What To Do With Candles When They Get Low?

Safety Concerns with Low Candles

As candles burn down and get low, it’s important to be mindful of fire safety. The wax pool gets closer to the base of the candle holder and the flame gets closer to surfaces as the candle burns down. This increases the risk of unintended fires if precautions are not taken.

Be sure to trim the wick as the candle gets lower. Long wicks tend to curl over into the melted wax, which can ignite the wax pool and cause flaring. Trimming the wick prevents this. Additionally, always keep candles on heat resistant surfaces and out of the way of drapes, papers or other flammables.

Never leave a low, burning candle unattended. Extinguish the flame once it gets within two inches of the holder or container. The flame is too close to the surface at this point and can result in the candle container cracking or breaking from the heat. This allows hot wax to leak out and can cause a fire.

Basically, be vigilant about monitoring candle flames as they burn lower, keep wicks trimmed, ensure proper clearances from flammables and never leave a low candle burning unattended. Taking these simple precautions will help ensure safety.

Reuse Wax

One of the best ways to reuse candle wax is to make new candles or wax melts. As a candle burns down, you can collect the leftover melted wax in tin cans or glass jars. Make sure to let the wax fully harden before attempting to remove it. If needed, place the container in the freezer for an hour or two to help the wax easily pop out.

Collect wax remnants from multiple candles to accumulate enough wax to work with. Pick through the wax and remove any wicks or foreign debris. Old wax can be combined with new wax to refresh it. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of 1 part old wax to 2 parts new wax. The new wax helps bind and freshen the recycled wax.

To reuse wax for candles, melt the old wax down in a double boiler or slow cooker on low heat. Avoid overheating the wax, which can burn it. Add essential oils or candle dye as desired for fragrance and color. Carefully pour the melted wax into a wick-fitted glass container or candle mold. Allow to fully harden before burning.

For wax melts, simply re-melt old wax and pour into wax melt molds or containers. Add essential oils for a lovely room scent. Allow to fully harden before using in a wax warmer.

With a little creativity, you can transform the remaining wax in used candles into brand new ones! This reduces waste while letting you customize candles to your exact scent and style preferences.


Candle wax can provide crafters with an abundant, reusable material for a variety of arts and crafts projects. One popular use is wax art, where melted wax is dripped or poured onto a surface to create abstract designs. The wax cools and hardens into interesting shapes and textures. Another fun craft is making decorative seals by melting wax and pouring it into molds or silicone candy molds. Once cooled, the wax seals can be used to seal envelopes or added as embellishments to cards, scrapbooks, and more.

To reuse candle wax for crafts:

  • Trim the wick to avoid sparks or flames.
  • Melt the wax in a double boiler or makeshift double boiler.
  • Pour the melted wax into silicone molds or onto a surface protected by parchment paper.
  • Add crayon shavings, glitter, dried flowers, or essential oils for color and scent.
  • Allow the wax to fully cool and harden before removing from molds.

Reusing spent candle wax allows crafters to get creative with this versatile material. The possibilities for DIY wax crafts are endless!

Alternative Fuels

As candles burn down and become too small to safely light anymore, the leftover wax can be put to good use as an alternative fuel source. The wax can be melted down and used to fuel oil lamps, which provide a renewable and sustainable light source. This makes recycled candle wax ideal for camping trips, outdoor activities, and emergency preparedness kits.

Oil lamps designed for candle wax typically have a small dish or reservoir to hold melted wax. The wick draws up the liquid wax via capillary action and the lit wick provides a bright flame. This makes it easy to transform leftover candle wax into an improvised oil lamp. With proper precautions, the oil lamp can provide safe lighting during power outages or in off-grid settings.

To reuse candle wax for oil lamps, start by removing any wicks and extinguishing the candles. Gently melt the candle wax either in a makeshift double boiler on the stove or in a microwave safe container in short bursts. Carefully pour the melted wax through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove any wick fragments or impurities. Pour the filtered wax into the reservoir dish of an oil lamp and let it cool until solid. Add a new wick, light it, and the oil lamp is ready to safely illuminate dark spaces using recycled candle wax.


Candle wax can be repurposed into a variety of cosmetic products like lip balm, lotion bars, and soap. To reuse candle wax for cosmetics, start by removing the wick and any other non-wax debris from the leftover wax.

For lip balm, melt down the cleaned wax and combine it with ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. Pour the lip balm mixture into small containers or tubes and let it cool and harden before use. Reusing candle wax is a great way to customize your own lip balms.

Leftover wax can also be made into moisturizing lotion bars by melting it down and adding oils like coconut, jojoba, or olive oil. Essential oils can be added for fragrance. Pour the melted lotion bar mixture into molds and allow to fully harden before use. Lotion bars made with recycled candle wax make great gifts.

To reuse candle wax for soap, combine it with a soap making base, essential oils, and colorants if desired. Melt everything together, pour into molds, and let harden completely before use. Upcycling candle wax into handmade soaps allows you to create custom soaps on a budget.

Household Uses

Did you know that leftover candle wax can be useful around the home? Here are some clever ways to repurpose the remaining wax rather than throwing it away:

Protect Surfaces

Rub a little bit of leftover wax onto wood furniture to protect it from scratches and water rings. The wax creates a protective barrier while also making the wood shine. Simply apply a thin coat of wax and buff it in with a clean, soft cloth.

You can also rub wax onto leather goods like shoes, bags, and jackets to condition the material and provide a waterproof shield.

Lubricate Drawers

Candle wax works great as a natural lubricant for sticking drawers and cabinets. Just rub some wax along the tracks to help everything glide smoothly again. The wax reduces friction better than soap or oil.

For best results, make sure to remove all debris and dirt from the tracks first. Then apply the wax and open and close the drawers a few times to distribute it evenly.


Old candle wax can be upcycled in a variety of clever ways to help your garden thrive. Here are some of the most creative garden uses for the wax leftover when candles burn down:

Waterproof Plant Pots

You can transform leftover candle wax into waterproof plant pots for seed starting and small plants. Melt down old candle wax and dip clay, plastic, or cardboard pots directly into the wax to coat. The wax coating will make the vessels water tight. This allows you to recycle items like milk cartons as mini planters. The wax seal will prevent soil leakage.

Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes, gnats, and other pesky flying insects detest the smell of citronella. You can harness the power of leftover scented citronella candle wax to create insect repelling torches or candles to place around your garden. Simply melt down the old wax and pour into containers or candle molds with new wicks. Light these candles or torches during outdoor gatherings to keep bugs at bay in an all-natural, budget-friendly way.


Candle wax can be useful for cleaning and polishing around the home. Here are some tips for using the last bit of candle wax for cleaning tasks:

Remove Stains

The wax from a candle can help lift some types of stains. To use it, let the candle burn down completely. Once cooled, rub the leftover wax over fabric stains like ink or crayon. The wax will start to absorb into the fabric, lifting the stain away. Let it sit for a few minutes before scraping away the hardened wax and washing as normal.

Polish Metal

Leftover candle wax makes a great metal polish. Simply rub the cooled candle wax over tarnished silver, brass, or other metals. The wax will remove oxidation and restore shine. Wipe away any excess wax with a soft cloth. For extra polishing power, you can also mix a bit of baking soda into the melted candle wax before applying.

Give Your Pets a Treat with Leftover Candle Wax

Leftover candle wax can be put to good use for your furry friends! Here are some creative ways to reuse candle wax to give your pets a special treat:

Paw Wax

Protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement or cold snow by making your own homemade paw wax. Melt down old candle wax and mix with a small amount of coconut or olive oil. Let it cool until just warm, and spread a thin layer on your dog’s paw pads before going outside. The wax will form a barrier against extreme temperatures. Reapply as needed.

Bird Feeders

Turn a basic pinecone into an exciting bird feeder by covering it with melted candle wax! Melt leftover wax in a double boiler, dip the pinecone to coat, and roll it in bird seed while the wax is still warm. Hang your homemade bird feeder outside and watch the birds enjoy their tasty treat. The wax will help the seeds stick to the pinecone.

Disposing of Candle Wax and Containers

When a candle burns down completely, you’re left with leftover wax and the glass, metal, or plastic container. While it may be tempting to just throw these items in the trash, there are safer, more eco-friendly disposal methods to consider.

For any remaining wax, allow it to fully harden before attempting to remove it from the container. Once hardened, the wax can go in your regular household trash. However, an even better option is to check with your local municipality about wax recycling programs. Some communities collect old candle wax since it can be re-purified and reused in new candles.

As for the glass, metal or plastic candle jars and containers, these should not go directly in your garbage can. The containers may still have residue wax which can leak or melt in the trash. Instead, consider donating clean, empty containers to thrift stores and charities. Empty glass jars, tins and pots can be repurposed into decorative household items or for food storage.

If donating is not an option, thoroughly clean containers of any remaining wax before placing them in your recycling bin. The wax residue needs to be removed for the item to be properly recycled. With care taken to properly dispose of or recycle leftover candle wax and containers, you can keep these post-candle items out of landfills.

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