How to Remove Candle Wax and Repurpose the Jar

Woman standing behind candle jars

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

Candles are one decor item that we can never have enough of. There are too many lovely scents and pretty jars to stick with just one or two. But what do you do once the candle is long past its burning days and you’re left with a quarter inch of wax in your jar? You can easily upcycle these containers, the tricky part is finding a method that’s not messy, or (gulp) dangerous.


Here at The Spruce, we found the perfect trick that only requires two items: a freezer and a knife. It’s far less dangerous than it sounds. Simply take your almost empty candle jars and stick them in the freezer. It should only take a couple of hours, but for best results leave them in overnight. After you’ve frozen your candles, take a knife and beginning gently cutting into the wax. Because it’s frozen, it should only take a few hits for the wax to clatter out in clean pieces. If there’s any leftover residue, simply use hot soapy water to clean it out. 

Once your candle jars have been rid of wax and bits of wick, there are a multitude of ways you can upcycle them into useful items for around the home. We’re plant people here at The Spruce, so we absolutely loved the idea of turning a candle jar into a planter. It doesn’t take many supplies and takes little effort to make these jars useful again. Watch the video above to see the trick in action and see the steps to turn your jar into a fun succulent planter.

What You'll Need

Here's what you'll need to remove candle wax and repurpose your jars into pretty planters.


  • Nearly empty candle jars
  • Succulent or plant of choice
  • Bowl
  • Potting soil


  • Paring knife
  • Pliers
  • Spoon
Supplies for removing candle wax
The Spruce / Candace Madonna
  1. Place Empty Candle Jars in Your Freezer

    Scoot your ice cream over and make some room for those nearly empty candle jars. Leave them in your freezer for at least two hours.

    candles in a freezer
    The Spruce
  2. Retrieve the Candles

    Once you take your candles out of the freezer, take your paring knife and carefully start cutting into the wax. It should only take one or two pricks from the knife for the wax to clatter out.


    If there is a waxy residue left on your glass jar, you can easily remove it by using a steel sponge, dish soap, and hot water.

    Woman jabbing candle wax with knife
     The Spruce
  3. Start Making Your Planter

    Pour some potting soil into your bowl and spoon a bit of it into your empty candle jar.

    Woman putting soil into an empty candle votive
    The Spruce
  4. Plant Your Succulent

    Take your succulent or plant of choice and gently squeeze the plastic planter to help break up the roots. Place your succulent into the jar and adjust it until it sits properly in the planter.

    Woman pulling succulent out of container
    The Spruce
  5. Style and Enjoy

    Make one or several of these planters and scatter them throughout your home for a little bit of greenery that was made sustainably!

    Candle next to empty candle votive with succulent
    The Spruce