Candles are a popular household item that can provide warmth, ambiance, and fragrance to your living space. However, just like any other item, candles eventually burn out, leaving you with the task of disposing of them responsibly. 

In this article, we’ll explore various ways to dispose of old candles, what to do with candles when they’re done, DIY methods for repurposing used candles, where to recycle candle jars, and when it’s time to bid farewell to a candle.


Before we start exploring what to do with old candles, let’s first take a step back and understand why it’s so important to handle them carefully.

You see, many candles are made from something called paraffin wax. This wax comes from petroleum, the same stuff that makes gasoline for cars. So, when you light a candle made of paraffin, it’s like having a tiny, cozy oil refinery right in your home.

When these candles burn, they can create problems. They release things like harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air. These things are not good for our environment or our health.

That’s why it’s essential to be mindful of how we get rid of old candles. We should try to do it in a way that doesn’t add more bad stuff to the environment. 

By making smart choices about candle disposal, we can help protect our world and keep it a cleaner, healthier place for everyone. So, let’s dive into the ways to make sure we handle old candles with care.

Ways To Dispose Of Old Candles

Old candle use
Image Credit:

When it’s time to part ways with your old candles, there are several eco-friendly methods to consider:

1. Recycling

Recycling is a great way to make sure your old candles don’t end up in the trash, which is good for the environment. It also helps save valuable resources. 

Get the Wax Out: To prepare your candle container for recycling, start by getting rid of any leftover wax. You have a few options: Put the container in the freezer for a while. The cold makes the wax shrink, so it’s easier to remove. 

Another method is to pour hot water into the container to melt the wax. Once it cools and hardens, you can pop the wax out.

Remove the Wick: Carefully use a butter knife or something similar to scrape out the remaining wax. It’s essential to get the wick out, too, as the metal part of the wick might not be suitable for recycling.

Clean the Container: Wash the container with warm, soapy water to remove any remaining bits of wax. This not only gets it ready for recycling but also ensures that any lingering candle scent doesn’t affect the recycling process.

Check Local Rules: Different places have different rules for recycling, so it’s a good idea to check with your local recycling center.

They can tell you if they accept glass and metal containers, which is where you’ll take your candle container. Some areas might have specific drop-off spots for items like this.

Drop It Off: Once your clean candle container is ready, take it to your local recycling center or follow your local guidelines. In many cases, they’ll happily accept glass or metal candle jars without any issues.

2. Upcycling

Upcycling is a fantastic way to make your old candles come alive again by giving them a fresh purpose. It’s like a magical transformation, turning something old into something new and useful. Here’s how you can upcycle your old candles:

Melt and Remold: To upcycle your old candles, start by melting the wax inside them. You can do this by gently heating them up. Once the wax is all liquid, you’re ready for the next step.

Get Creative with Molds: Now that you have the melted wax, you can pour it into new moulds or containers to make fresh candles. You can find candle moulds at craft stores, or you can use fun shapes like silicone ice cube trays.

Add a Wick: Don’t forget to add a new wick to your new creation. Now you’ve got yourself a brand-new candle that’s ready to light up your space.

But that’s not all. You can also get super creative by repurposing the old candle containers. Instead of throwing them away, consider these ideas:

Plant Pots: If the container is big enough, you can turn it into a lovely little home for a small plant. It’s like giving your plant a cozy house to grow in.

Storage Containers: Small candle jars are perfect for storing little things like buttons, jewellery, or spices in your kitchen.

Decorative Pieces: These containers can be decorated and used as charming decorations around your home. Paint them, add some ribbons or colourful stickers, and they can become eye-catching décor items.

Upcycling is not only a great way to reduce waste but also an opportunity to express your creativity. It’s like a fun craft project where you’re not just helping the environment but also adding a personal touch to your surroundings. 

So, the next time you finish a candle, remember that its journey doesn’t have to stop there; it can take on a whole new life filled with possibilities.

3. Composting

Composting is a bit like magic that turns leftover candle pieces into dark, rich soil that helps your plants grow. It’s not only great for the environment, but you can do it with candles made from natural materials like beeswax or soy wax.

Choose Natural Candles: Make sure the candles you want to compost are made from natural stuff like beeswax or soy wax. These types of wax break down easily in the compost, which is perfect for this eco-friendly adventure.

Be Picky: Before you toss the candle pieces into your compost pile, be a little selective. Remove any non-biodegradable things like metal wicks. These items don’t break down and can cause problems in your compost.

Mix It In: Now, add those natural candle bits to your compost pile. Mix them in with other compostable items like fruit peels, leaves, and coffee grounds. This mix of ingredients helps create really good soil for your garden.

Patience Pays Off: Composting takes a bit of time. Be patient as nature works its magic. Over time, your candle bits will break down, and you’ll have fantastic compost to use in your garden.

Composting is a fantastic way to give back to the Earth. It’s like turning old stuff into food for new plants. Plus, it’s so much better than sending your candle remnants to a landfill. 

So, if you have natural wax candles, don’t waste them; turn them into something beautiful for your garden instead!

What To Do with Candles When Done?

Image Credit:

Once you’ve enjoyed the full life of your candle, consider these steps:

1. Donate

Donating old candles is a fantastic way to extend their usefulness and brighten someone else’s day. 

  • Local Shelters: Homeless and women’s shelters often welcome donations of candles. Candles can provide warmth and comfort, especially to those in need during the colder months.
  • Schools and Educational Programs: Many schools and educational programs can benefit from candle donations. Teachers often use candles for various educational activities, such as science experiments or art projects. Contact your local schools to see if they are interested in your candle donation.
  • Community Organizations: Reach out to community organizations, religious institutions, or community centres. They might be hosting events, fundraisers, or gatherings that could benefit from the ambience created by your donated candles.
  • Online Platforms: Consider using online platforms and community bulletin boards to find individuals or organizations in need of candles. Websites like Freecycle, Craigslist, or social media groups can be helpful for connecting with people looking for free candle donations.

2. Repurpose Candle Jars

Candle jars can be repurposed in various creative ways, making them not just eco-friendly but also aesthetically pleasing and functional. 

  • Storage Containers: Clean out the empty candle jar thoroughly and use it for storage. These jars are perfect for holding small items like buttons, paper clips, beads, or even office supplies. You can also label them for easy organization.
  • Mini Planters: Convert your empty candle jars into mini planters. Small succulents or air plants thrive in these jars, adding a touch of greenery to your living space.
  • Homemade Candles: If you’re crafty and enjoy making candles, you can use the cleaned candle jars to create new candles. This way, you can continue to enjoy the jar’s aesthetics while reducing waste.
  • Decorative Items: Get creative and turn your empty candle jars into decorative items. Paint them, add embellishments, or use them as tea light holders, creating a cozy and unique ambience.
  • Gifts and Party Favors: Repurposed candle jars can be filled with homemade goodies, like homemade jams, bath salts, or cookies, and used as thoughtful gifts or party favors.

Remember, repurposing candle jars not only helps the environment by reducing waste but also allows you to get more value from your candles, even after they’ve burned out. So, the next time you finish a candle, think about how you can continue to enjoy its jar in a new and creative way.

What to Do with Used Candles [DIY Methods]

Used candles can find a new lease on life through creative DIY projects. Here are some fun ideas to try.

1. Candle Dipping:

Candle dipping is a fun and creative way to repurpose old candle wax. It allows you to create unique and colourful candles with a homemade touch. 

Materials Needed:

  • Old candle wax
  • String or twine
  • Double boiler or microwave-safe container
  • Candle dye (optional)
  • Fragrance oil (optional)


  • Melt the old candle wax using a double boiler or a microwave. If you want to add colour or fragrance, do so at this stage.
  • Cut the string or twine to the desired length for your candle. Make sure it’s a bit longer than the final candle size.
  • Dip the string into the melted wax, then quickly pull it out and let it cool for a few seconds. Repeat this process, allowing each layer to cool and harden until you achieve the desired candle thickness.
  • You can repeat the dipping process with different colours to create layered or multi-coloured candles.

Tip: Experiment with different colours and fragrances to make your dipped candles unique and personalized.

2. Candle Carving

Candle carving is a craft that allows you to transform plain old candles into beautiful, personalized works of art. Here’s how to get started:

Materials Needed

  • Old candle
  • Carving tools (e.g., paring knife, sculpting tools)
  • Design or pattern (optional)


  • Ensure your old candle is clean and free from dust or debris.
  • Plan your design or pattern. You can sketch it directly on the candle or use a stencil if you prefer.
  • Carefully carve the design into the candle’s surface. Take your time and be patient, as carving can be a delicate process.
  • As you carve, wax shavings will accumulate. You can collect these shavings and repurpose them for other projects, such as making wax melts.

Tip: Candle carving allows for endless creativity. You can create intricate patterns, personalized messages, or even simple, elegant designs.

3. Candle Wax Potpourri

Making candle wax potpourri is a great way to combine the scents of your old candles with dried flowers and herbs, resulting in delightful, homemade potpourri. 

Materials Needed

  • Old candle wax
  • Dried flowers and herbs (e.g., lavender, rose petals, eucalyptus)
  • Essential oils (optional)


  • Melt the old candle wax using a double boiler or a microwave.
  • While the wax is melting, combine your choice of dried flowers and herbs in a bowl.
  • Once the wax is liquid, pour it over the dried flowers and herbs, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  • If you want to enhance the scent, add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture.
  • Allow the wax to cool and harden completely, then break it into smaller pieces for use as potpourri.

Tip: Candle wax potpourri not only looks beautiful but also releases a pleasant aroma when displayed in a bowl or sachet.

These creative DIY methods for used candles can bring new life to old wax and offer you a chance to personalize and customize your home decor or gifts. Have fun experimenting and repurposing your candles in ways that suit your style and preferences.

Where To Recycle Candle Jars?

Candle jars, often made of glass or ceramic, are durable and can be easily recycled. Here’s a more detailed guide on where and how to recycle them:

1. Local Recycling Centers

  • Most communities have local recycling centres or facilities that accept glass and ceramic containers. Check with your municipal recycling program to find the nearest centre and inquire about their specific guidelines for glass recycling.
  • Before recycling, make sure to clean the candle jar thoroughly. Remove any residual wax and wick remnants. Washing them with warm, soapy water is usually sufficient.

2. Check Local Recycling Guidelines

  • Different areas may have varying rules and regulations regarding glass recycling. Some places may accept candle jars with regular glass recycling, while others may require you to separate them from other glass items.
  • Be aware of any size or weight restrictions on glass recycling in your locality.

3. Special Drop-Off Locations

  • In some regions, you may find special drop-off locations that specifically accept glass containers, including candle jars. These drop-off points are convenient for those who prefer not to mix glass with their regular curbside recycling.
  • Search online or contact your local waste management or recycling authority to identify these specialized drop-off locations.

4. Glass-Only Recycling Bins

  • Certain communities have dedicated glass-only recycling bins at various locations, such as supermarkets or public parks. You can deposit your cleaned candle jars in these bins for proper recycling.
  • Always ensure that your candle jars meet the criteria set by the designated recycling program.

5. Tips for Recycling Candle Jars

  • Safety First: When cleaning out candle jars, be cautious when handling hot water or sharp tools to remove wax and wick remnants. Allow the jars to cool before cleaning.
  • Remove Labels: Before recycling, it’s a good practice to remove any labels or stickers from the candle jars. Adhesive residues can sometimes be problematic in the recycling process.
  • Reuse or Repurpose: If you’re not ready to part with your candle jars, consider repurposing them for storage, organization, or home decor. Reusing them is another eco-friendly option and keeps these containers out of the waste stream.
  • Recycling Guidelines: Always adhere to the specific recycling guidelines provided by your local waste management or recycling authorities. Following these guidelines ensures that your candle jars are processed correctly in an environmentally friendly manner.

By recycling your candle jars properly, you contribute to reducing waste and promoting sustainability. 

These jars can often be given a new life as glass containers, conserving resources and minimizing the environmental impact associated with manufacturing new items.

When to Throw Out a Candle?

1. Low Wick

When the wick of a candle becomes too short, it can be challenging to light it, and the candle may not burn properly. A low wick can also cause the candle to tunnel, leaving a lot of unused wax on the sides.

To prevent this, trim the wick to around 1/4 inch (about 6 mm) before each use. If the wick becomes too short despite regular trimming, it’s a sign that the candle has reached the end of its lifespan.

2. Excessive Soot

If a candle produces a significant amount of soot, it not only affects air quality but also indicates an inefficient burn. Soot can accumulate on the candle jar, walls, and ceilings, leading to a dirty and potentially hazardous environment.

To reduce soot, ensure the wick is trimmed to the recommended length and that the candle isn’t in a drafty area. If a candle consistently produces soot despite these precautions, it’s best to discontinue its use.

3. Uneven Burning

Candles that burn unevenly pose a fire hazard. When one side burns faster than the other, it can cause the candle to become lopsided, leading to potential spills, or even worse, a fire if the candle falls over.

To encourage even burning, make sure to allow the candle to burn long enough for the wax pool to reach the edges of the container during each use. If the candle still burns unevenly, it’s time to retire it for safety reasons.

4. Extinguishing Difficulty

If a candle is challenging to extinguish or keeps relighting itself, it’s a sign of an unstable or unsafe candle. This can happen when the wick is too long, causing a larger flame than the candle can handle.

Blow out the candle and trim the wick to an appropriate length (around 1/4 inch or 6 mm) before relighting it. If the problem persists or if the candle continues to relight itself, it should be discarded to avoid potential fire hazards.

Remember, candle safety is paramount. Using candles beyond their safe and efficient burning capacity can lead to accidents and pose risks to your home and loved ones. 

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your candles is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable candle experience. If you notice any of the mentioned signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace the candle with a new, safe one.


In the end, candles bring a cozy atmosphere to our homes, but they also bring a duty to handle them responsibly. Recycling, finding new uses, and letting your creativity flow with DIY projects are all wonderful ways to maximize your candles and minimize your impact on the environment.

Don’t forget to keep safety in mind when dealing with candles and their leftovers. By following these guidelines, you can continue to enjoy the charm of candles while also being a mindful and eco-conscious consumer. It’s all about striking a balance between the beauty they bring and the responsibility we owe to the planet.


What are the healthiest candles to burn?

The healthiest candles to burn are usually ones made from natural materials like beeswax or soy wax. These candles tend to produce less smoke and harmful chemicals when they burn.

Also, they don’t have the same petroleum-based ingredients that some other candles have, which can be less healthy to breathe. So, if you want to enjoy candles while looking out for your health, go for the ones made from natural ingredients.

Is it OK to leave candles on overnight?

It’s not a good idea to leave candles burning while you sleep or when you’re not around. It can be dangerous because accidents can happen. If the candle tips over or something flammable gets too close, it could start a fire.

So, it’s safer to blow out your candles before you go to sleep or leave the room. If you really want a light source overnight, consider using battery-operated LED candles instead – they’re much safer.

Additional Contents

  1. How to Recycle Video Tapes [4 Ways]
  2. How to Recycle Microwave Ovens
  3. How to Recycle Cigarette Filters
  4. How to Recycle Gel Ice Packs [4 Ways]
  5. How to Recycle Wooden Pallets [5 Ways]