Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Convert Confessions: Candles Are Lovely, But Do They Have to Be So Messy??

I love Shabbat candles. I do. And I even like Chanukah candles. However, the wax is driving me insane.

I have half a mind to switch to oil candles, but (a) I just don't think they're as pretty and (b) better the devil I know than the devil I don't. Who knows what problems oil candles have??

I would like some advice: How do you remove candle wax? And I mean from every surface imaginable: wooden tables, candlesticks, countertops, carpet, small animals. (Just kidding on that last part...or am I?)

One fantastic piece of advice someone gave me when I was hunting for my second hannukiah (Chanukah menorah): Get pewter instead of silver. It looks very similar to silver (prettier, in my opinion), but doesn't require polishing! That's one less annoying task you need to do when you have 40 other errands breathing down your neck and 8 hours before Shabbat/Yom Tov begins.

Also, invest in drip cups. I only have disposable foil drip cups now, but I used to have metal ones. In retrospect, I guess metal drip cups defeat the purpose of a drip cup since I'm just removing the wax from a different metal surface! Granted, they were very pretty, but were lost in a move several years ago. I found the disposable drip cups in the "kosher" section of my grocery store for less than $3/box for a 6 month supply, assuming you change them every week, which I don't. Also, I should have looked harder for hannukiah drip cups this year because it would have made my life easier. C'est la vie.

And it's a little late, but here is a picture of my hannukiah on the 8th night!


  1. I have not been able to figure out lighting with oil - I tried it this year and wound up switching back to candles before the week was over! As for cleaning off wax, things that can be dipped into hot water (like the chanukiah itself) can be cleaned that way pretty effectively - dipping in hot water re-melts the wax, and then you can peel it right off. To clean wax off a flat surface, like a table, scraping with a credit card works really well.

  2. When you light the chanukiah, make sure the candles are as straight as possible. I had very little drippage when I lit this year, and I don't even have to clean the menorah! If they burn straight down with nothing blowing the flame, they will just burn right up.

    If it's something that is small enough, stick it the freezer. The wax will freeze and contract and it will pop right off whatever it is stuck to.

    For surfaces, you can do the same thing with ice packs or frozen peas or wahtever else you can find. Lay it on the caked on wax for a bit and the wax will also pop right off.

    I also use tealights for Shabbos candles specifically because they are so mess free! They also burn a long time and I like that :)

  3. Try putting your candlestick holder full of messy wax buildup into your freezer for a couple of hours. Then set out at room temperature. As it begins to "sweat" then you'll learn how easily all wax can be removed in less time and effort than other methods.

  4. We always have put our chanukiyot on top of a sheet of aluminum foil. Easy clean up. For cleaning the actual chanukiya, we use corn cob holders - little plastic handles with two metal points that go into the cob. The ones we have have the metal spikes spaced a hair more closely than the width of a candle cup, so it is perfect to rotate and clean out the cup.