HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Used Canning Jars need heavy duty cleaning.

I have 8 regular Ball canning jars that held candles. Bought them in a store. The metal wick thing is very tough to get out of the bottom and the paper label left residue on the outside bottom and front.
I boiled them for 7 minutes and they aren't clean looking.
Any advice? I was told to either try a weak bleach solution or GOOP.
Planning to do a huge batch this weekend and need the jars!!!
Ann

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I would pour boiling water *into* the jars to warm and loosen the wax holding the wick clip in place, then Goop, Goof-off, or plain old vegetable oil to loosen the paper. Don't sweat it too much if the paper doesn't come off -- the problem arises if the wick clip was glued in place.

    Bleach isn't going to dislodge much of anything.

    1. agree with what sunshine said and it should work.
      maybe try something with a sharp tip or even a flathead screwdriver to get under the pesky wic tin thing. it may only take a small amount of effort. a little oil in each jar like a tsp, set the jars in simmering water in a saucepan with about an inch of water. that may work to help loosen.

      2 Replies
      1. re: iL Divo

        I'd put boiling water, not warm oil, inside the jars -- all you want to do is loosen whatever-it-is that's keeping the clip in the jar - it* should* just be wax, but you can never be sure!

        If it's actually cement, you'll need acetone or nail polish remover and some hope that it will work.

        1. re: sunshine842

          yea or toss the jars and buy new ones.

      2. Look...(trying not to yell)...I just spent 15 minutes and got 3 stupid metal things off...Glue still there. One STILL has the metal part....I tried a phillips and even bent a cheap paring knife into an "L"....I have accepted that the paper labels on the outside are OK....But, I can't use these 4 jars...The last time I put jars in a cast iron skillet and boiled 1 inch of water and only got the wax out.....Plus I broke 2 jars..
        Getting cranky here.....What kind of glue did this person use?!? Nail polish remover didn't work...Grrrrr Pant PANT PANT...

        2 Replies
        1. re: annfaulkner

          then give up. Throw them in the recycle bin. Go to Walmart/Target/KMart/FarmFleet/whatever and buy new jars.

          If the glue is that persistent, you probably don't want the residue in your food anyway.

          1. re: annfaulkner

            If it's not just stuck on with wax, I wouldn't use it. You don't want either glue or solvents in your canning jars.

          2. Don't put anything in them you wouldn't want in your food. The boiling should help, but I expect you will have to do it several times.

            1. Freezing them for a few hours may be of some help...

              1. Go to Home Depot and get Jasco Adhesive Remover (it's in the paint department), then boil the jars again to remove that (or just run them through the dishwasher).

                But that stuff'll cost more than the jars are worth.

                6 Replies
                1. re: acgold7

                  and as mentioned above -- then you have highly-toxic residue in the jars that you're going to put food into and process at high heat.

                  Just chuck 'em and start over.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Well, that's my thinking...Too much work?!? Plus, too toxic....Can you recycle canning jars? My town doesn't have glass, so I get a box then take it 20 miles away when I go there...

                    I'll try the freezer, then chuck'em.....THanks, all............Ann

                    1. re: annfaulkner

                      Too much work, sure. Toxic residue? Nonsense. The stuff washes off completely with plain water. A trip through the DW and you're good to go.

                      The whole point of glass is that it's nonporous and completely impervious to almost everything.

                      There are plenty of things to get panicked about without inventing stuff.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        That's assuming you can actually get the stuff off, leaving no crumb behind. Some kinds of glue just NEVER come off.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          and there are industrial residues that are pretty resistant to water and soap. They'd come off eventually, but why go to all that time and fuss and expense?

                          Dump the candle jars, chalk it up to experience, and go buy a case of canning jars that were a) manufactured for the purpose, b) inexpensive and readily available, and c) don't start their life with a bunch of crud inside that you have to skin your knuckle and poison yourself with fumes to remove.

                          It just ain't worth it.

                          1. re: acgold7

                            But goodness, why would you want to bring a solvent that nasty home? Isn't part of the reason that nature is a mess right now because we've got such good access to the tools of destruction? I'm no enviro angel, but this is just such an easy miss. Reusing stuff is great when it doesn't force more consumption.

                    2. Do you mean what looks like canning jars or do they actually SAY Ball? If they don't, they are not actual canning jars. Supermarkets sell brand-name spaghetti sauce and fruit in such jars and some people have used them later for canning, without problems. But in other cases those jars have cracked. They are not made for re-use at home. If you choose to risk it, treat them VERY carefully. No jostling, bumping, or sudden temperature changes.

                      If the wick holder is attached with wax, freezing the jar will contract the wax so it pops off easily.
                      I learned from Martha Stewart to freeze "empty" candleholders to get the residual wax off. Likewise, an ice pack on wax that has dripped onto cloth or carpet.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: greygarious

                        They don't need to be marked "Ball," which is a brand name. They need to be marked "Mason."

                        1. re: GH1618

                          Do they still say 'Mason'? They were called Mason jars when they were first patented, but since Ball and Kerr are basically the only jars on the market, and both are owned by Jarden...do they even still say it?

                          And there are other jars, too -- Quattro Formaggio, La Parfait, some nice German ones....and all of those brands are perfectly safe to use, even if they don't say 'Mason'.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I have Atlas Mason jars, some vintage, others recent, in which pasta sauce was packed. Yes, they are marked "Mason." Some commercial jars, such as for mayonnaise, use Mason threads for the lid, but these are not Mason jars (which are heavier).

                            1. re: GH1618

                              I mean the Ball and Kerr brands -- do they say Mason on them? (don't remember - I don't own any of them any more, so I can't even go look) The photos on Amazon aren't very good, and I don't know if they're of the current style or of something older.

                              I know the La Parfait and Quattro Formaggio don't, even though they are used for canning in thousands of homes every year, and are absolutely safe for canning. (including the ones with threaded lids, not the spring-lock covers)

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I have one lonely little Kerr pint jar. It says Kerr, then under that "self-sealing" (underlined and in quotes), then at the very bottom it says MASON

                                1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                  THese all say Kerr or Mason and are the pint jars that we all know....I remembered Alton' Brown's fav mulitasker the melon baller and it sort of worked with dish soap. Still a lot of work...ONe won't budge, so I'll put it back in the freezer overnight...Still a lot of work...Not sure what I'm going to do with the candles I haven't burned yet..........

                                  1. re: annfaulkner

                                    You're going in the wrong direction. Cold will make an adhesive more brittle, but it won't degrade it, and it will return to it's original state when it returns to room temperature. Heat, on the other hand will degrade any plastic if you get it hot enough. Put the jars into a cold oven, then turn the temperature up to 450 (or higher) and bake for at least a couple of hours. Let the jars cool before trying to clean them.