Whether you’re a fan of candles in everyday life to give your space a little wellness boost, or you save them for date-night or the holidays, candles are a popular way to create ambience at home. Once you’ve used the candles, they can leave behind some annoying “waste” products – old wax or jars, for example. But are these really waste products? We’ll show you what to do with old cable jars and what to do with leftover candle wax.
It seems almost miraculous – a solid candle slowly melts away, literally into thin air, and leaves no trace behind. Well, almost no traces. Where does wax actually go? It turns out that candle wax, when heated strongly enough, slowly turns from liquid wax to vapor, and disappears into the air. This is why natural waxes like beeswax and soy wax are becoming more popular – it means less chemicals in our air at home. But what about wax that gets left behind? What can you do with leftover candle wax?
Sustainability is all the rage, and for good reason. Throwing things out unnecessarily is not only wasteful, but expensive too. Finding creative ways to deal with leftovers is one of our favourite pastimes – whether figuring out how to grow things from kitchen leftovers, or what to do with old candles. Here are our suggestions for the latter:
- Recycle and reuse
This is the most straightforward way for how to reuse candles – melt down any leftover wax and pour it into silicone baking forms with a wick in the middle (you can use old ice cream sticks as a DIY wick). Let the candles cool off, and bingo! They’re done.
- Glamping aids
It may seem like a solution a little too luxe for camping, but old candles can be used as fire starters, too. Melt leftover wax and pour it into an old cardboard egg carton, or over an old cereal box. Once the wax has cooled, you can cut it to size and pack the pieces into a jar to take with you on your next camping trip.
- Wickless candles
This one is easiest – pop the wax in a jar, put the jar on a heater, and wait for the wax to melt. Now you can either just enjoy the slow release of the smell or add a DIY wick if you change your mind about the candle being wickless.
- Romance ISN’T dead…
Write a romantic letter to your significant other and seal your sentiments using old wax. If you have a rubber stamp, you can press this into the wax when it is soft (but not hot) to leave a personalised impression.
There are lots of ways to recycle candle jars. If you don’t want to use the jars to make new candles as we described above, there are still lots of options for you. Here are our favourites:
- Make a planter
Pot plants are having a hot moment. Whether you’re growing peppers, cacti, or more unusual options like rubber trees, your plant pals will need homes, especially if you cultivate cuttings. Using candle jars is ideal because they won’t take up too much space, and are often pretty, too. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also create a terrarium from old candle jars.
- Pen and pencil holder
Once you’ve cleaned out all the wax you can use pretty jars as pen or pencil holders. You can expand this principle to other stuff too – make up brushes, toothbrushes, cleaning utensils and so on – anything you’d ordinarily buy a holder for, you can use a well-cleaned candle jar for. Save money and waste!
- Dry diffusers
Fill an old candle jar three-quarters of the way up with baking soda, and then add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to it. It is a good idea to match the essential oil to the scent of the candle, so you don’t get a clash. If your candle was a more creative smell like “Birthday Cake” or “Ocean Calm” then check the label to see which oils were used to scent that candle or give it a thorough wash for a fresh start.
Now you know what to do with old candles, make sure to read through more interesting articles from Ask Team Clean such as how to compost tea bags, what to do with potato water or can you recycle wrapping paper.