearing oven gloves/rubber kitchen gloves when handling the vessel after heating it - it will be hot!

1. Insert in a container of hot water

This works for all wax types. Make sure the water does not fill the vessel - the idea is to heat the outside of the vessel so the wax inside it melts and you can easily tip it out. 

2. Use a hairdryer

Blow the hot air onto the wax. Take care not to use too much power as you don't want it to splatter everywhere. 

3. Warm soapy water

This works well with soy, coconut and rapeseed waxes. As they are completely natural and derived from vegetables, they can easily be washed clean with some dishwashing soap and a sponge. Do first scrape out/remove larger wax bits using one of the other methods - you don't want to clog your drains!

4. Freeze the vessel

If there is only a little wax left in the container, this method is super easy. The wax will contract in the cold, making it easy to scrape out. Pop the vessel in the freezer overnight.

5. Microwave

This method is only for candles which are not in tins and do not have any metal in the wick or at the base to hold it in place. Putting metals in the microwave is dangerous! Fill the vessel with a bit of water and pop it into the microwave. The wax will melt and rise to the top of the water, making it easy to remove once it has cooled a little. Keep an eye on the candle when it's in the microwave to make sure you're not overheating it.

6. Oven

This is a safe method for candles with metal. Put them upside down in the oven at 180C and let the wax melt. Line the tray bottom well with some foil to catch the melted wax. Once you have taken it out of the oven, remove the vessels and allow the wax to cool on the foil until you can put it in the bin safely (hot wax will melt bin liners).


7. Removing candle wax from a wax melt or oil burner.

Wax melt burners are a wonderful way to add fragrance to your home. However, because the melt is not directly exposed to a flame, the wax will remain long after the fragrance is gone. It's super easy to remove this wax: just light a tealight underneath until the wax had slightly softened, and slide it out with a tissue or spoon and put the wax in the bin.

If you're looking for unique vessel candles which can be repurposed once the candle has burned out, try some of these repurposed candles.

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