How To Clean Candles

I never thought about cleaning my candles.  I did notice that the tops got dusty and my feather duster couldn’t get rid of the dust.  But that’s as far as it went – until my grandkids started messing with the candles in the fireplace.  I was putting the candles back one day and noticed they were really dirty.  I vacuumed the candles and got rid of the cobwebs and dust bunnies but they still felt dirty.

I did some research and found out you clean candles with rubbing alcohol and cotton balls.  So I decided to give it a try.

My fireplace candles were really grimy and had black stuff on them (soot, I assume).  But after a few passes with the cotton balls, they were looking and feeling much better.  The alcohol didn’t remove the soot – I had to use my fingernail to scrape it off.

I had such great success with the fireplace candles that I decided to clean the candles on the entry table, too.  These weren’t as dirty like the fireplace candles – mainly just dusty.  But I messed up on those.  Because they weren’t as dirty, they didn’t require as much work.  Just a light pass over the entire surface of each candle was all that was needed.  But on the tall candle, for some reason, I really went at it.  The end result was that I damaged the finish on the candle.  The finish became rough and pieces of wax dropped onto the table.  I knew immediately I had been over zealous with my cleaning.

So here’s what I learned:

  1. The dirtier the candle, the more work to clean it.  But when the candle color shows up on the cotton ball instead of dirt color, you’re done.
  2. If the candle is just dusty, a light pass with the cotton ball is sufficient to remove the dust.
  3. Clean candles infrequently so you don’t damage the wax.

What hard-to-clean items have you wondered how to clean?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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9 thoughts on “How To Clean Candles

  1. I’ve always heard to clean candles with an old nylon hose. Right now I don’t have any candles to clean but will try your suggestion next time.

    1. Nylon hose? I hadn’t heard that one. I’ve got a couple more candles to clean – I’ll have to try that. Assuming I can even find some nylon hose. I don’t wear them anymore!

  2. Thanks so much for this Patty! I have TONS of candles that need to be cleaned, but I have always been afreaid to try ANYTHING! I certainly will try this! (PS, Thanks again for this website! It’s VERY helpful!)

    1. Go for it! The alcohol on a cotton ball works great and it’s so nice to get rid of the dust, especially on the candles the grandkids play with. I really hated having them touch those dirty candles! I’ll probably have to do those once in a while but the others should be good for a while.

      Let me know how it goes.

  3. I’m responsible for ordering and placing of the Advent candles at our church. As the Advent Candles are so very expensive, we try to use them for several years before ordering new ones. In order to obtain what appears to be an unlit candle, the wick needs to be trimmed and the uneven wax at the top of the candle shaved down with a sharp blade. (a sharpe pearing knife works well.) Be very careful not to cut the wick when trimming down the wax at the top of the candle. Drippings from previous burnings pop off easily. Roll up a pair of nylon stockings/panty hose and gently buff the candle to remove the ridges/scores that the knife leaves on the wax while trimming, and to smooth knicks and debris that has collected on the outside of the candle. “Gently buff” the entire candle and it will be restored to its original luster. This is quite a tedious job, but works very well, and can save a great deal of money. I’m assuming this will work for the larger (costly) candles that are used at home also. Good luck!

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