Several weeks ago at The Well we used over 100 mason jars with tea-lights in them to decorate the stage. A few days prior to that I had gone down into the
dungeon basement to see what condition the jars were in, since we hadn’t used them in several months. And unfortunately, they were like I expected to find them – in really bad shape. They had lots of wax melted down into the bottom of them, soot from the flames had built up on the inside, and many had mouse droppings in them (eww!). They were going to need some TLC to look good for Wednesday. I googled ways to get wax out of candleholders, and several sites said to stick them in the freezer for an hour, and then it should pop right out. I tried it with a few, and it seemed to work, so that was going to be my plan of attack.
As I started knocking the wax out of the candles, I found that it only worked about 50% of the time though. And even for the ones that the majority of the wax had come out of, there was still lots of thin, waxy residue inside the jars. So I set two large aluminum pans on the stove, filled them about half way full of water, and turned all the burners on medium. In one pan went the jars that still had the wax in them, and I made sure they were still standing up; in the other pans went the empty jars, and I laid those down on their side.
Once the jars with wax heated up enough, I could just dump out the melted wax and then I added those jars to the other pan. And after the empty jars had been in the water for a while, I could wipe them out with a rag and all of the waxy residue came off. The only problems though, were that after a while the water in the pan would get waxy, and so would the rags, so we had to change them out fairly often.
I’m sure there was a more efficient way to do this, but it’s what we figured out, and it worked!