How to Recycle and Reuse Candle Containers

Dirty, used candle containers

The Spruce / David Fisher

Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you have used candle containers with bits of old wax stuck in them, don’t get rid of them. It’s a quick and easy process to get those containers perfectly clean. All you have to do is bake the containers on low heat until the wax drips out by itself. This is much more economical and less wasteful, as you avoid having to buy new containers each time you want to do a candle-making project. And you can keep containers that fit with your decor—even repurposing them into vases, small storage jars, and more. Plus, these containers should come out so clean that you could even give them away as gifts. 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spoon and/or butter knife
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking pan
  • Oven mitts
  • Paper towels

Materials

  • Old candle container(s)

Instructions

  1. Scoop Out as Much Wax as Possible

    First, aim to manually remove as much of the old wax as possible from the jar. Most store-bought container candles use soft wax blends, so you should be able to get a lot of it out with just a spoon. For firmer parts, you can use a butter knife to help chip away the wax. You also can put the candle jar in the freezer for about an hour, which can help to separate the wax from the container. Repeat this process for all of the candle containers you are cleaning.

    Tip

    Unless there's a lot of clean leftover wax in the candle container, it's not recommended to recycle the wax scraps. There's generally too much soot and other debris to make it worth reusing.

    Scooping out leftover wax
    The Spruce / David Fisher
  2. Arrange the Candle Containers on a Baking Pan

    Next, line a baking pan or cookie sheet with one to two pieces of parchment paper (to absorb the wax). Then, arrange all of the candle containers you are cleaning upside down on top of the parchment paper.

    candle containers on a baking pan
    The Spruce / David Fisher
  3. Put the Candle Containers in the Oven

    Place your baking pan with the candle containers into an oven set at about 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake them for about 10 to 15 minutes. (If there was scented wax in your candle containers, enjoy the mix of aromas coming from your oven.)

    Then, carefully take the baking pan out of the oven, and check the inside of the containers while wearing oven mitts. If there's still a fair amount of wax that hasn't yet melted, put the containers back in the oven for a few more minutes.

    Candle containers in the oven
    The Spruce / David Fisher
  4. Take the Candle Containers Out of the Oven

    Once you see that nearly all of the wax has melted and run onto the parchment paper, remove the candle containers from the oven. Place the baking pan on a heat-safe surface while wearing oven mitts.

    Containers with wax melted out
    The Spruce / David Fisher
  5. Wipe Out the Candle Containers

    While the candle containers are still warm, clean out any remaining wax. Use paper towels to wipe the inside of each container, getting rid of wax, soot, and burned wick pieces. Also, wipe the outside and bottom to remove any wax drips and debris.

    While you're wiping, inspect the candle container thoroughly for any chips, cracks, or other imperfections. Sometimes little hairline cracks will become apparent when the jar is hot. If you find a crack, this, unfortunately, means the container is not worth reusing because it might be unsafe with a lit candle in it.

    Wiping the wax and soot out of the container
    The Spruce / David Fisher
  6. Let the Candle Containers Cool

    Finally, let your candle containers cool prior to refilling them with wax (or using them for other purposes). Inspect each container once more after it cools for imperfections. If it's in good shape, it's ready for another life as a container candle.

    Clean candle containers
    The Spruce / David Fisher