Reusing glass votives is thrifty but can be difficult to achieve unless you know how to remove the used candle wax from inside.
Glass votive candle holders are very popular and typically inexpensive. Still, to save money or to live a greener life, these glass votives can be used over and over again. They can be purchased alone and filled with scented candles or purchased with candles already inside.
Once the candle is spent, however, getting the remaining candle wax and wick out can be a frustrating endeavor. Depending on the time you have available, there are several tried and true methods for removing the wax from inside a glass votive.
The Cold Removal Method
Set glass votives on a level surface in the freezer to prevent them from falling when you later open the door. Wait an hour or so before taking the glass votives out of the freezer. With a small butter knife, slide the blade between the glass and the wax and gently pry. The frozen wax should pop right out in one piece. This is a good method if you just have 1 or 2 votives to clean.
The Heat Removal Method #1
Bring some water to a rapid boil, then allow it to cool just enough that it is no longer boiling. Set the glass votive in a shallow pan or bowl and pour the hot water in around it. The water should rise higher on the outside of the votive than the wax is on the inside of the glass. Wait 4 to 5 minutes before carefully removing the votive from the hot water. Use a towel or rag to handle the hot glass. Use a butter knife to slide the softened wax out of the glass votive. This method works best for 1 or 2 votives if you’re more pressed for time.
The Heat Removal Method #2
To clean more than 1 or 2 candles you will need to use this method. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line a cake or other metal baking pan with foil to catch any spills. Also line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil to protect it from wax spills as the pans move in and out of the oven. Place the glass votives upside down on the foil-lined pans and place the pans in the oven. The wax will melt and run down into the pans. Check every 20 minutes or so until all the wax has melted. Remove the pans with oven mitts. Still using mitts, remove each votive from the pan and wipe the inside with a dry, clean paper towel to remove residual wax. Use caution as the glass votives will be hot. While wiping out the first votive, you can return the pan to the oven to keep the wax from resetting inside the inverted votive. Do not set the oven any hotter than 200 degrees because wax can become flammable at higher temperatures.
Once the wax has been removed, using any of the above methods, allow the glass votives to return to room temperature before washing in warm sudsy water. Now your glass votives are ready to use again.