Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wax On. Wax Off.

Good Morning! Well...I guess it's not morning everywhere, but it is here. So, Good Morning! 

Have you voted to help determine the winner of the Pinstrosity Challenge yet? If not, go do it!

This whole Upcylce and Reuse movement that's going on has led to some pretty fun ideas and crafts. Sometimes it reminds me of the Depression verse "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" (can you imagine how much money everyone would save if we all lived by that). I have a box of things that normally would have gone in the trash but now they're waiting to be used for some grand new idea (I really do make things from that box...the proof is here). This Pinstrosity submission gave me more ideas of Upcycle projects to do...only I have to finish burning the candles I have.

The Original Pin
The cold temperature will cause the wax to shrink and loosen from the sides of the jar. Get a dull knife and carefully stab the wax to break it apart.
http://snapguide.com/guides/remove-residual-candle-wax-from-candle-jars/
How many of us have burned a candle down to the bottom and have a lovely little jar with a small layer of wax at the bottom (and on the sides-not because fingers have been dipped in the melted wax of course)? Okay, I currently don't but that's because I was given quite a few candles all at once and I haven't gotten to the bottom of any of them. But I will before too long. Lizzy had  a few lying around and saw a pin on how to get the residue wax out and decided to give it a try. 

"I'm not really into manual labor, so I very rarely DIY. But i saw this pin and thought it was a no-brainer, plus I have several candle jars with like 2 mm of wax left, and it felt like a waste not to try this one out. Directions were easy: pop into the freezer, pull out, scrape, peel label, voila! I planned on turning my jar into a mini flower vase." 


"So I put mine in the freezer, I take a dull knife out, and as I begin to scrape out the wax, I see that it's frozen solid and ready to slide out. Easiest. Pin. Ever. "


The Pinstrosity

"But apparently, I squeezed the glass a little too hard, and the glass shattered in my hands. Something so simple, a toddler could have done it, and I end up almost slicing my hand open."

"The problem: Perhaps it was too frozen? The directions said to leave the jar in for an hour and than jokingly, the author notes that s/he left in for days by accident. So did I because I totally forgot about it for about 4 days."

The glass being really cold could definitely have been the cause of it's breaking. As things get colder their particles contract and pull closer together causing a high level of brittleness in some cases (like with glass). I don't think it's terribly common to be able to squeeze a cold glass and have a break, but if there was already some structural damage (a chip, a small fracture, or sometimes even an air bubble) the glass can be weakened enough where it will shatter easy. 

The idea of the pin sounds plausible and easy enough. It's a new method to me, but I know chipping away at a frozen glass would make me a little nervous (I'm a little clumsy sometimes). Let me share a few other ways to get rid of the candle remains from those pretty little jars. At the end I'll tell you how to get the thin residue layer of wax off the sides. 

1. Microwave Method: Put the jar in the microwave and nuke it for about 30 seconds. The wax should melt enough that it can be popped out with a butter knife. I've nuked a jar longer than that so the wax is melted all the way and then I pull the jar out (with hot pads of course...DON'T just grab it with your bare hand) and I stuff napkins in to absorb the melted wax. 

2. Place the jar in a pot of boiling water (make sure the jar is room temp) or in an oven at 200F. Let the wax melt either to wear it is easy to pry out or allow to melt completely and then remove the jar with hot pads. Either pour out the wax (in a paper cup or the trash, NOT the drain as it will make instant clogs) or soak/wipe it out.  

3. Wikihow suggests to "Pour boiling water into the jar. The wax will melt and float to the top. Leave the jar for a few hours, and when you come back the water will have cooled and the solid wax will be floating on top."

After removing the main chunk(s) of wax, there will likely still be a residual sheen of wax on the jar. This can be removed with hot soap water, baby oil, or olive oil. If there is still a strong smell leftover from the candle that you want to get rid of pour baking soda OR vinegar (NOT both) in the jar and let it sit overnight and wash it well in the morning. 

And one final method I recently discovered to rid the jar of the extra wax: leave a candle up-side-down in your car on a hot summer day and the wax will melt out of the jar. Yeah...don't try that one actually.

                    
                     

32 comments:

  1. This has always worked for me. I don't usually need a dull knife. I push one side with my fingers. I don't let it freeze for 4 days, though.

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  2. I must admit I have had the fruitiest smelling yet filmy sticky cars using your final method on several unintentional occasions. I guess you can say it went from wax removal to upcycled car freshener!

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  3. I've totally accidently done the car method. Tip: if you live in florida dont buy candles and decide to go out to eat right after. :/ At least the car smelled pretty.

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  4. I have always used this method also. It never takes an hour, and I break up the wax once frozen with a butter knife usually. 4 days...I'd probably let it warm up a bit before trying to remove...

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  5. Putting boiling water into a jar can be a bad idea. It can make the jar crack or even explode if it's glass. If you're going to do that then a better idea is to warm the glass by putting it in the oven with the water in it (assuming it's oven safe for low temps). The wax will still melt, but the heat will rise gradually enough that the glass can expand throughout.

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  6. I've had good luck with nothing more than hot tap water.

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  7. I frequently use the freezer method. If I forget and leave it in longer than an hour (yes, it happens all too often), I just allow it to warm up slightly for 10 minutes or so. It also makes a difference what kind of glass holder you are using. Thin little (cheaper) ones to have a tenancy to snap but I've never broken a thick Yankee jar (yet!).

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  8. An easier method is just to put the candle into a bowl of very hot (not boiling) water. It will make the wax just soft enough to get it out without harming yourself. You'll need to wiggle the wax around a little bit to get it out.

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  9. I've rarely had a problem with the freezer technic I make a lot of candles throughout the year and many of my container candles were reused containers because I'm sorry $1 for a candle and container at the dollar store... I can't beat that. It really does not matter how long you leave your candles in for I've forgotten about them for months because I've been too busy. Often of the wax does not just move either 1 you have very thin layer of wax which is admittedly a bit harder to deal with or 2 it's too thick. If you can't loosen it from the sides then truthfully I normally just break it in the middle. That looked like a pretty thin glass container so chances are you just put too much pressure it's hard to say. The boiling out technic works also BUT I highly suggest you set a side a pot that you will be doing this in because when the wax boils out it has this tendency to want to stay in the pot especially if you are using a non-stick pot but any pot really you will be working for awhile to get rid of that film left by the wax.
    The big thing really is that if you are working with more delicate glass not to rush it or force it and remember the bottoms of most containers are much thicker than the sides so you might have to get inventive.
    IF you are going to be boiling out your containers then please be careful it is just like canning if you stick it in there while the container is cold it will crack if not explode.
    :)

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  10. The thing that has always worked for me is to just break up the wax in the jar at room temperature (like you are cutting up a pie). I've done it several times, never an issue with getting the wax out or breaking the jar. Then washed it with regular warm soapy water and it was perfectly clean.

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  11. Microwaving wax is NOT a good idea because the microwave's heat is not even and hot spots can burst into flame. I usually set my oven on about 100 F and put a newspaper on a rimmed baking sheet. Turn candleholder upside down on the newspaper and put in oven for a half-hour. Remaining residue can be washed out with hot water.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, I was going to chime in on the microwave method this because I've had some flare-ups in my own microwave. I tried it successfully a few times, but then one time the metal attached to the wick kept sparking and the other time the paper label scorched. Consider yourself warned.

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    2. I would agree to stay away from the microwave with this one! When I was younger I though this exact same thing about keeping the pretty candle jar - the wax got so hot in the microwave that as soon as I hit the open button (old school , no 'stop' button) the wax / microwave exploded in flames! It caught that half of the kitchen on fire. Upside - the firemen said it was the best smelling fire they ever had to put out. :/

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  12. I sold Partylite candles for several years and the a trick I found that works the best is to simply run hot tap water in the holder for a few minutes, then use a bread knife to genlty push the wax out of the holder. No breaking & a simple solution.

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  13. I just recently used the freezing method with my beautiful coffee table arrangement. My jars; however, are colored in an ombre sort of way. When I used the butter knife to scrape out the wax I found out that the jars are painted on the inside and, while scraping the wax, I was also scraping the paint off the inside of my jars.

    So, I moved to another method. I used really hot water straight from my faucet. Fill a bowl up with the hot hot water, set the jar in the water, fill the jar with hot hot water too, and let it sit for just a little while. I pushed the wax with my fingers and it slide right out. If it didn't push easily enough, or if I let the wax cool by forgetting about it sitting in the bowl, I let it sit again with hot water.

    I for one am very nervous about pouring boiling water into my jars, setting them in the oven, or microwaving them. I have SUPER bad luck when it comes to things I think are a good idea, so I use very cautious methods when I do anything that might sound like I could really do some damage.

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  14. I have used the freeze method, and never had a problem with it. It works really well if you have a tart burner.

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    1. I've always used the freezer method, too--but I'm usually pretty good about leaving the candles in the freezer for just a couple/few hours.

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  15. I use the freezer technique...sometimes leaving the jar in the freezer for weeks (because I forget). I have never had the jar break on me before. I think where this project went wrong...the 'scraping' part. I wouldn't scrape that frozen jar if my life depended on it.

    When you take the jar out of the freezer...no matter how long it's been in there (Martha Stewart says 3-4 minutes, I keep it in there until I take it out)...use a butter knife to break up the wax. Just stick the knife into the wax and try to get the pieces to break up. Don't scrape the jar when it's cold! The mission is just to break up the wax when it's frozen. After it's completely broken up and you've thrown the wax away, wait until the jar is warm again before 'scraping' or washing it out.

    I've been doing this for years and it has worked every single time.

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  16. Just buy a candle warmer, they aren't expensive ($5), and the glass used for these types of candles is tempered. The warmer will melt the wax uniformly, which can then be poured out, and then wiped out with a paper towel.

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  17. I've never had a problem with the freezer method. A couple of chips and the entire thing of leftover wax comes out. Maybe the jar she had was a thinner glass?

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  18. Glass can crack easily with extreme temperature changes. That being said, I've frozen candle holders and gotten wax out no problem, so with a little caution it should be fine :) I'm guessing it was the length of it being in the freezer and then suddenly changing temps when removed.

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  19. Yeah this one is a little traumatic to me. My husband once tried to dig the wax out of a frozen votive like the ones above. He ended up with a steak knife in his hand and a trip to the ER when the glass broke. Not a good idea people.

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  20. Actually i do this all the time, and you dont even have to
    use a knife, or break it, or anything at all, If you set the
    candle holder upside down in the freezer then freeze it it will
    just pop out and fall down when it freezes. the thicker ones i had to tap
    lightly upside down but not so hard as to break the glass. (:

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  21. I use to do the freezer method for years, actually seen it on martha stewart I believe, or on HGTV. Then I tried the boiling water in the jar, and it was much easier, I just dumped the remains in get this: an empty milk jug. Its big enough to hold all the water and liquid wax, plus when your done, you can easily put the cap on it and toss it. Easiest thing ever I don't have the time to wait since I Have a one and a half year old running around, just had about an hour to do it while he was napping.

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  22. I actually tried this today before I saw this fail! Haha! Did NOT work at all...but I did find (and it DID work) if you put the candle jar in a pot with a little water in it and heat it on the stove it will melt allowing you to pour it out. Or, better yet, if you have a wax warmer, once the wax is able to come out of the jar if not completely melted then you can put it in your wax warmer and use it that way!

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  23. The method I use is pouring boiled water from my kettle into the glass, the wax melts and rises up, let cool and harden and you just pop the wax puck out!

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  24. I used to sell candles way back and we always recommended running warm-hot water on the bottom for a minute or so and then popping out with a knife. The freezer usually works - but this is quicker.

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  25. Another vote for the freezer method, sans stabbing things with knives. I've used the freezer method for super thin, cheap candle holders and set a timer (for those of you that are prone to forget for days: http://timer.onlineclock.net/. Seriously. Use it). After an hour, I just wiggled the little bit of wick left sticking up and the whole thing popped right out!

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  26. If the goal is to reuse the jars, I always find myself making new candles.
    If you're like me you not only burn candles in jars but pillar candles as well, and you end up with a lot of extra wax as well as mostly empty jars. I went out and bought some wicks at the local craft store, melted the wax out of my jars by placing them in pans of hot water and then pouring the wax directly into another jar with a wick set up in it.
    You don't always get the prettiest results but you will get completely functional candles.

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  27. This Pintrosity definitely looks like something I would do! I have found that putting a little dish soap and water in glass candle holders overnight works really well. I usually squeeze a little soap in, fill the rest with warm water and let it sit in my sink... and USUALLY the next morning the layer of wax is floating on the top :)

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  28. I have done this for years, but only with candles from partylite. It doesn't really work for other brands, but it always work with partylite candles.

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  29. I recently used these last method, but just used nearly boiling water and poured it into the candle jars. Within minutes the wax slowly melted and rose to the top. Let the water cool completely and never pour the hot water down the sink as it is filled with melted wax. Once the water has cooled down, the wax will be settled on top and you can easily dispose of it!

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