On Thursday morning—the last day of Hanukkah—we received the following query from reader Daniel S. Palmer: How do you get those last pesky bits of wax off your menorah?
We felt that this was a matter of some importance (if not urgency—after all, Hanukkah and Hannukiahs have been around for a couple thousand years), so we put the question to Tablet’s readers on Facebook and Twitter. The most popular methods were freezing, boiling, and baking in the oven (!), but there were also some nifty pre-lighting tips too.
In summary, here’s what you can do after Hanukkah:
Freeze your menorah, “and the wax pops right out.” — Lori Ellison
“I fill the sink with HOT water, then let the menorahs sit submerged. After a minute or two, I pull the menorah out and use a paper towel to wipe off any remaining wax that hasn’t melted and floated to the top of the water in the sink. I then user the paper towel to skim the floating wax.”— Mike Holzer
Similarly, you can “take the menorah outside and pour hot water on it to melt off the wax. It’s easier to clean up outside than in the sink.” — Nicole Appel
“I line a cookie sheet with paper towels and set the oven for 200 degrees (paper burns at 451, thanks, Ray Bradbury) check after 15 minutes or so and wipe it down with clean paper towels.” — Bonnie Gordon
But. Safety first. Wear oven mitts and make sure the Hannukiah can handle hot temperatures: “No plastics, metals only!” — David Bottomley.
And before you light the candles:
“Spray the menorah with a light coating of cooking spray (you know, like PAM?) right before you begin festivaling the lights; when the eight days are done and you’ve eaten more gelt than you thought humanly possible the wax will sort of slide right off. You’ll want to wash the menorah afterwards with warm soapy water to remove any residual wax and/or PAM.” — Thank you, cleaning maven Jolie Kerr!
“If you freeze the candles before lighting, there will be almost no drippy wax.” — Susan Shapiro
“This year I invested in Israeli dripless candles… They’re beautiful, too.” — Cheryl Ratner, getting FANCY.
“I have something called Wax Off, it’s a little spray bottle that works really well!” — Jennifer Winters
“I use oil cups in my Hanukkiah. Clean up is a non-issue.” — Andrew Hurwitz, keeping it old-school.
We’ll leave you with this alternate perspective from Barry Glovetsky: “You DON’T remove it, except for the minimum needed to insert candles the next time. Every drop of wax is a memory.”
Elissa Goldstein is Tablet’s director of audience development. She also produces Unorthodox. Follow her on Twitter here.