It’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with candles. I always have one burning and love switching them up, depending on my mood.
This, of course, has turned me into a bit of a paranoiac. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, only to get up and check that I’ve put out all the candles. But hey, better safe than sorry, right?
I love reusing my candle cars for things like storing some beauty bits, hair pins, makeup brushes, etc.
The topic of keeping those candle jars clean and soot-free has come up on my Instagram a few times, so I thought I’d write this quick post.
Trim your wick
If you don’t already do this, trim your wick so that it’s the length of about 1/4 inch. I trim my candle wicks before each use. By doing this, your candle will not leave as much soot (the black residue) behind. If any of my candles do end up with any soot, I wipe it off with a paper towel (after the candle has cooled off completely, of course!). You can use small scissors for this or a candle wick trimmer. This is one of the most important things to do, if you want to keep your candles/jars clean.
This is what an evenly-burned, tunnel-free candle should look like.
If you get your candle to burn evenly, you’ll have less trouble removing any wax left behind once your candle is completely burnt. The first time you burn your candle is the most important “burn”. You want to make sure that you burn it for at least 2 hours (this will depend on the size of the candle, of course). The reason for this, is that you want the wax to burn/melt all the way to the edges of the candle. Otherwise, the wax will start to tunnel and next time you burn your candle, it will be impossible to get an even burn.
I also usually avoid burning my candles for longer than 4 hours at a time.
Get that wax out
When you follow the above steps, cleaning out your used up candles is very easy. I usually have very little wax left behind and just scoop it out with a spoon. If there is a lot of wax left behind (like with Bath & Body Works candles, they never burn all the way), I put the jars in a freezer for a few hours- your candle has to be cooled off COMPLETELY when doing this. After a few hours, I just use a butter knife to pop the wax out, and usually keep it so that I can melt it in one of these.
Clean it up
Sometimes (or… most of the time) there is still some wax residue on the sides of the jar, after removing the wax and what’s left of the wick. That’s when I reach for acetone. I just take a piece of paper towel, soak it in nail polish remover, and clean the inside of the candle jar. It works like a dream in removing any excess soot and/or wax and leaves the jar squeaky clean. I then wash it with some soap and pat it dry.
Keep in mind that I only use the acetone on the INSIDE of the jar. If your candle jar has logo stickers/prints of any kind, and you use acetone on it, you’ll end up removing the logo. I actually use acetone to remove price stickers whenever I buy candles from Marshalls or TJMaxx. For some strange reason, they like to place them right on the “face” of the candle.
Now, “designer” candles aren’t the only ones I like to re-purpose, but truth be told some of my all-time favorite candles (like Black Bamboo by Village Candles) come in jars with awkward shapes, so I don’t usually end up keeping those and just recycle them.
This is pretty much all I do when repurposing candle jars. The whole process is definitely much easier, when you “look after” your candles while burning them.