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Stop! Don't Throw Those Away: How to Repurpose Old Candle Jars


How to repurpose old candle jars

Your favorite candle just burned out, and you’ve thrown it in the trash. Big mistake. Huge. Go grab it. You may think you’re holding a piece of garbage, but you’re actually holding a jar that can be repurposed and reused in so many ways. Glass vessels can be expensive, so for those of us in the events industry, salvaging old candle jars is a great way to save money, add new items to inventory, and practice a bit of sustainability.


There are different ways to remove old wax from candle jars, but after trying various methods, here's the one we like best.


Step #1 - Ice, Ice Baby

Starting with solid wax (this doesn't work if the wax is hot and melted), add a few ice cubes to the candle jar followed by about a 1/4 cup of cold water. Let that sit for 20-30 minutes. It will harden the wax making removal easier.

How to repurpose old candle jars

Step #2 - Break It Up

Pour out the ice water and grab a butter knife that you don’t care about (we keep an old one just for this task). Gently press the knife into the hardened wax all around the edges where the wax meets the glass. This will loosen things up. If you’re lucky, the wax will come out in one piece when you flip the jar over. If you’re not so lucky, don’t fret! Just press the knife into the wax and break it up into sections, turn the jar over, and watch as the wax falls out. Usually the wick sustainers (those are the metal thingies that keep wicks in place) come out during this step, but if they don’t, you’ll take care of it in the next one.

How to repurpose old candle jars

Note: When pressing the knife into the wax, use a jab and twist motion rather than a lever motion. You don’t want to press the knife against the side of the jar. Remember you’re dealing with glass, so be gentle and use a little caution.


Step #3 - Splish Splash

Fill a bowl with hot, soapy water (dish soap is fine) and soak the jar for about 20 minutes. This will help loosen any remaining wax in the candle jar, the wick sustainers, and any labels.

How to repurpose old candle jars

Take the knife previously used and gently scrape the wick sustainers to remove them. Next, peel off the labels from the front and bottom of the jar. Sometimes those bottom labels don’t peel off easily, so take a non-abrasive scouring pad and scrub it off.

How to repurpose old candle jars

You’ll notice that both areas of the jar are sticky from glue residue. No big deal. Pour a little rubbing alcohol on the scouring pad with a drop of soap and rub over those areas until they’re no longer sticky (you can also use WD-40 or Goo Gone). Wash the jar with fresh soapy water, rinse and dry. Voilà! You now have a perfect glass jar that you can reuse!

How to repurpose old candle jars

Step #4 - But Wait, There's More!

Some candle jars are clear, and some have a color coating. If your candle jar has a color coating but you want clear glass, keep reading. You can certainly use a paint remover like Citristrip, but it’s messy and just a whole thing. Save it for stripping furniture. Take the butter knife you used in the previous steps and gently scrape the coating off the jar. Scrape in all directions to remove as much of the coating as possible.

How to repurpose old candle jars

Then, take Bar Keepers Friend, put some on the jar and scrub in all directions using more Bar Keepers Friend as needed. Use a little elbow grease! Once the color coating is removed, wash the jar with fresh soapy water, rinse and dry.

How to repurpose old candle jars
How to repurpose old candle jars

Give It a Try

Repurposing old candle jars is a fantastic way to save money and reduce waste. Fill them with flowers, cool rocks and beads, cotton balls, or make more candles. We love to use salvaged candle jars as flower vases and LED candle holders at events. Enjoy getting creative with your repurposed candle jars! While you're here, check out our collection of candleholders and vases!

How to repurpose old candle jars

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