How To Recycle and Reuse Candle Jars

Happy Friday, folks!

Today I thought I’d do something not-really-beauty-related-but-may-be-oh-I-don’t-know different today and show you a tutorial on how to recycle and reuse candle jars.

Cleaning and Recycling Candle Glass Jars

Here’s a little known fact about me (at least, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog or social media), I make my own candles. I still buy beautiful candles e.g. Glasshouse, Circa Home, Mrs Meyers’, etc from time to time, but nothing beats having your own homemade candles.

Oh wait. I told you I make my own candles in my last candle-y post, didn’t I?


Right. Carry on.

Soy is my wax of choice simply because it’s much safer for the household and it’s easier to clean up if there’s any spillage. Cheapie paraffin wax candles smoke easily and usually don’t burn evenly, leaving a hollow in the middle of your candle. I highly, HIGHLY recommend soy candles if you’re a fan of burning candles at home.

The markup of soy candle prices in retail stores are ridiculous. You’d be amazed at how cheap it is to make your own. Big brands often hike up the price by 200-300%! I know, yet I still buy them. Guilty pleasures, people. Guilty pleasures ๐Ÿ˜› . I get my candle-making supplies from Live in Spirit and eBay. Do check them out if you’re interested in learning how to make your own candles too.

Anyway, I digress. Today isn’t about making soy candles, it’s on how to recycle the candles jars. One of the best things about soy candles is that you can easily recycle candles jars and make them look like new (can’t do that with cheapie paraffin wax candle jars. They don’t clean out as well). I’ve reused heaps of candle jars to either refill them with new wax or upcycle them as containers for my cotton wool, cotton buds, makeup, etc.

Cleaning and Recycling Candle Glass Jars

There are plenty of ways to recycle candles jars. A popular way is to freeze the jar when you’re done and then crack the wax with a knife to remove the frozen wax. This isn’t my favourite way of doing it because even though it’s quick, the chances of cracking the glass or scratching it with your knife is high if the wax doesn’t contract enough from the cold and doesn’t come out of the jar easily.

This is how I do it. It’s a much longer process but every single jar that comes out of it looks brand new and it’s guaranteed to be free of any wax residue.

Cleaning and Recycling Candle Glass Jars

1. When the candle has come to its last leg, let it cool down completely for at least 24 hours. If you like, clean out as much residue on the glass with a kitchen paper towel. Be careful, the glass will be hot.

2. When the glass is completely cooled, heat a saucepan of water. You don’t need a lot of water; just an inch of it will do, enough to cover the bottom of the glass jar. Heat to a boil. If you place a newly finished glass jar that is still hot into a pot of boiling water, the glass will crack. I lost a gorgeous Glasshouse apothecary jar because of this.

3. When the water is boiling, place the glass jar on the pot. Don’t submerge the jar in the water, just place in the pot with the water surrounding the jar. Monitor the jar for about 20-30 seconds. When the remaining wax start to separate from the glass, remove the jar from the pot with a pair of tongs.

4. Pour the wax onto a bowl with crushed up newspapers. Do not pour the wax directly down the sink!

5. While the jar is still hot, wipe the jar down with a kitchen paper towel. Be careful when doing this because the jar will be very hot. I usually wear oven gloves when doing this.

Cleaning and Recycling Candle Glass Jars

6. To remove the metal bit at the bottom of the jar, scrape it off with a teaspoon and continue wiping down with another paper towel.

7. Squirt some dishwashing detergent into the jar and fill it up to the brim with hot water.

8. When the jar is starting to cool down and the water has become warm, wash the jar thoroughly with water. Use more dishwashing liquid if needed.

9. Voila! You’ll be left with a pristine jar. Wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol if you like before filling it up with products like facial cotton or cotton buds. Otherwise, use it as you please.

10. If the jar still has bits of paper stuck to the glass (whether it’s from the brand label or the precaution label at the bottom), just soak the jar in water for about 30 minutes. The sticky bits of paper will peel right off. I prefer to do this than use olive oil because they don’t always work and it’s greasy.

Cleaning and Recycling Candle Glass Jars

I know, it’s a crazy amount of steps compared to just freezing the jar but I’ve done this with every soy candle glass jar I have and they always end up looking like new. Not a single hint of residue is left on and in the jar and you wouldn’t have to worry about putting face products in there.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful for you. It’s a lot of fun recycling glass jars for extra storage and even better when the jars end up looking newer than when you bought it.

Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

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14 comments… add one
  1. Maddy

    Thanks for the post!! I have a freezer full of candle jars which I wanted to reuse….now I know what I will be doing this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Tine

      Haha have fun! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. lara @

    I’m a horrible trashy hipster and have recycled all the heavy jam jar style candles into new cocktail and smoothie jars. I do pretty much what you do to clean them up, then blast ’em through the dishwasher a few times to get them up to food standard cleanliness and remove any lingering scents. Voila! Now cocktail hour at my joint looks like it’s been styled by a Williamsburg via Darlinghurst food stylist.
    lara @ recently posted..February Hair Update – Spun Sugar Pink HairMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Damn, I never thought of using them as cocktail and smoothie jars. And thanks for the suggestion of putting them in the dishwasher!

  3. Victoria

    Thanks for this post. It is really so interesting how you get the glasses to look so brand new. I did not know that you made your own candles. Now that would be such an interesting blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Tine

      Haha if you like, I can always write a post showing you how to make your own candles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. xin

    Tine, u know what? Reading this makes me wanna run out to get a candle right away so I can recycle the jars!
    xin recently posted..Oil Up! Loving the L’occitane Almond Shower Oil & Supple Skin OilMy Profile

    1. Tine

      HAHAHAHA glad I have that much of an influence! ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Julie

    Wow!!! This is a great idea. I have three candle bottles and i will surely do this. i will clean them up and use them as containers of my daughters clips and ponytails. thanks for sharing this info.
    Julie recently posted..Do Eyelashes Grow Back After Theyโ€™ve Fallen Out?My Profile

    1. Tine

      My pleasure, Julie. Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Tegan @ Tegania's Thoughts

    I do something similar to clean my jars… when it is still warm (after the last little bit has burned down) I usually wipe out as much of the wax as I can with a paper towel (and that is usually most of it, soy wax comes off so easily!) then I run it under hot water to remove any further wax, then I let it cool a little and wash it with dishwashing liquid. I just miss the part on the stove ;P
    Tegan @ Tegania’s Thoughts recently posted..Rosehip Oil: Trilogy vs. Moo Goo {Review}My Profile

    1. Tine

      That’s another good thing about burning soy wax candles: they’re so easy to clean! I once spilled cheapie paraffin wax on a carpet and that was such a b*tch to remove. The only time it came off was when we steam-cleaned the carpet and that was when we were leaving the rental apartment!

  7. Bijin Blair

    Yes please, a DIY post on how you make your own candles!!
    Bijin Blair recently posted..February 2014 ModboxMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha okay then, a DIY post it is! ๐Ÿ™‚

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