A Clean Workplace Is a Safe Workplace
Craftspeople are by nature orderly — it is inherent in the work, and the very word “craft” implies professionalism and careful procedures. Originally, one learned a craft by apprenticing to a master craftsman. Today many of us are self-taught, but the same principles still apply.
The first of these is based on the old nostrum that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” The less mess you have around you, the better — and more safely — you can work. The fewer items you have around to clutter counter space, to trip over, to move aside, or to spill, the better you will function and be able to focus on what you are doing.
Line a shallow baking pan with greaseproof paper and pour your leftover melted wax into the pan after you have finished your candlemaking for the day. Leave the melted wax to harden, break it apart, and store for later use.
Always cover your work surface with disposable non-newsprint paper. Don't use old newspapers to cover working surfaces as the newsprint may transfer to the undersurface if wax spills on it. Use brown wrapping paper or tin foil (use foil on stove) to facilitate cleanup. Or, if you can devote an entire countertop to your candlemaking, get a laminated one with a smooth surface from which you can easily scrape up cooled wax.The Importance of Cleaning Up
After each candlemaking session, be sure to clean up your workspace — especially if it's in your kitchen. Then you won't have to clean up before you start another candlemaking session. It's like getting the dishes washed and out of the sink after lunch so you don't have to deal with a mess before you can cook dinner.
If you commit the following procedures to memory, you'll have an easy time of the tidying-up process:
Gather all your tools and materials — knives, scrapers, wicks, colorants, scent bottles, etc. — wipe or scrape any waxy residue, and store them in the place you regularly keep them.
Always keep rags and paper towels handy. Use them to wipe any waxy surfaces while they are still warm.
Think about how you want to reuse leftover wax. If you want to save different colors, pour each color into a muffin tin cup. If you want to mix everything, just pour it into a flat pan.
Pour the water from your double-boiler in the yard, or let it cool until you can skim off the congealed wax before pouring it down the drain.
Never pour water with wax in it down the drain!
When your poured leftover wax has cooled, pop it out of its container, bag, and label with wax content and color mixes. You may want to match the color later and not remember exactly the proportions of colorant you used.
Peel any spilled wax off the paper you covered your work surface with and either save it or throw it away.
After you have cleaned up all waxy containers and surfaces, dispose of the paper/rags. Do not incinerate.
If you can't get all of the wax out of a container by wiping, you can fill the container with very hot water so that the wax melts. After it has cooled, the wax will float on top making it easy to remove.
To clean your utensils, molds, etc., simply line a large cookie sheet with heavy-duty foil and place everything upside down on the sheet. Put inside a preheated warm oven (no hotter than l70° Fahrenheit) until the wax melts and runs onto the foil. While warm, wipe clean with paper towels; dispose of foil.