I just discovered this genius hack for cleaning old candle jars using hot water – I can't believe I didn't try it sooner

Repurpose your spent candles with no fuss

Candles and jars on a wooden shelf beside a vase of tulips
(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

Candles are a must-have for my home to instantly set the mood and flood the space with lovely scents. However, at the end of their term, cleaning leftover wax from used candle jars can sometimes feel like more hassle than it's worth. That was until I discovered a genius hack to clean old candle jars easily.

As we're right in the middle of candle season – categorised by early nights and chilly weather – I can only imagine that like me you've probably gone through too many of your best scented candles to count. While there are countless ways to reuse candle jars, none will work well without first cleaning your spent candle.

The secret to easily cleaning leftover wax from a candle jar? Hot water. I tried the method out myself, and let's say I was very pleasantly surprised.

Glass vase of flowers beside a picture of a flower on a grey shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

Cleaning candle jar with hot water method

The method is simple: Use your best kettle to boil some water. Once it's boiled, pour the boiling water into the candle jar around half or two-thirds of the way and make sure it covers all the leftover wax. The wax will melt and slowly float to the top (this was personally my favourite part to watch when I tried it out myself).

Once the wax is solid, it should easily separate from the jar by just putting some pressure on it, allowing you to remove it in chunks or with a kitchen utensil. You can then easily pick out the wick from the bottom of the jar, too.

Then, pour the rest of the water out and give the jar a good clean with some warm, soapy water.


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It's quick, easy, and fuss-free. Better yet, experts agree with the clever cleaning hack.

Commenting on this method for cleaning candle jars, Petya Holevich, domestic cleaning expert and supervisor at Fantastic Services assures that 'using hot water to clean leftover wax from the inside of a used candle can be an effective and practical method, especially if you don't have anything else on hand'.

Using hot water to clean leftover wax from candle jars is best suited for candles with wax that easily solidifies – like paraffin or soy wax – and may sometimes need to be repeated a few times for more stubborn wax. When I tried this, I had to redo one of my candles twice to completely remove the leftover wax.

A collection of lit candles on tabletop

(Image credit: Future PLC)

However, she does extend some general precautions to be wary about before partaking in this hack. 'This method is most effective for jars made of glass or other heat-resistant materials, so you'll need to be cautious if you're working with delicate or easily breakable jars as sudden temperature changes can make them crack,' cautions Petya.

Also, this goes without saying but it's also important to ensure that no wax goes down the drain when you're emptying the jar of water (unless you want to deal with the glamorous task of unblocking a sink, that is).

Candles and jars on a wooden shelf beside a vase of tulips

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

Overall, using hot water to clean leftover wax from a candle jar is a convenient, eco-friendly, and natural cleaning hack certainly worth considering. Now, trying that viral DIY matchbox hack using an upcycled candle jar isn't such a faraway dream.

Having tried this method myself, it's for sure joining my roster long-term to aid with the task of repurposing my many, many empty candle jars.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.