How to Clean and Repurpose Candle Jars: An Easy Guide

Candles add warmth and ambiance to our homes, but what do we do with the empty glass candle jars once the wax has burned down? Clean and repurpose them! In this blog post, I’ll share how to clean and repurpose candle jars, offering you loads of ideas to transform them into functional and decorative items for your home. 

So gather your empty candle jars, and let’s dive into the world of cleaning and reusing!

How to clean jar candles: an empty jar candle with bits of wax sitting around it.

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For the Love of Candles

Are you a candle addict? 

Do you linger in the candle aisle at Home Goods?

Does a brand new candle glass jar make your heart race?

For myself…yes, yes, yes!

A jar candle flame

I used to buy candles and display them proudly…but rarely burned them. 

Some nonsense in my head about saving them for a special occasion.

​Then I made the conscious decision to burn the candles…Game changer!

Some might dispute this, but I honestly think I get more done and am more relaxed when there is a nose-thrilling scent and a warm glow in the nearby area.

But what to do with old candle jars whose wax has served its time? Don’t throw them away just yet!

How to clean jar candles: A jar candle burning to the bottom of the container.

Those beautiful glass containers can be easily cleaned and repurposed, giving them a new life and saving you money on new storage solutions.

Gather close, my friend, near the glowing candle on my desk, and let me share how to clean candle jars and how to repurpose them in your home!

Do you love to repurpose things? I love to find a new purpose for something that has (seemingly) served its time! How about turning an Ikea utility cart into a bar cart? Or, giving an old file cabinet a makeover with house numbers? Click HERE to see all sorts of craft and DIY projects!

How Do You Clean the Inside of a Candle Jar?

There are several ways to remove the wax from inside a candle jar to clean it for future use. My foolproof “works 99% of the time” is the freezer method. However, for hard-to-remove wax, I’m including other methods you can try.

Chill Out and Clean: The Freezer Method for Wax Removal

First, burn your candle until the wax has melted across the surface. Once you’ve enjoyed that delightful aroma, let the jar and leftover wax cool for a bit to room temperature.

Next, pop it into the freezer for a few hours. As the wax chills, the frozen wax will shrink and pull away from the jar’s sides, making it a breeze to remove.

It’s always fun to see your candle jar nestled among frozen green beans and bacon!

How to clean jar candles: Using the freezer method, a glass candle jar has been placed in a freezer and sits among bacon and green beans.

Just grab a butter knife or a spoon to gently pry the wax out of the jar. Be careful not to scratch the glass.  The wax will lift right out. Sometimes in wax pieces but it comes out!

Use a butter knife to pry the frozen wax from the candle jar in order to clean it.
Removing the wax pieces from the candle jar.

Voila! Your jar is now wax-free and ready for a new life. Clean, simple, and no fuss – just the way we like it!

How to clean jar candles: A glass candle jar with wax remnants laying on the counter.

Soapy Solutions: Melting Away Wax in a Snap!

I had another candle jar just like the first and the freezer method only worked for the large pieces of was. On to method #2!

For candle jars with stubborn wax residue, try the hot water and soap method. 

Start by warming up some water, in a tea kettle,  but don’t let it boil. 

Pour the warm water into the jar, ensuring it covers the remaining wax. Let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the heat to work its wonders. The softened wax should now be easy to scoop out with a knife, spoon, or spatula. 

How to clean candle jars: Pouring hot water into jar to melt the wax.
How to clean candle jars: Prying the wet wax from the edge of the jar.

For the finishing touch, a dash of dish soap helps remove any residual wax. Give it a good rinse, and ta-da – your candle jar is now a blank canvas ready for its next adventure. Easy, right? 

You can also fill a sink or a basin with hot soapy water. Submerge the candle jars in the soapy water and let them sit for about 15-20 minutes. The heat and soap will help loosen the wax, making it easier to remove.

After soaking, use a sponge or a soft cloth to scrub the inside and outside of the jars, paying special attention to the rims and corners. Rinse the jars with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Boil and Banish: Wax Be Gone!

If you’re dealing with particularly stubborn wax or adhesive residue, boiling water can be your secret weapon. 

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. The easiest way is to use a double boiler but I have never had issues with using a regular pot sitting in a few inches of hot water.

Carefully place the candle jar in the pot, ensuring that the bottom of the jar is fully submerged. Let it simmer for a few minutes, allowing the boiling water to melt the remaining wax. Use tongs and an oven mitt or dish towel to remove the jar from the pot. Be cautious as the jar will be hot. 

How to clean jar candles: Placing a glass jar candle in a pan of warm water.

Once removed, use a paper towel or a cloth to wipe away the melted wax from the empty jar.

Another Tip! The boiling water method can also help with removing stubborn sticky labels or adhesive residue from the side or bottom of the jar. Simply soak the jar in the boiling water, and the heat will loosen the glue, making it easier to peel off!

How do You Get Melted Wax Off Glass?

Sometimes, once you get the big pieces of old wax out of the jar, there is a leftover residue on the inside glass, Here are some easy ways to remove the excess wax and enjoy clear glass!

Citrus Oil or Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball or a cloth in citrus oil or white vinegar and rub it along the inside of the jar. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it with water.

The citrus oil or vinegar will help neutralize any remaining scent, leaving your candle jar fresh and ready for its new purpose.

Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste-like consistency. Apply the paste to the stained areas of the jar and let it sit for a few minutes.

Use a sponge or a soft cloth to scrub the paste in circular motions, focusing on the problem areas. Rinse the jar with water to remove the baking soda residue.

How to clean candle jars: white vinegar is an effective way to clean the inside of a candle jar.
How to clean candle jars: A box of baking soda used to make a cleaning paste.

Commercial Products: Apply a small amount of a commercial cleaning product to the interior of the jar and gently rub it in. Then, rinse the jar with warm water.

Within no time, you’ll have a sparkling clean candle jar, completely free from any lingering wax residue.

My favorite cleaners: I’ve tried many cleaners for goo and gunk but my favorites are The Pink Stuff, Goo Gone, and BioCleaner!

Using a product called "The Pink Stuff" to remove wax residue from aa jar candle.

What to Do with Empty Candle Jars

Now that you know how to clean candle jars effectively, it’s time to explore their countless possibilities for reuse. From functional storage of everyday items to charming decorative accents, the options for a used candle jar are endless. 

So let’s jazz up those cleaned candle jars! Once your jars are wax-free and gleaming, the decorating possibilities are endless!

Elegant Bath Salts Storage

I love to incorporate simple budget-friendly spa bath decorating ideas into our primary bathroom. Elevate your bathroom decor by using candle jars as stylish storage for bathroom essentials. Fill them with bath salts, bath bombs, or even small toiletries. Arrange them on a tray or shelf for a spa-like feel in your own home.

I loved the apothecary style label so much on this jar that I left it on!

Bath salts stored in a clean repurposed jar candle with tthe label intact.

Candle Jars as Makeup Brush Containers

Candle jars with a narrow neck are perfect for corraling smaller items. Once you have burned the candle, clean out the wax and put it to good use.

A pink candle jar sitting on a shelf in front of some propped artwork.

Keep your vanity organized by using candle jars to hold your makeup brushes. Place them on your dressing table and fill them with beads, rice, or sand to keep the brushes anchored in the jar.

Not only will this keep your brushes easily accessible, but it will also add a touch of elegance to your beauty routine.

A pink candle jar holding makeup brushes.

Candle Jars as Planters

Upcycle your empty candle jars into charming planters for your indoor plants!

Fill them with a layer of gravel or small stones for drainage, and plant your favorite succulents.

Sometimes I don’t even bother to remove the plant from the grow pot that it came in!

A white candle container upcycled to hold a plant.

Check out my 5 Favorite Easy Care Indoor Plants That Are Hard to Kill…and One That Defies the Odds!

Flower Vase

Transform your empty candle jars into charming mini vases for fresh or faux flowers.

Jar candles are watertight so fresh flowers will thrive and faux flowers…well, just pop them in!

A candle jar with a lid sitting on top of a piano.
A candle jar holding faux flowers and sitting on a piano.

This is also a great tip for repurposing candle diffuser jars. You can create a charming and inexpensive flower display using multiple jars and simple faux flower stems.

I invite you to follow me on social media for more repurposing, craft projects, recipes, and home decorating ideas! You can find me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube!

Storage for All Things Small

Empty candle jars make great storage for those small things that just need a tidy little home.

For example, a great idea is to store dishwasher tabs in a taller candle jar.

Placing dishwasher tabs for storage in a glass candle jar container.

The same idea is true for simple glass containers. I did an entire post on What to Put in Decorative Glass Containers in the Kitchen. Check it out!

Candle Jar Lid DIY

Give the lid of a clean candle jar a quick makeover. This Christmas candle was a beautiful white jar that had a slightly humorous wood candle lid. (It seemed much funnier in the store!)

A whimsical wood candle jar lid witth the phrawse "feliz navidog " written on top.
How to clean a candle jar: Use a knife to pry frozen wax from the jar.
Taping around the perimeter of aa candle jar lid with painters tape.

I spray-painted the lid in a dark navy color and hot glued a used wine cork to the top for an instant tea caddy!

Spray painting the wood lid of an empty and clean glass candle jar.
Hot glueing a used wine cork to the top of the wood candle jar lid to repurpose the candle jar as a tea caddy.

Tea time! (This would be great for holding office supplies as well!)

How to clean candle jars: Remove the wax and repurpose as a storage container for tea bags.

Click HERE for a quick and easy DIY that turns a candle lid into a beautiful coaster!

Candle Jar as a Tea Light Candle Holder

This jar held a candle at one point. Why not let it hold one again?

Simply place tea lights or battery-operated candles inside the jars. The glass will diffuse the light, creating a warm and inviting glow.

Placing a tea light into an empty clean candle jar.
A lighted tea light in an empty candle jar.

Matchstick Striker Jar

I used another of the same jar to create a matchstick striker jar.

Place a match striker paper patch on the bottom of the candle jar and fill the jar with colored safety matches. There are so many fun match colors available, your new matchstick jar has both form and function!

Placing a striker sticker on the bottom of a candle jar.
Striking a match on a match striker candle jar.
A match striker jar holding turquoise safety matches.

I always have a candle burning when I am in the kitchen and love having the matches nearby!

A lighted jar candle sitting sitting beside a DIY match striker jar.

 Your candle jars have undergone a fantastic transformation from wax remnants to versatile decor pieces!

With these simple yet creative ideas, you can give your empty candle jars a new purpose and reduce waste at the same time. 

Here’s to the beauty of recycling and adding a personal touch to your space – may your cleaned candle jars bring joy and warmth to every corner of your home!


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  1. AMAZING tips, Missy!! I had no idea you could put the jar in the freezer…genius!! I LOVE all of your ideas for re-using jars but that match striker idea is SO good!! And the planter…I enjoyed this!! Thanks so much for sharing this one!!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! I got tired of chasing down tiny boxes of matches so the candle jar striker born! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Good tips! I have also been saving some of the glass candle jars after the candle burns to the end. I have been using them for bathroom storage for Q tips, cotton balls, etc. Others I use with a tea light.

    1. These are all excellent ideas, Pat! You can never have enough bathroom storage and candle jars can look so pretty!

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