How to Clean Your Menorah
By: Dena Gershkovich, Lubicom Staff
Wondering how to get rid of that stubborn, colorful wax stuck onto your menorah? If you are sick of using toothpicks to clean out your candle holders, these tips from the experts are sure to help you get your menorah all cleaned up once Chanukah is over! I interviewed Yitzi Gruen, owner of Judaica Place (based in Brooklyn) and Judaicaplace.com, as well as Doina Bryskin, owner of Judaica Classics by Doina (based in New York City), for their menorah-cleaning secrets. The two also provided tips on how to store your menorah, based on its material, so that it’s in the best condition possible for next year.
DG: How would you recommend caring for a silver menorah? Any tips/tricks for how to best clean it/prevent it from rusting? Are there any products you would recommend? Where is best to store it?
DB: The best way to get wax off of a silver menorah is to place it in the sink and to pour several rounds of boiling water over it. Then, use a soft sponge to apply silver polish over the menorah. After that, use a different sponge to clean it with dish soap. Rinse the menorah with hot water and dry and shine it with a soft cloth.
To store a silver menorah, you should place it in soft paper and then in a plastic bag closed tightly so that it will not tarnish. However, I think you should keep the menorah out – it will add beauty to every home.
YG: One old trick that really works is adding a piece of chalk in your sealed package when storing a silver menorah. Chalk absorbs moisture and sulfur, and those are the reasons silver tarnishes. One thing to be careful about is make sure the chalk isn't touching your silver. Be sure to store your menorah in a cool, dry place. Heat increases the tarnishing process.
Additionally, I would recommend a crystal menorah over a silver one. Crystal is very popular and maintenance-free. There are gorgeous crystal menorahs today that look like museum pieces.
DG: How would you recommend caring for a glass menorah? How can you store it properly to prevent it from breaking? What about for a ceramic menorah?
DB: Glass and ceramic menorahs should be kept out and not put away.
YG: Windex is the easiest way to clean both glass and ceramic menorahs. Make sure to use streak-free Windex so the menorah is crystal clear. In terms of storage, a paper bag usually acts as a good cushion. It is best to store the menorah in its original packaging, since the item was likely shipped from overseas and made it to your home safely in that packaging.
DG: Please share any tips you have for how to remove melted wax from menorahs.
DB: There are 2 schools of thought how to remove wax: 1) pour several rounds of boiling water on top of the menorah, or 2) place the menorah in the freezer to freeze the wax, then peel it off.
YG: Hot water and soap work best for removing melted wax from menorahs. Some customers have told me that they treat their menorahs with a thin layer of oil before the first night of Chanukah and that allows the wax to be removed easily.
The best case scenario for cleaning up melted candles is to use a drip cup. Today we even sell disposable drip cups for candle menorahs in addition to metal ones.
We hope that your menorah cleaning process is as light and festive as your Chanukah was! Let us know if you try any of the above suggestions and how they work out for you. We would also love to hear about any menorah cleaning/storage tips you may have in the comments! Happy cleaning!
Judaica Place is located at 1917 Avenue M in Brooklyn, New York, or online at judaicaplace.com. Judaica Classics by Doina is located at 1248 Lexington Street in Manhattan.