Many people love the ambiance and aroma of candles in the home in decorative glass jars, but to be eco-conscious, you need to know ways to reuse candle jars.

A feature image for a blog post about ways to clean and reuse glass candle jars.

In some parts of Canada, glass can’t go in the recycling bin, so they end up in the trash. If you use many of these candles, it can quickly add up.

Below, you’ll get tips and cautions for cleaning out the wax residue, ways to reuse the empty jars, and a discussion about whether buying candles in glass jars is eco-friendly in the first place.

4 Ways to Clean Candle Jars

There are several ways you can get the remaining wax out of a candle jar, then wash it with soap and water before repurposing.

Caution: Three of these methods require handling hot water or surfaces, so you need to take care while doing it. These methods are not a good idea to do with children or pets hanging around. Never microwave a candle jar and never overheat or freeze thin jars that may shatter. And, never let wax go down your drain.

1. Place the Jar in Hot Water

One way to soften the wax is to use hot or boiling water. Place the jar in a larger bowl (with a protective towel under it) or the sink, then pour the hot or boiling water around it, but not into the jar. Let it sit in the water until the wax is softened, and then remove it with a butter knife.

2. Soften the Wax with Boiling Water

Another way to soften the wax is to pour boiling water into the jar to melt it. Make sure to place a protective towel under the jars first. The softened wax should float to the top. If the candle is soy-based, you may only need hot water to melt it, not boiling.

After the water has cooled, pick out the large pieces and strain any smaller ones. Don’t let wax go down the drain. It may cause a clog. Take care with the boiling water and place something protective such as a towel under the jar before adding the water.

3. Freeze the Candle Wax in the Freezer

You can place the jar in the freezer for several hours until the wax is frozen. When the wax is frozen, it hardens and shrinks, becoming easier to pop out of the jar using a butter knife.

4. Melt the Candle Wax in the Oven

Preheat the oven to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and place the jars on it upside down.

Leave them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the wax melts and runs out. Take the tray out and place it on a safe surface. Hold the jars with something protective like an oven mitt and carefully wipe them out. Then, wash them in soapy water. Again, take care of handling the hot baking sheet, jars, and surfaces if you use this method.

After you’ve cleaned the wax residue out of your glass jars, you can use the following ideas to repurpose them as an eco-friendly alternative to throwing them in the trash.

10 Ways to Reuse Candle Jars

Here are 10 ways to give your glass candle jars a new life. Tweak them to suit your personal preferences:

Reuse Glass Candle Jars In the Kitchen

1. To Hold Odds and Ends

A glass candle jar is a great receptacle for those small odds and ends in the kitchen that often end up strewn around a drawer. Use one to catch the twist ties, pieces of string, spare change, etc.

2. To Store Utensils

A large glass jar can be the perfect place to place utensils that you often use, such as mixing spoons, vegetable peelers, or cookie cutters.

Reuse Glass Candle Jars In the Bathroom

3. As a Decorative Container

You can fill a glass candle jar with shells or sea glass and place it on a vanity or shelf to add to your bathroom décor. You can also decorate the jar itself for added appeal.

4. To Hold Accessories

Empty glass jars can also hold smaller items like makeup and hair accessories, cotton pads, cotton swabs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, or manicure tools. The options are endless.

Reuse Glass Candle Jars In the Bedroom

5. Make a New Candle

You can create a special ambiance in the bedroom by placing a tealight in an empty glass jar to create a new candle. Add one with a calming aroma to help you relax.

6. As a Bedside Container

A glass jar on the night table can hold things like your reading glasses or bookmarks that you use regularly and often spend time searching for at bedtime.

7. Make a Vase

Empty candle jars also make a great vase if you want to add some flowers to the bedroom to brighten things up or add a pretty aroma to the space.

Reuse Glass Candle Jars In the Livingroom

8. Create a Candy Dish

Add a decorative ribbon or twine to an empty jar and fill it with candy treats to display on a coffee table or side table for guests or family when they’re relaxing.

9. Make a Planter

A decorated or plain glass jar is perfect as a planter for succulents or other small plants that often don’t need to be watered fequently. You can use several to create an attractive windowsill garden.

10. To Hold Pens and Pencils

If you keep a desk in the living room or kitchen, a jar can hold your pens and pencils, bookmarks, paperclips, or other loose office supplies.

Along with the 10 ideas above, you can even reuse a pretty candle jar to give a gift in an eco-friendly way instead of buying wrapping paper.

Should You Buy Candles in Glass Jars?

If you have candles in glass jars already, it’s certainly a good idea to reuse them where you can and avoid having to trash the empty jars.

However, is it an eco-friendly idea to buy candles housed in glass jars in the first place?

Some points to keep in mind if you want to be more eco-friendly are:

  • What kind of chemicals or harmful ingredients are in the candle?
  • Are there eco-friendly candles available that don’t come in a glass jar?
  • If you can’t reuse the jars, they have to go somewhere.
  • There are environmentally-friendly alternatives to do aromatherapy.

Candles in glass jars are really a luxury that we may not be able to afford anymore, given the state of the planet’s health and the environment we live in.

Use the tips above to clean and reuse any candle jars you already have, but also give some thought to whether you need to buy these overpriced items in the first place.

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