Cleaning Candle Molds & Melting Pots
Aluminum Molds - Get that fragrance oil off! Some fragrances can be more damaging than others can. Lemon, for instance, has roughened up some of my votive molds a bit. I didn't wipe them out as soon as I was done and the next day when I was wiping them I noticed the aluminum mold and wick pin were not as smooth as they used to be. To clean your aluminum molds, you should at least wipe them out with a rag or paper towel immediately after removing your candles. When you have a chance, place them upside down on your tray and let any wax buildup melt and drip into your tray. Using hot pads or gloves with rubber dots, pull your molds out one at a time and wipe the inside out with your rag. If it's a deep or tall mold, be careful not to burn your arms. To help safeguard against this burn hazard, I like to use an old thick sock that I can pull up to my elbow. Just cut the foot of the sock out and you can still use your gloves. Keep the sock with your cleaning rags and use it every time you clean your molds and pots. You can throw your chopsticks or spoons or other tools on the tray too. Just be careful if any of your tools handles are plastic so you don’t let them get too warm and cause them to melt.
If you still smell fragrance in your mold after wiping it out, you could wash the molds in hot soapy water. There are mold cleaner liquids that work good too. If you use mold cleaner, you will want to be sure to wipe them out good with a clean rag or paper towel to remove any excess cleaner. I like to wash them with warm soapy water to make sure I have the mold cleaner off.
You can use the same molds over and over without thoroughly cleaning them if you are making the same color and/or fragrance candle with each repeated use. In this instance, it is usually okay to just wipe them out good and get back to making more.
Containers/Jars - Depending on how much wax is left in your container, you could use the oven method. Since containers typically have more wax in them than a mold, it's usually best to place the containers upside right. The container will hold the wax until it is all melted or mostly melted and you can then easily just pour it into your scrap pot or trash and wipe out the inside quickly and thoroughly. If you place them upside down on the tray, you may end up with too much melted wax in your tray. This will cause a bigger mess as the wax will then get on the outside of your container. After quickly wiping your container, you will still probably have a thin layer of wax around the inside but it should be minimal and okay to wash in hot soapy water. You just don't want wax to build up in your sink's drain so make sure the containers are wiped out well. Before washing, set your containers aside and let the glass cool a little bit before placing it in water so they won’t crack with the temperature changes. Wear rubber cleaning gloves to wash the containers so you can use extra hot water and easily get the remaining film of wax off.
You could also put your old containers in the freezer for a couple of minutes to shrink the wax. You should then be able to just pry the wax out. The only problem with this is if the opening of your container is smaller than your wax chunk, you won’t be able to get it out.
Melting Pots – Your melting pots can be treated the same way as containers or molds and can be cleaned in a low temperature oven. Depending on how much wax is in them, decide whether you will warm them while they are upside right or upside down. If you use coffee cans, there is a possibility that wax, dye and fragrance has gotten into the seams. For that reason, you may need to melt this upside right first, dump out the old wax and then melt it again, upside down, to get all of the wax out of the seams.
Sometimes melting pots become stained but as long as you've cleaned them well, you should be okay. You could always designate certain pots for light or dark colors so you don't stain all of your pots. This is especially important to consider if you are making white candles. One speck of a color can really bleed through your white candle.
Double Boilers - Your larger boil pots tend to get drips of wax and a lime or calcium build up on the sides and bottom. The lime build up doesn't really matter but you will want to occasionally dump out the leftover water. Do not just pour this waxy water down your sink. Every little bit of wax that goes down your drain builds up and could cause a problem someday. Keep a fine mesh fish net handy and dump your water through it over your sink. Whack the net over your garbage can and that will get rid of the wax from your net so you can use it again later. As far as the lime build up goes, if it bothers you, every once in a while you could douse your pan with a little white vinegar. Let it set for a while and then scrape as much off as you can with a plastic scraper and rinse thoroughly.
I think I like the oven method best because it’s a good activity for a cold or dreary day. It makes the house smell great and gets you toasty warm.
Taking time to properly clean your candle making equipment will help your investment last for a very long time.
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