Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2018, Consulting the Silver Expert

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman

Removing Wax From Candle Holders

Do you become frustrated when trying to remove wax from candleholders? Do you go pawing into your flatware drawer to find just the right size knife to dig out the wax and thereafter produce scratches and possibly dents in the bottom of the cup? Do you run the piece under warm water, only to create a big mess? Well, here are some simple, non-invasive techniques.

Place lacquered candle holders in the freezer and a short while later, use a fingernail or wooden popsicle stick or skewer (not a knife) to chip off the wax gingerly. If residue remains, remove it with grain alcohol using a paper towel, cotton ball, or makeup pad. Do not use a hair dryer or heat gun as it may blister the lacquer.

The following method, or the one above, can be used for weighted and non-weighted candleholders without lacquer: Gently warm the candle cup or other area coated with wax using a hair dryer (not a heat gun). Be careful not to make the object too hot, as any pitch (a low-melting cement) filling the candleholder will melt. Lightly touch the area with your fingertip to make sure it’s not too hot; then lightly wipe off the wax with a soft paper towel, cotton ball, or makeup pad.

When cleaning a candle cup on a candelabra, support the cup with a hand underneath to prevent bending the arm. If the opening is too small for your finger, gently stuff the paper towel into the cup and twist.

If there is a large build-up of wax, square off the end of a popsicle stick and remove the wax as it is warmed by the hair dryer. Cotton swabs also work very well, especially on Hanukkah lamps with very small candle cups. Use as much fresh paper towel or as many cotton swabs as needed to avoid continually reapplying the wax you are removing.

Using dripless candles and removing any wax residue from candle holders after each use will greatly reduce maintenance time.

Note: Products like Acetone, Goo Gone, Krud Cutter, Goof Off, and WD-40 will remove wax residue more rapidly, but are less environmentally-friendly. Should you decide to use these products, make sure to wear nitrile gloves and perform the task in a well-ventilated area. Always feel free to contact me should you have questions.

Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either contact him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or via email jeff @


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.