Cleaning out your 3 wick candle jars for re-use


A quick and easy how-to to get you re-using those gorgeous glass jars in no time.

Let me introduce you to your Jar cleaning sidekick: Goo Gone.

This is the only thing that possibly isn’t already your house (bonus points if you already have it, you’re ready to go!). I bought the 16oz bottle and have probably cleaned out 12+ jars so far and as you can see, not much is missing (below).

A quick and easy how-to to get you re-using those gorgeous glass jars in no time.

Cleaning out the jar

While numerical, most of these can be done in whatever order you find to be easiest, so get in your own routine and roll with it! I suggest setting up in a utility sink, or a metal sink if you have one (versus a porcelain one, like typically in your bathroom). Metal sinks don’t really get phased by chemicals as much, so better safe than sorry.

1. Spray Goo Gone generously on the front and bottom labels. The bottom one especially, since it is paper, unlike the plastic one on the side.

2. Spray Goo Gone generously along the entire perimeter of where the wax meets the glass.

3. Add about 1/2 inch of hot water to the inside of the jar once you’ve applied the Goo Gone.

4. Let the water sit in for 20 minutes, or until the water gets lukewarm. I’ve tried the process without this step and have had WAY better success when letting the hot water help the Goo Gone get underneath the wax.


5. I will commonly put the hot watery/Goo Gone jar in my kitchen sink, and come back hours later having forgot about it and as such it’s a cinch to scoop out. It’s an easy set-it-and-let-it-sit craft, and much easier than trying to force the wax out without any chemical help. I’ve actually broken a jar that I was leveraging the flat head screw driver on because it was not loosened properly first; the pressure of the knife on the edge cracked it. Broken glass = no bueno, give the Goo Gone the time it needs to work. If you’re not sure, always give it extra time.

6. Once the water has cooled, dump it out and begin to peel the labels from the bottom and side.

7. Take a butter knife (some people use a flat head screw driver too, but I recommend the butter knife) and cut the wax in half and then again as needed, I usually make 2-3 slices. Cutting into smaller pieces will make it easier to pop up the remaining wax.

8. Once the wax is chopped up, use the butter knife to pop it up and out of the jar. If you’ve let it sit for long enough most of the wax should come out without much of a fight.three-wick-candle-jar-cleaning-screw-driver

9. What may give you trouble are the bases of the wicks. They like to stick to the glass extra hard. I believe those are actually glued down when they’re made versus the wax which is just poured in. After all of the wax is out, if the wicks aren’t budging, spray some more Goo Gone in, add a little more hot water, and let sit. Better safe than with a broken jar/

10. If you were able to get the wicks and the wax out, and the labels off, congrats! You did it! My last recommendation is to run them through your next dish washer load just to really give it a full cleansing. Hand washing also works! Just put extra elbow grease into it to be sure the Goo Gone is completely gone.

Cleaning the lid

Far simpler than the jar, and should take all of 30 seconds.


1. Remove the burn marks from the inside of the lid. While not necessary for re-use, think about what you’ll be putting in there. If it’s food, you will want to give this a well-deserved clean.

2. To remove the burn marks I recommend a harder bristled brush, like the one pictured below. That and a little dish soap and you are set.

cleaning-three-wick-candle-lids3. Throw it on the top rack of your next dish washer load. Or hand wash, these aren’t as important to scrub extra hard as you won’t be applying the Goo Gone, but you still want to make sure anything that will hold food is extra clean.

Now what?

Already cleaned out your jars and need some inspo on what to put in them? Check out my treat jar idea – good for both humans and their furry friends. I’m also working on some festive holiday season ideas for my frosted jars…more to come on that in a future post!

Share your ideas for three-wick re-uses in the comments below or on social media using #foodwinediy!

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