Also know as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a celebration where Jewish families around the world light menorahs, which twinkle brightly for as long as the candles burn. But, as anyone who has ever had to clean a menorah knows, looking at the symbolic flames is not always joyous, as you spend most of the time stressing over how you will get the wax off at the end of the night. But being an experienced menorah-lighter means that I’ve learned all the menorah-cleaning hacks you’ll ever need, leaving more time for enjoying the lights and less cursing the cleanup.
The best wax-cleaning hack is the lazy-man’s menorah. Skip the traditional menorah altogether and buy one of those electric ones. It’s a guaranteed wax-free existence — no mess, no fire hazard, no headache. It’s also a thoroughly modern solution, since they wouldn’t have been available to our ancestors celebrating the miracle of light prior to, say, 50 years ago. Plus, your kids can help light it because they just have to screw the bulb as opposed to potentially burning themselves trying to use the lit candle.
But for those of you that just have to go the traditional route using an old-fashioned wax candle menorah, you can make your life a little bit easier with these cleaning tips.
1Tin Foil Is Your BFF
Cover everything in tin foil. Put tin foil under the menorah, wrap the candle holders in it, consider wrapping yourself in it. The tin foil will catch all the melty wax and make cleanup a breeze.
2Douse It In PAM
Yes, the non-stick cooking spray. No, I’m not kidding. The melted wax will peel right off the menorah, like magic. Vegetable oil works well for this, too, though it tends to be a little slipperier and messier than the PAM option.
3Melt The Bottom Of The Candles
The last thing you want is for a burning candle to fall out of the menorah (no, that’s never happened to me; why do you ask?). The best way to prevent this is to melt the bottom of the candle a little bit so it liquifies, then stick it into the spot. The wax will harden again and your candle will fit perfectly — and securely — into the menorah.
4Skip The Silver Polish
For anyone using Grandma’s antique silver menorah (or discouraged from doing so by the polishing nightmare required for it to look nice), use lemon juice and baking soda to make it look shiny and new.
5Give The Menorah A Warm Bath
A soak in warm water will help soften the wax and make it easier to remove.