How to Recycle Candle Wax

Melted candles

mparrilla/Getty Images

Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Any candle maker (or even candle user) will ultimately have lots of scraps of candles left over. You can be frugal and earth-friendly at the same time by recycling the wax. With colored or scented wax scraps, you can make torch candles, citronella candles, or use the wax to test out new molds or new pouring techniques.

Scrapped candle wax comes from a mixture of different waxes, and your best bet is to recycle candles that are similar in the same batch. Additionally, it's best to use recycled wax for candles that you don't mind if they burn poorly, such as outdoor bucket candles or dipped candle torches. If you've got used containers, you can recycle the candle containers, too!

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Melt pot
  • Tongs, chopsticks, or a fork
  • Tub, pail, or molds
  • Strainer (optional)

Materials

  • Scraps of wax or burned-out candle bottoms

Instructions

  1. Separate the Scraps

    Separate the scraps and pieces into an unscented and/or uncolored pile and a scented and/or colored pile.

    Tip

    Coordinate scented scraps into similar scent families (for example, citrus, floral, spicy). It simplifies things and might give you a pleasant scent result.

  2. Prepare the Scraps

    Starting with the unscented/uncolored pile, trim off as much of the burned wick as possible. Remove any wick tabs or labels and brush or scrape off any dirt or dirty sections of wax.

  3. Melt the Wax

    Put the pieces in your wax melting pot and slowly melt them down. Once melted, remove all of the wicks and wick tabs from the melted wax with a chopstick, tongs, or a fork.

  4. Filter the Wax

    If there is a lot of debris still in the wax, you can filter it through an old flour sifter or another type of strainer. You can also just pour off the good part and discard the rest.

  5. Store or Prepare Wax

    Once the wax is clean, either pour it into a tub or pail for later use. Alternatively, fragrance and color it to make candles as you normally would.

    Tip

    If your wax is colored and scented, you can still reuse it—you just have to figure in the extra color and scent. Mixes of colors will usually come out some shade of brown, while mixes of scents can be wonderfully complex or just plain awful. It will take some experimenting to find the combination that works.