Abstract Polyethylene wax is prepared by pyrolysis of high density polyethylene in solvent. The effect of various solvents and reaction conditions on the product yield and properties was investigated. Test results show that mixed solvent with a mixing ratio of A/B=2:3 could be the optimal solvent for preparing polyethylene wax. By orthogonal experiments, it is shown that factors affecting the product yield are in the order of temperature > time > solvent/feed ratio. Under the optimum conditions of a reaction temperature of 320 ℃, a reaction time of 3 h and solvent/feed ratio of 1, the obtained product has a relative molecular weight of around 2 000 and melting range of 118-123 ℃.