What to do with old candle jars – 3 EASY solutions

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Looking for what to do with old candle jars? Wanting to clean and recycle your empty candle jars – and reuse them? Or better yet – melt down the wax to make new candles! For 2 easy steps – keep reading!


I have a weakness for Yankee Candles.  I know they are cliche and expensive, but I have yet to find another brand that lives up to Yankee’s standard.  Call me a brand snob, I can take it. 

A typical mall date for me and my husband will inevitably find us in the Yankee Candle Store smelling things.  It’s true.  We have a list of candle scents that we will buy once they go on sale.  total.

Sad, I know.

Just for the record, I never buy them full price.  I wait until they are at least 50% off.  Oftentimes I can find them cheaper at other stores.  (One time I bought one at Ulta with a gift card I had.  Don’t judge.  I get more excited about candles than I do with new mascara.)

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This is what you need to clean out your candle jars…

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What to do with old candle jars

clean and reuse your candle jars - what to do with old candle jars

1.  MELT AND REUSE THE WAX FROM THE JARS

I wait until I have at least four used jars and I melt them down and create one new candle.  Brilliant, right? 

This is what you need:

Melt Down Your First Jar

  1. First, you will need to melt down your first jar. This will give you a clean jar to use for your new candle.
  2. Put your used candle jar in a saucepan of water and heat it until it boils.
  3. Let it boil until the wax is completely melted.  BTW, your house will smell amazing!
  4. Once the wax is melted, use a potholder and pour the hot wax into another used candle. This will combine smells for this first step.
  5. Now to create your clean candle jar, just heat up more boiling water and fill the old jar to the brim.  Let it sit until cold.  The old wax and pieces will melt, come to the surface, and re-harden into a little wax disk.  When it is cool, just pull that old wax out!
  6. To clean it further, I clean the jar with steel wool, Dawn dish soap, and some elbow grease to scrape and clean those jars out.  It took some time, but it works.  Also – try using some rubbing alcohol!  Test out the glass – and apply with a cotton ball. 

Create Your New Candle

  1. Cut a wick and tape it to the bottom of your clean jar.  Tape works just fine – you don’t need the wick bottom thingys.  Wrap it around a pencil laid on top of the jar (see above photo).  Cut and tape the other end of the wick (after wrapping it around the pencil) to the outside of the jar.
  2. Begin melting your second used candle jar just like you did with the first.
  3. When it is melted, hold the jar with a pot holder, and pour the wax around your new wick.  You don’t need to remove the old wick or strain it.  That stuff won’t really pour out.  Set old jar aside.
  4. Let wax harden a bit.  I have found that Yankee Candle wax hardens much faster than other brands.  But this works for all candles!
  5. While it is hardening, start melting your next candle.
  6. Repeat with all candles.  Each layer will harden so you have a layered colored candle!
  7. When you are done, let it completely harden overnight and cut the wick.  You have a new candle!

2.  CLEAN YOUR CANDLE JARS

When you are done with melting them down, you still have used jars with some wax bits in them!

Heat up more boiling water and fill the old jars to the brim.  Let them sit until cold.  The old wax and pieces will melt, come to the surface, and re-harden into a little wax disk.  When it is cool, just pull that old wax out!

You can repeat this step twice if necessary.  At this point, there will still be some junk in the jars.  I used steel wool, Dawn dish soap, and some elbow grease to scrape and clean those jars out.  It took some time, but it works.  Also – try using some rubbing alcohol!  Test out the glass – and apply with a cotton ball. 

To get the soot off, use a Magic Eraser!

I soak the jars and use more Dawn dish soap to remove those labels.  Give it enough time, and they will be clean and spotless.

Update – I most recently used Denatured Alcohol for this and it worked best.

3.  REUSE YOUR CANDLE JARS

Yankee Candle Jar DIY and Makeup Organization

These old jars are perfect for bathroom or garage organization.  Use them for cotton balls, Q-Tips, or try them out to organize your makeup!  The possibilities are endless.

Let me know if you have any ideas for other uses!

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Liz M

    FYI. Yankee candle black label candles are discontinued and the labels should be left intact if planning to sell. I saw this on a you tube video.

  2. Beth

    Thank you for sharing this DIY. some candle jars are absolutely lovely and definitely useful. Can’t wait to reuse them all.

  3. Charnay

    Hi! I work at a Yankee Candle in Michigan. There is a new recycling program where you bring your burnt candles into a store and get 50% off of your purchase that day . Obviously I have a million candles so this post was a lot of help!

    1. Ginny

      Oh what a good tip! Thank you!

  4. Patience

    My candles have an unpleasant smoky smell when they get down to about 1/3. Not sure why that is, I don’t do anything weird with them — and I pinch off the burnt tops of the wicks when they get too long. It sounds like this doesn’t happen with your candles, any idea why? (P.S. I live near the Yankee Candle Mothership in Deerfield, that place will suck you in and not let you go!)

    1. Ginny

      Hello! That is so weird. I do love to use Yankee Candle toppers that help the candles burn slower and with less smoke. Maybe they will help? Definitely check them out! https://go.magik.ly/ml/vau1/

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