How to Clean Old, Dusty Candles So They Look Like New

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated September 24, 2021
Candles burning in bedroom
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These two hacks never fail

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Maybe you stored perfectly beautiful, gorgeous-smelling candles in the back of a linen closet a little too long. Or you're just a less-than-stellar duster and now your candles are covered in a strong layer of gray gunk. 

Either way, here are some quick fixes to get shiny, like-new candles with just a few simple household items!

Method 1: Old Pantyhose

If your candle is only a little dirty, there’s a surprisingly simple home hack you can use to make it look sparkling and new again. 

You'll need an old or cheap pair of pantyhose or tights. Slide the candle into the hose and roll it around—the hose will gently scrape off and trap the dust without damaging the wax.

Method 2: Microfiber Cloth

If your candle looks beyond repair, dip a microfiber cleaning cloth into lukewarm water and wring it out. Then gently wipe the candle using short motions in the same direction (no back-and-forth wiping). 

Ta-da! A newly cleaned candle at your service.

What Not to Use: Rubbing Alcohol

The biggest mistake people often make when trying to clean candles is wiping them down with rubbing alcohol. But because alcohol is super flammable, this can quickly turn your lit candle into a mini bonfire. 

To avoid damaging your candle (and your home), you should only clean your candle using lukewarm water.

How to Prevent Your Candles From Getting Dirty

Candle burning on desk in tray
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In order to keep your candles in tip-top shape, it’s a good idea to store them in a cool, dry place when you’re not using them. If your candle comes with a lid, keeping it fastened securely will prevent dust and debris from collecting. You should clean your candles every few weeks in order to cut down on dust and keep them looking good as new.

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