Monday, December 6, 2010
Waxy Buildup: the bane of menorah operators everywhere.
Whether you are a Jew or a Christian, one thing is certain: You will have some cleaning up to do, either in December or in early January.
For us Jews, the issue is dealing with nasty Wax Buildup. Eight days of Chanukah equates to forty-four candles, and inevitably, over the course of the holiday, there will be considerable drippage of molten paraffin. Paraffin, alas, is a notorious pain in the tuchus to clean up, given that it is insoluble in water, alcohol, and acetone. Xylene, an aromatic hydrocarbon closely related to benzene, will dissolve paraffin wax, but you really don’t want to be dealing with xylene in the household environment - it’s kinda sorta toxic. You could also use warm hexane or heptane, which will not only clean up your paraffin drippings, but quite possibly will help you to burn down your house.
No, I will probably just use a sink full of steaming hot water. It won’t dissolve the wax, but it will soften it enough so I can scrape it off... and leave a waxy mess pretty much everywhere. Feh.
There is an alternative to paraffin candles. In prior years, we have been very fond of Ner Lights, glass ampoules that contain a wick and a supply of olive oil. You just snap off the top of each ampoule, stick it in your chanukiah, and fire it up. No wax drippings; no oily residue. Ner Lights are considerably pricier than plain old candles, however, and they’re a little harder to find... so this year, I’ll be dealing with the wax.
Oh, well. At least it beats having to dispose of a dead tree.