How to Clean Glass Candle Holders: Or No More Icky Wax!

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How to Clean Glass Candle HoldersDon’t you just hate it when your candles burn down and the wax gets all over your pretty candle holders?

Yeah. Me, too.

And do you let them sit there for ten years and just stick new tealights over the old, crusty wax?

{Speaking of crusty, have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Homer’s eyes go crusty? OMG. Disgustingly hilarious… It still makes me feel queasy just thinking about it!}

Annnnnnnnyway…. I finally got off my derrière and cleaned these little tea lights that serve as our Advent Wreath. {Which I guess I’ll show you next year.}

It really just take a few minutes!

Step 1


  • Fill a shallow pan with water and heat on medium-low until steamy.

{Maybe not the rolling boil you see below. BE CAREFUL! Don’t overheat your glass and shatter it, yo. }

  • Place your glass holders in the water.

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  • Be super attentive and watch as the wax melts.

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Step 2


  • When the wax is all melty and runny, pull the pan off the heat.

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  • Carefully pour the hot wax into a disposable container.
  • Protect your hands!  The glass will be hot.

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  • If you didn’t get all the wax out, return the holders to the water bath and steam upside down.

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Step 3


  • When you feel as if you’ve gotten most of the wax off, rinse with hot soapy water and scrub if necessary.

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  • Dry thoroughly and scrape off any leftover residue.

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  • If they still aren’t completely clean, just return to the water bath and steam again!

It only took twice before I was happy with my clean {and now shiny} holders!

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This is one of those little jobs that I kept putting off and, once I was done, was kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

Do you have a different way of cleaning wax off glass?  Let’s talk about it down below in the comments!

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  1. this is perfect because i used to always use the freezer method but it doesn’t work for soy which is all i buy now!

  2. To clean my brass & silver candle sticks I use a hair dryer. The heat from the hair dryer melts the wax, which I then wipe off with paper towels. Super easy!

    1. That’s a great tip, Theresa! I have some brass holders that need some care… I’ll have to try it out!

  3. What a great idea! Candles always come in such beautiful glass containers, now I can reuse them!!

  4. i just stick the candleholder in the freezer for about an hour. then i take it out and the wax pops out. sometimes you have to use a knife to pry it out but it usually comes out in 1 piece

  5. THere’s an easier way. I just pour rubbing alcohol into the jar and wait a few minutes….and out pops the wax. I use 91% alcohol. It’s also great for removing labels from bottles, removing hot glue, ect.

    1. I think this method is the safest to use with crystal candle holders, votives etc. My crystal “snowball” votives from Iitala (super $$), cracked when I put them in a sink of hot (not boiling!!) water from the tap!! It made me worried to even use the freezer method. I can’t wait to try this alcohol method! Thank you for sharing this!

  6. This is amazing. I was just saying how I really hated that I couldn’t get rid of that nasty old wax at the bottom of my holders, and here I come across your pin! Thanks so much for the tip!

  7. When reusing glass candleholders, (as pictured, etc) a drop or two of water in the bottom of holder, before placing candle in the holder, allows for quick release of cold wax. Preventing any messy clean up! 🙂 Works every time!

    1. I’ll have to try that out, Elizabeth! Thanks for the tip!

  8. You can use furniture polish as well to clean the leftover wax from the candle holders after you get the big chunks out. Just spray into the glass holder and wipe out with a paper towel. I use it periodically as the candle is used for maintenance of the holder. Before I light the candle, I spray the furniture polish on a paper towel and wipe out the inside of the glass. It removes the thin layer of wax and also the black sooty reside that collects on the glass.

  9. If you put s little water in the candleholder you just pour the water with the melted wax right out…no sticking and no mess.

  10. Hello,

    I started my own candle company almost a year ago, it has been A LOT of trial & error. I make 100% Soy wax candles, 1 because soy wax is biodegradable & reusable and helps the soybean farmers. 2. It’s EcoFriendly 3. I wanted people to only have to throw away the wick tab which saves on the trash that goes to the dump which in turn helps Mother Earth. Anyway, I test all my candles myself before selling them to ensure burn time & that the wicks burn properly without tunneling, or the lovely wax drowning the wick. The wicks I use are self trimming so the only time you will need a scissor is when you trim it the first time & they are low smoke so no black soot on your containers. If there is any wax left in the container I just run hot water into the container for a few minutes, then wash it out with warm water & soap. Voila!!! The container is reusable!!! Also Soy Wax is easier to clean up off of pretty much any surface with warm water & soap.

  11. I zap mine in the microwave for a few seconds until the wax is warm and wipe out with a paper towel

  12. I place all my votives in the freezer overnight. Next day wax just pops out. Wash and dry. Nice and clean.

  13. I use the dishwasher method… as long as the glass fits in the dishwasher I pop them into the dishwasher and once the very hot cycle is complete you have sparkling clean and wax free glass.

  14. its easier to just stick in the freezer. When frozen take a butter knife and pop it out. Any leftover you can use hot soapy water. No need for several hot water baths

  15. When my candles are finished i simply wipe them out with a baby wipe.Simple as that

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