How to Reuse Candle Jars and Wax

Happy Wednesday! I’m flying solo this week as hubby is out of town on business for the next couple days. To take advantage of the bummer situation (I hate it when he’s gone!) I thought I would get some stuff around the house that I’d been meaning to take care of. One of those things is dealing with all the ends and leftovers of my Bath and Body Works candles. I. LOVE. the candles at B&BW. In fact, hubby and I make a date of it every time a new season rolls around – we go and smell all the new seasonal candles and pick out 3-4 that are our favorites – it sounds like a really simple date, but it’s one of our favorite things to do together! We can get pretty silly on these dates πŸ™‚

reuse candle jars

The one thing that isn’t awesome about the candles is that once the wicks burn down to the nubs there’s usually still a half inch or so of perfectly good wax that doesn’t get used! Ack! I thought that if I could find a way to reuse candle jars and wax in some way, I could get the most bang for my buck, instead of just throwing the used candles away. I mean, they are over $20 when they aren’t on sale!

reuse candle jars

So I’m going to share a little trick for making this as easy and painless as possible that I’ve been using for the past year or so πŸ™‚ When I first started looking for ways to remove wax on Pinterest and Google, I got a lot of results telling me to put the candle jar in a pot of boiling water to melt the wax, but I was worried about the jar shattering or figuring out how to pick up a boiling hot glass out of a pot of water and trying to pour it into something else. Another common way was just to use a knife and try to carve it out, but that just ends up messy and doesn’t get rid of all the remnants of wax.

reuse candle jars

My secret? Pour boiling water straight into the candle jar!

It really is quite magical. Just heat your kettle up to boiling and then pour a small amount of water into each candle jar. As you can tell by the amount of jars I have, I’ve been putting it off for a while! The nice thing about the hot water is that it will clean off any burn marks or other smudges on the inside of the jar.

reuse candle jars

reuse candle jars

The hot water will melt the wax and it will float up to the top of the water. As the water cools, the wax will re-harden into a nice wafer layer on the top. Simply lift the wax off the top of the water et voilΓ ! You might need to repeat the steps of pouring boiling water in and taking wax off the top a few times if all of it doesn’t come off at first go.

reuse candle jars

After all the wax is removed you can pry up the wick holders pretty easily with a knife or fork. If they don’t come up easily, add more boiling water to loosen the adhesive. I also like to peel off the labels for a clean look – use goo gone or dish soap to get any leftover stickiness off!

Once the jars are all cleaned out, I run them and their lids through the dishwasher to get any remaining junk off and to get them sparkly clean.

Now you have some awesome jars to use for holding things like office supplies or knick-knacks or anything you’d like! I imagine that they would be safe for unwrapped food products if you ran them through the dishwasher a couple times, but don’t quote me on that. I would only put in wrapped items just to be safe.

reuse candle jars

reuse candle jars

Attach one to a thrift store candlestick for a trendy piece of home decor! I made one into a cotton ball holder for the bathroom. Β In addition to using them in my tea and coffee bar to hold my tea bags I also use them in my craft room to hold supplies πŸ™‚

reuse candle jars

reuse candle jarsAs for the wax, I usually make smaller candles out of the leftovers! I bought a box of plain wicks from the craft store and had a bunch of leftover small glass candle holders that someone gave me a long time ago. To make the new candles, you can do the double boiler method by placing the wax wafers in an empty can and putting the can in a pot of boiling water or simply use a pot dedicated to crafts and heat it until it melts. Then simply pour into the new container with the wick and you have a new candle! I love that you can get more life out of those amazing Bath and Body Works scents!Β  You can see my new candles at work on my fall tablescape. This method should work with all candles that come in glass jars. Happy recycling!

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reuse candle jars

I hope this tip is helpful and that you can get more life out of your favorite candle jars and wax!


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  • Alesha says:

    Thanks for the tips. I reuse my candle holders too. But I just pop mine in the freezer for about an hour, and most of the time, the wax pops right out. However, the next time I have a stubborn one, I’ll try your method. πŸ˜‰

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I’ve never heard of the freezer method! I’ll definitely have to give that a go to see how it compares – thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

      • Mary George says:

        I’ve used the freezer method as well and it works great. Here is another idea for the leftover wax….I keep my cardboard type egg containers, fill each receptacle with dryer lint then top off with the melted candle remains. Cut them apart and they make excellent fire starters for those outdoor pits!!

      • Susan says:

        Is there a way to get debris out of the wax? Old flecks of wick etc.

    • Teresa says:

      Freezer works well and I use the wax then in my tart burners!

      • Erica Sooter says:

        I’ve never tried the freezer before but I’ll have to give it a go! πŸ™‚ Wax in a tart burner is a great idea, too! Thanks for stopping by, Teresa! πŸ™‚


      HI…I just started to do that also with my yankee candle jars….I melting my remaining wax in the microwave….but it was very hot to remove from the oven….I will definitely use your idea next time…thanks

    • C says:

      You can also freeze the candle jar and then just poke it with a knife or something sharp. It breaks up and comes out nice and clean.

    • Catherine says:

      You can also put them in the freezer they pop right out

    • Trish says:

      Actually just putting tap water in the candle will loosen the wax up and using hot water will work almost immediately. You can then use the wax as melts.

    • I used my crock pot. I put a crock pot liner, water put the jars in and the lid slightly cracked open. Then I put it on low for a while until the wax is melted! Make sure you cover ypur work space and5 have the jars or containers you are using close so you can just pour them in. It can be a bit messy since your dealing with melted wax.They dont get too hot to the touch to where you cant handle them.
      And, guess what? While you are waiting for the wax to melt, you can do errands clean the house or cook dinner ehater, A Your Whole House Smells Great! The usage for the jars are endless I Love Them!

  • I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get that stubborn wax out of those jars without prying it all up with a fork. This is such a great idea! I know what I’ll be doing when I get a spare moment. I love how you reuse the jars to hold little knick knacks.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks, Sarah! I tried the fork thing too before figuring out this trick and it was such a pain! I’m glad this method is a little easier. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  • Kristi says:

    SO brilliant Erica!!! Not only do I love the candles, but I love those pretty little jars too! They make such perfect display containers!!!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks Kristi! I adore the jars too – I think with the wax and labels removed they look like something you could get in a high-end shop or something πŸ™‚

  • Amy C. says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve thrown so many of these jars away over the years and felt so bad about it. I will definitely give this a try.

  • Leigh Anne says:

    I love these! So cute! Reusing the jars is a great idea! You could also use those little leftover wafers as melts in a scent burner πŸ™‚

    • Erica Sooter says:

      That’s such a brilliant idea, Leigh Anne! Like those little scentsy things right? I don’t have one, but it would be such an easy and great way to use up that wax!

  • Brilliant idea! I am so doing this! I have a few of these sitting around that I haven’t thrown out yet…yay! Thanks Erica for sharing!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks Tara! It definitely makes me feel better about buying a $20+ candle when I know I can get more out of it than just a nice candle!

  • Nicole B. says:

    Definitely need to give this a try! They make such CUTE storage containers!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks Nicole! I adore the glass jars and I’m so glad that I can reuse them – they’re my faves for decorative storage!

  • Ntina says:

    this is such a usefull tip! thank you! I’m pinning it. stopping by from Create It Thursday link party

  • brepurposed says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I love B&BW candles too, they are the best! I currently have the Pumpkin Caramel Latte one and it makes our place smell divine πŸ™‚ Love all the uses for them too!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Ooh, I remember smelling all the Pumpkin candles last time we were there and that one smelled so. good! Yum. πŸ™‚

  • Awesome idea, Erica! Totally an easy way to clean out way, and I like that you don’t have to boil the jars either! You’re so clever. πŸ™‚ I always have glass candle jars lying around, great idea to use them to hold knick nacks!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks, Amanda! I just couldn’t bear to throw away all that unused wax and beautiful glass so I’m glad I found a way to reuse both! πŸ™‚

  • How did I miss this post? You are a genius! I LOVE how you reused the candle containers for storage, so cute!

  • Gaila says:

    This is a great tip! I have been wondering how to remove the wax. I will definitely give it a try!!

  • Deborah Q says:

    That was a great tip. I have been wanting to do that. I use the knife method which does not always work. Now I be able to use them for my crafts like I see you use. Yay!

  • Emily says:

    This is a fun tutorial, but I was especially tickled by your sweet, low-maintenance date idea. Perhaps not for all husbands (or wives, for that matter), but mine would love it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Aw, thanks so much Emily! My husband and I love to go candle shopping together! Just a fun, casual, unique date. I hope you and your hubby have fun! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  • Marsha Huckins says:

    I have been reusing candle jars for years! One creative use for the recycled jars is to hold quetips and cotton balls in the bathroom! The lid keeps them clean, but you put the jars where they are easily accessible!

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve always done the freezer method but I’m trying yours too!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I’ve never tried the freezer method – I’ll have to test it out and see how it compares!

  • Tracey says:

    I do the freezer method first and then I do the boiling water method. Together they get the glass crystal clear.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Awesome, Tracey! Next time I clean out candle jars I’ll definitely try your combo method πŸ™‚

  • Sally says:

    Oh, these 3-wick candles are my favorite! Right now, I am stuck on Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, but it’s almost time for some spring fragrances. Good for you for coming up with a way to use these nice jars & lids. I did a blog post about using the lids as artwork, and I kind of got scolded from a reader – saying I would drive the price of the candles up if B&BW got wind of my idea. LOL Whatever! Keep up the good idea-sharing! Found you via Pinterest today! ~Sally

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Those candles are totally my fave, too! We are still working through our fall/winter fragrances as well, but I can’t wait to buy some of the new spring line. I really like your lid as art idea – it’s super clever! Don’t let any naysayers get to you haha πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for stopping by, Sally, and I hope to see you again soon!

  • Megan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been saving mine and wondering if I should throw them out or save them. I will definitely be saving them now!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I’m so glad I could help, Megan! There really are so many fun things you can do with the jars once they’re empty πŸ™‚

  • Pingback: How to remove old wax from candles easily and ways to repurpose the jars! | Dwell Beautiful - DIY Craft's Home Decor
  • Christine G says:

    LOVE THIS!!!! Just cleaned out my cabinet of candles and have a ton to clean. Will this also remove the black soot marks at the top of the jar?

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I’m so glad my post is useful, Christine! The hot water absolutely removes the black soot at the top, which is really nice. Once they are all cleared out I also usually run the jars through the dishwasher to get any remaining residue off! If you have any tough sticky spots try ‘Goo Gone’ and that should also clear it up!

  • Jennie Tighe says:

    After removing the wax from the jars, I put the wax in a baggie into my closets and drawers – makes them smell wonderful like using potpourri. I also like to keep one in my suitcase (in the house) so it doesn’t get musty.

  • Cassandra says:

    Thank you for this great tip! I live in the Netherlands and we unfortunately do not have a B&BW! But we do have candles πŸ˜€ I have wanted to use a candle jar I have because it is sturdy and big to hold all my kitchen utensils. I’ve just used your tip (but I was inpatient so I used a spoon to scoop the wax out while the wax was still cooling down), it worked as a charm!!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      So glad my tips worked for you, Cassandra! I bet your new jar is perfect for all those kitchen utensils πŸ™‚ I wish you had a B&BW in the Netherlands – the scents are just amazing!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Since I work at my local BBW, I will pass these steps along to my customers. I too love our candles and here’s how I get the wax out: I line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I heat the oven to about 200 or 250 degrees. I put the jars upside down on the tin foil lined baking sheet and put them in the oven. The jar wax melts out onto the foil. Wearing oven mitts, I take the jars out and with a wad of paper towels wipe all the wax out of the inside and it’s also wipes off any soot on the edges. The wick holders usually come out very easily at this time also. I set the glass aside to cool and after I’m done I also use Goo Gone to take the stickers off and run them through the dishwasher. The benefits of doing the oven method also work on candelabras and Hanukkah Menoras & makes your house smell good. So here’s an alternative method for people try also. This is great in the winter time as it makes the house smell good and the oven gives off a little heat.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Oh that’s such a good idea! I bet your house totally smells amazing when you do that! Will definitely have to try that before having company over so everything smells nice πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tips!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Elizabeth, my name is Elizabeth and I do the same exact thing πŸ˜‚! I actually heat the oven up at a much higher 350-400 degrees… it helps to burn off the outside sticker so there’s less of that mess to clean up. I pour the wax in other jars and make new candles with the left over wax. I have a ton of glass candle jars now I’m trying to figure out what to do with… most of the candle jars are the Walmart ones for like $3… they don’t have lids. I’m looking around to see if I can use them for Christmas decorating. They’d be cool to use to line an aisle for a wedding or as part of a table centerpiece, but I’m not even engaged…yet (most likely by the end of 2016 fingers crossed lol). If anyone has any tips on what to do with these glass jars it would be much appreciated!!! Have a great day!!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Linda says:

    I have found that if you freeze the candles, you just have to turn them upside down, give them a solid bang on the counter top and the candle (wicks and all just pop out of the jar).

  • Sofia says:

    Great idea! I work at Pier 1 Imports and have learned over the years that you can melt them in the oven. Place jars upside down on multiple papertowel lined cookie sheet, and bake at a low temp like 250 and the wax will melt into the towels. Careful when removing- they are hot!! But the wax wipes right out while warm.

  • Susan Gregg says:

    I like to clean out those pretty jars and use them for my homemade sugar scrubs.

  • Kristin says:

    I’m giving this a try right now! I’ve got one in the freezer to try that method and I’m heating up water to try the boiling method on another. I sure hope these ideas work. I’m so tired of putting all that effort into scraping and carving with little positive end result. Thanks so much for sharing! Fingers crossed!!!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Yay! Let me know how it works, Kristin! You don’t want the water to be extremely boiling otherwise the glass has the potential to crack (though I’ve never had it happen) but hot water should do just fine πŸ™‚ Good luck!

      • Kristin says:

        Well I am extremely pleased to report that my candle jars are wax free!!! The freezer method took a bit less work.. Stick it in the freezer, come back to it about an hour later and the wax popped right out. However, both ways worked great and got the job done. I’m so glad I found this post and know what to do now. I pinned and shared for others also. I know this will surely save me time and hassle in the future! πŸ˜‰ All the way from North Carolina, here’s a big ole southern thank ya!!!

        • Erica Sooter says:

          Oh yay, I’m so glad it worked for you! I will definitely have to try the freezer method – I’ve never tried that one before! Thank you SO much for reporting back and for pinning and sharing! I hope 2016 is a fabulous year for you and your family πŸ™‚

  • Mary Whitlaw says:

    These are some great tips! I have few candle jars that stay in a box ready to be thrown out, but re-purposing them is a very good idea! Got some good ideas from here, thanks for sharing!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary! I love to use the candle jars to store craft supplies and tea bags. It’s so great when something can be reused. Have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚

  • Teri says:

    I have been looking for a good method to clean out the jars I’d like to reuse. Will definitly give each a try, hot water and freezer to see which I prefer. And just a side note that if there are some containers you don’t want to reuse be sure to take to a thrift store to recycle, folks shop thrift stores looking for containers to use for candle making.

  • Amy says:

    I use my leftover wax in a wax burner.I will definitely be trying these ideas to get the wax out of jars. Thanks!

  • David says:

    This is by far the most effective method! Sometimes you need to repeat the process a several times (depends of the amout of leftover wax) but at the end you’ll have perfectly clean & clear glass jars πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for this super easy and simple tutorial! πŸ™‚

    I tried the freezer method in the past but it never worked for me, while this worked like a charm!

  • We have a lot of waste candle jars at our home. We thought now they are waste because they were so expensive. and we didn’t want to throw them out. This is very informative post @Erica! I think the things you covered through the post are impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it…keep it up, lovely job..:)

  • Emily says:

    I actually work for BBW, and have developed quite a collection of candles over the years. I have always used the freezer method to get out the wax, but have actually scratched and broken a few jars. I tried your method with the hot water, and it worked like a charm, gonna keep that one in mind to tell my regular customers. I am actually looking for more ideas to do with my empty jars, as I would hate to just throw them into recycling. Any suggestions?

  • Lydia says:

    Thanks sharing your easy way to clean out these nice jars! I did my first two the hard way but will definitely do this from now on. I am also using the leftover wax as potpourri in the closets. I was wondering if you have any idea how to get the SMELL out of the lid? I tried vinegar and all it did was make the lid rust! I also tried using bleach…didn’t work either.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Lydia and I’m glad my post was helpful! As for the lids, I usually just run them through the dishwasher and I haven’t noticed much of a smell afterwards!

  • Scent Lover says:

    I just use a candle warmer to enjoy the rest of the candle until the scent wears out, then I don’t mind throwing the wax away nc it’s scentless. If I still can’t let go, I warm it up and put a few drops of essential oil in there or add scented wax cubes. I really love your ideas for using the empty candle jars! It’s so hard to let go, they are decorated so nicely.

  • Sheila Courtney says:

    I also reuse my candle jars and the boiling water works great! I buy decorative glass knobs at Hobby Lobby (on sale) and my hubby drills a small hole in the top center of the lid and inserts the knob with a washer to hold it firmly in place.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      That’s so great! I definitely need to start drilling holes an adding knobs to my lids – that sounds too adorable πŸ™‚ Is Hobby Lobby the best place that you’ve found to get pretty knobs?

  • Molly says:

    Well this did not work for us at all. My daughter followed the instructions, the candle did not rise to the top, and when she poured the water out I got wax all over my kitchen sink! Not happy.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Oh no! I’m very sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you, Molly! πŸ™ Were they Bath & Body Works Candles or another brand? I’ve noticed that off brand ones don’t really work as well with this trick – I tried a random candle I got from Fred Meyer and it didn’t work really well at all – perhaps it’s just the specific formulation of the BBW candles that allows the hot water to work. If she wants to attempt to get wax out again I would attempt the ‘Freezer Method’ – pop the candle in the freezer for a few hours and the wax should pull right out!

  • Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful info particularly the last part πŸ™‚ I care for such information a lot.
    I was looking for this particular info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  • Beverly says:

    Use of hot water in candle jars to remove the candle wax works like a charm. Great tip, thank you.

  • Mandy says:

    With two active young cats (nickname, The Flying Fellinies) bounding around, I can’t use the candles that I frequently get as gifts. I melt the wax, discard the wick and make pine cone fire starters for our wood burning fireplace. They work great and as a bonus you get to enjoy the fragrance even before use. And, natch, any jars get upcycled in one fashion or another.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Haha, your cats sound like my cats, Mandy! What wild but lovable little munchkins πŸ™‚ That’s such a great idea to make firestarters with the wax! I’d never thought of that but it is brilliant and makes perfect sense. And who wouldn’t want an awesome scented fire?? Yay for upcycling!

  • Isla says:

    Really easy and quick way to clean your candle jar Erica!

    Have you ever tried using your oven? I know that sounds weird, but its another quick and easy way to clean your candle jars and you can do like 5 at a time!

    How many re-used jars do you have round the house?

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I haven’t tried the oven yet, but that sounds like a quick and great way to do a large batch! I have SOOO many jars around the house – I use them to hold tea bags, craft supplies, extra coins, you name it!

  • Sheila K Truitt says:

    I use a candle warmer after the wick has burnt down. The smell lasts quite a while longer (probably at least another week). Then when the wax and smell is almost completely gone, I get it warmed up on the warmer until it melts, grab a couple of paper towels, and pour what little wax is left in the trash can, and immediately wipe the jar with paper towels. While it is hot, the bottom tag will also come off. I am still looking for new ideas for reusing jars. I have oodles of them…too pretty to throw away!!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Oh that sounds like such a great idea! What a cool idea to use up all the wax. I ended up giving all the leftover wax to my sister so she could use them in her scentsy wax burners! There are so many cool things you can do with the jars – they are great for storage and you can even repurpose them into brand new candles with some new wicks and combined leftover wax!

  • Donna W says:

    To get the benefit of all the scent after the wicks burn out, I use a coffee cup warmer and place the candle on it. You can enjoy the remaining scent for quite a while. The cup warmer does not get too hot for the glass holder but is warm enough to melt the wax and release the scent. When the scent is gone, I put hot tap water in a bowl, sit the candle holder in the water for a few minutes and the wax releases. The jars are great for painting, decoupage, image transfers, etc

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