Although modern candles can seem like one-off items that can be way too expensive at times, the wax from a used-up candle can actually be repurposed in a surprising number of ways.
So, before you throw away the remains of your favorite candle, here are 15 ways to reuse melted candle wax after the candle has been depleted:
1. Make More Candles
Okay, so let’s get the obvious one out of the way first.
Although the wax of your used candle has been melted and displaced, it can be used to make more candles.
To make a new candle out of your melted candle wax, you will need some type of candle holder, a candle wick, a pan, and a heat source.
3 Steps to making a new candle
- Get the melted wax from your old candle and place it into a saucepan– If the melted wax is in a jar, you may need to remove it with a sharp object.
- Melt the wax into a liquid using some kind of heat source– A normal stove works great. Once the wax is just barely melted, pour it into your new candle holder. While you could use a jar specifically designed for candles if you wanted, you could also repurpose other household items such as a teacup, a coffee cup, a used Pringles tube, or a canning jar to put your new candle in.
- Place a new wick into the candle holder with the wax– Candle wicks can usually be bought at the store in packs, I recommend these wicks found on Amazon. Or, you could always make your own if necessary.
Once the melted wax dries, you will have a new candle! If you want to have a larger candle with more wax, you can always repeat the process with the melted wax from other used candles as well.
If you don’t have enough wax to make a large candle, you can just make smaller “tea lights.”
2. Make Tea Lights
Sometimes there is so little wax left after you have used a candle that there isn’t enough to make another full-sized candle.
Since tea lights are so small, a minimal amount of wax is needed to make them!
All you need is a tea light holder, a pan, a heat source, and some candle wicks. Just follow the same steps as above and you are good to go.
In the house, tea lights are easy to use and can be placed just about anywhere so long as it’s not a direct fire hazard. Tea lights are especially useful in power outage situations when you need a light to help yourself find your way in the dark.
Tea lights are great for camping
For people who spend a lot of time outdoors, tea lights can also be a useful alternative source of light if you’re in a pinch. Although they aren’t going to provide an immense amount of light, they are easy to light and tend to burn for 6 hours on average.
And, since they’re so small, it would also be easy to carry a number of them in your camping gear. So if your flashlight dies on you, you could always light up a couple of tea lights that you made with your melted wax so you don’t have to go stumbling around in the dark.
3. Make Bug Repellent Candles
While regular candles are nice, since I live in the South, I prefer to make something to keep the “skeeters” away.
To make bug repellent candles:
- Melt the wax into a liquid form
- Add a small amount of citronella. (Click to see Amazon listing)
- Mix the wax and citronella together well
- Pour the mixture into a candle holder
- Add a fresh wick.
Once the mixture hardens, you will have a candle that will drive bugs away every time you light it!
4. Make Fire Starters
One way you could reuse your melted candle wax is to make fire starters, which can be used both in your house and when you’re outdoors.
How to make a simple wax fire starter:
- Use a saucepan to melt the wax into a liquid form.
- Add small pieces of material that are easily flammable such as paper, cardboard, or cotton.
- When the wax cools and solidifies, you will have a sizeable fire starter that can then be broken into smaller pieces to produce multiple fire starters.
These wax fire starters can be useful for daily needs like lighting the stove or the fireplace, or you can take them with you on a hike to start fires while you’re out in the wilderness!
5. Fix Squeaky Furniture
Another use for melted candle wax is to fix household furniture, such as doors and drawers, that have been sticking.
In order to get your household appliances working properly again, just take rehardened candle wax and rub it against the part that keeps sticking. If it’s a door, remove the hinges and pins so you can rub the wax on them directly.
After coating these parts in the wax, replace the door and open and close it a few times to work the wax in.
If you want to fix a drawer, rub the wax along its runners and then, as with the door, open and close it a few times to get the wax worked into the areas that keep sticking.
If necessary, it might help to melt down your wax, pour it into an ice tray, and then let the wax reharden. This will create “wax cubes” that will be easier to work with when you’re using the wax to lubricate your furniture.
6. Fix Zippers and Locks that Stick
Similar to doors and drawers, candle wax can also be used on smaller daily appliances that have a tendency to stick. One thing that melted wax can be repurposed to fix is a zipper. The wax will act as a lubricant and prevent the zipper from hanging up in the spots where it has been catching.
Whether it’s jean zippers or coat zippers, all you have to do is rub the hardened wax on outside and inside of the zipper teeth. After that, pull your zipper up and down a few times until it starts to work smoothly again.
In addition to household zippers, you can repurpose melted wax for outdoors items with sticky zippers such as tents, sleeping bags, and camping packs.
Because you’re using hardened wax, it shouldn’t cause the zipper to accumulate more dirt. However, if you want to play it safe you can always wash the wax off with soap and water once you’ve got your zipper working smoothly again.
In addition to zippers, the wax from used birthday candles can also be reused to fix sticky locks as well. Just rub hardened wax onto your key and insert it into the lock a few times. The wax will help those sticking tumblers loosen up and get your lock working smoothly again.
7. Furniture Fix-up
Along with providing lubricant for sticky household items, the melted wax can be repurposed to fix scratches, dents, and dings on wood furniture or hardwood floors.
Just rub the hardened wax over the area with the scratch or dent until it completely fills the gap, and then color over the area with a furniture marker. If done correctly, no one will ever know that it was there to begin with.
8. Fix Shoelaces and Buff Shoes
Melted wax can be reused to treat fraying shoelaces or scuffed shoes.
If you have old shoelaces that are starting to fray and you want to keep them around for a bit longer, just melt your used candle wax and pour it over the area of the shoelace that is coming apart. Once it hardens, the wax will hold the shoelace together and protect it from being affected by water.
If you have shoes with scuffs that you want to take care of, canola oil and candle wax is a great solution.
Making wax leather salve:
- Melt the candle wax into a liquid.
- Add a teaspoon of canola oil and stir the mixture well.
- Allow the mixture to cool for about a minute, but don’t let the wax harden. If the mixture does begin to harden, reheat it on a low heat until it re-liquifies. Then, use the candle wax and canola oil to buff out the scuff with a soft rag. (This can also be used to remove scuffs from furniture).
9. Make Wax Sealant
Before the invention of modern sealants and epoxy, wax was used in many countries to seal letters, furniture parts, and even food cans or glass jars for storage.
If you have something that needs to be water-tight or air-tight, such as a window sill, just melt the wax down and pour it over the area that is vulnerable to the elements. Once it hardens, the wax will function much like caulking and should protect that area for at least a little while.
If the area you would like to seal is on a vertical surface, or on the ceiling, it would be best to hold the melted wax against that area and keep pressure on it until it dries. Otherwise, the wax may not properly seal.
One way you could do this is to use the same “wax cubes” for fixing squeaky furniture we talked about in #5. Melt one end of a cube, and hold the melted wax against the area that needs sealed.
Sealing and preserving food
If you want to use wax to preserve food, make sure to store the food in a durable container, preferably metal or glass. After the food is stored, melt the wax down and pour it over the seal of the container, or wherever there is an opening that air or moisture could get into.
In general, if your intent is to store the food for a long period of time then it may be best to have wax on both the outside and inside of the lid, as this will act as a double-sealant and protect your food that much better. Once the wax dries, it will prevent moisture from getting to your food and will lengthen the amount of time it will preserve.
10. Make Air Freshener
Although the wax from your favorite scented candle has melted down to almost nothing, it still smells good right? If you want to keep that scent around for a little longer, you can actually repurpose the melted wax to make air fresheners.
3 steps to making a simple air freshener out of old candle wax:
- Melt old wax in a saucepan and pour it into a container.
- Once hardened, either break the wax into pieces or shave off a few pieces.
- Place the pieces of hardened wax into loosely woven cloth, like a sock.
- Tie it into a knot and place it into an enclosed area such as a closet, a bathroom, or your car.
Before long, you’ll notice that the area where you hung your new air freshener will start to smell much better!
11. Make Potpourri
Similar to how melted candle wax can be used to make air freshners, it can also be used in a potpourri mix.
All you have to do is gather the hardened remains of your favorite scented candles and put them into a small jar. Add some dried petals from flowers that you like or pieces of dried spices that with attractive scents and you have your own potpourri, personalized to your sense of smell.
12. Wax Paper
Melted wax from an old candle can also be useful for making your very own wax paper. The benefit of being able to do this is that, since wax is water-resistant, you will have waterproof paper which can be used for a variety of situations such as cooking, storing frozen food, and preserving fallen leaves.
Making wax paper from melted candle wax
Materials: To create your own wax paper, you need:
- A piece of copy paper
- A Long sheet of tissue paper
- A Pan
- Put your piece of copy paper onto a hard, flat surface, such as a table.
- Place your piece of tissue paper on top of the copy paper. The copy paper will help stabilize the tissue paper and maybe even prevent a mess.
- Break your melted candle wax into small pieces and place those pieces on top of the tissue paper.
- Heat up your pan so that the bottom is warm to the touch and place the pan onto the wax and tissue paper. The heated pan will quickly melt the wax.
- Spread the wax all over the paper by gently moving the pan around for about 10 seconds.
- Wait for the wax to dry completely, remove the tissue paper from the copy paper.
Voila! Homemade wax paper to use as you like.
13. Waterproof Labels
Similar to how wax can be used to make paper resistant to water, it can also be used to make your marker labels resistant as well.
Whether it’s supplies that have your name written in marker on it, or a package you’re about to send, all you have to do is rub white wax over the area where the object is marked. Once that’s done, you’ll have a waterproof label.
Useful tip: Make sure to use white wax because any other color might obscure what you wrote.
14. Snow Shoveling
This is one little known fact that can help all of you who have to deal with endlessly shoveling snow during the winter months.
Before going out, rub hardened candle wax onto the head of your snow shovel. The wax coating will give your shovel some extra slip and prevent snow from sticking to it, which will make digging your way out of last night’s snowstorm that much easier.
Give it a try, you can thank me later.
15. Easy Pin Cushion
When growing up, my mom had a tomato pin cushion. I’m sure a lot of people reading this know what I’m talking about. Rather than following in mom’s footsteps, why not just make your own pin cushion out of wax?
- Just melt the wax into liquid form so that it can be poured into some kind of holder that will condense the wax.
- Make sure the condensed wax is thick enough to hold pins and needles, and then let it harden.
Now you have an easy and unique way to store your sewing kit.
You can now consider yourself the “Macgyver” of candle wax. Time to go impress your friends and show them how smart you are. Thanks for reading!