A long time ago, I had been hunting for old mason jars for candleholders for part of our wedding decor. I came across a box of jars at a garage sale for a quarter! I thought I had hit gold because this box was huge and probably held about 30 jars. As I peered in, I could see that the jars were covered on the inside from candlewax. Apparently, someone had had the same idea as me...
Let's face it - candlewax can be a bitch to get out. Can I say that here? It needs to be said. It's a tough, gripping substance that clings to wherever it settled. But I had hope for these jars, and my thought was that worse case scenario, I was only going to put another candle in them, so who cared if there was already wax on the bottom? When I brought the box home, my lovely husband-to-be sprung to my side and told me that a long time ago when he worked for a restaurant, they had had to clean the wax out of glass candleholders all the time and that a cold water bath was the way to go.
So today, I'm going to walk you through my wax-waning process which turned out to be quite simple!
Here are a few of the jars that I needed to clean. You can see that there is quite a bit of wax on the bottom of these. I'm assuming that a votive or tea light was placed in these, and this is how the wax melted.
Here's an even closer look. There is a LOT of wax here. Way more than a scrape of a butter knife or a fingernail can handle.
And if you still didn't believe me or wanted an even CLOSER look at the wax, check out the bottom of this jar which is completely covered.
To combat this problem, I filled my sink with an ice bath. I used all the ice we had on hand which happened to be quite a bit, but if you've only got one or two trays of ice, you may want to go get a bag of ice from the store. One small bag should be enough to clean all the wax out of your candleholders. I filled my sink up about a third of the way, and then put a little ice water in each of the jars and let them sit in the ice bath for about 2 minutes to get the wax good and cold. The egg heads of the world could tell you that what is happening is that the wax is contracting because of the change in temperature making it easier to pop out of the jar.
Next, you'll need some long, pointed object to pick away at the ice. I dismantled an old pair of kitchen shears, but you could use a butter knife or something else. It worked best if I used the pointed edge to break up the wax a little followed by trying to squeeze the point around the perimeter of the jar. It was kind of fun to watch the wax break up and then make a little pop out of the mold.
Et voila! This jar is clear! (Say that with the lady's voice from Polterguiest.) The waxy leftover was dumped back into my sink...MOMENTARILY! After I went through the wax removal process with all my jars, I had a sink full of cold water with wax bits floating everywhere. THESE SHOULD NOT GO DOWN YOUR DRAIN. You will end up with moderate to severe plumbing problems when that wax builds up in your drain pipes. Instead, take a strainer or mesh or even your hands to get all the wax out of the water (it should mostly be floating) and throw it away. Then you can drain the water.
This whole process will also come in handy when it comes time to remove wax from candleholders after your own wedding. I know that some rental companies will charge you less if you clean out your own wax before returning the candleholders.
And while we're on the subject of wax, if you end up with wax on fabric (tablecloths most likely), you can get it up if you put a piece of newspaper over the fabric and iron the area. The wax will be soaked up into the newspaper leaving your fabric back to its previous condition. Yay!!
I hope this little process proves useful for you, dear readers. What other practical cleaning processes have come into play for your own weddings? Share on the message boards!