14 New Uses for Old Candles

Aah, candles—whether you enjoy them for their soothing scents or simply for their ambience, these small luxuries have a place in almost every home. But after the wick disappears, you're left with a lump of wax that too often goes unused. Don't let this extra stash go to waste! Instead, try one of these 14 ideas for making good use of old candles.

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  1. Zip It!


    A sticky zipper can be a real pain, especially when it’s cold outside and you’re struggling to get your coat on. Fix this frustrating problem by using a neutral-colored candle to lubricate the zipper. Rub the wax on both sides of the teeth, and then zip up and down until the tab glides smoothly. This is also great for zippers on sleeping bags, tents, and more.

    Related: Small Miracles—9 Amazing Home Repair Products

    Flickr via twoody291

  2. Quiet, Please


    Squeaky doors and sticky drawers can benefit from a quick fix, courtesy of an old candle. Silence a door by removing the pins from the hinges of the offending door, then rubbing a paraffin candle over the pins. Replace the door, reinstall the pins, and then open and close the door a few times to evenly distribute the wax. For stubborn drawers, rub the candle along the runners, and then slide them in and out to spread the wax. 

    Related: 10 Easy Repairs Never to Pay Someone Else For


  3. Melted Magic


    Scented wax warmers have become popular in recent years, but you don’t have to spend money on pricey melts. If you have old scented candles, cut them into small squares and use them in your wax warmer to allow you to enjoy your favorite scent even after the wick is gone.

    Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


  4. Slippery Savior


    Digging out after a snowstorm doesn't have to be a hassle with this clever trick: Rub a candle over your trusty shovel before heading outside to tame the elements. The coating will give your tool a slippery surface that will keep the snow from sticking, making this backbreaking task much easier. 

    Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter


  5. Fire It Up


    Use leftover wax and dryer lint to construct your own fire starters. Take an old egg carton and fill each cup with a wad of dryer lint. Next, slowly melt wax in a saucepan over gentle heat, and then carefully pour a generous measure over each lint pile. Let the carton sit overnight, and then cut or break apart the cups to fuel your next fire. 

    Related: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House

    Instructables via At29035ft

  6. Seal and Save


    Leftover candle wax can serve as a surprising temporary substitute for caulk. Fill in gaps and holes near doors, around windows, along the foundation, and in other areas where there might be air leaks. A tighter home can help you save money on your energy bills—and the old wax is free!

    Related: Slash Your Electric Bill with 11 Savvy Hacks


  7. Lengthen Lace Life


    If your shoelaces are fraying, dip the ends into a small bit of melted wax and let dry. The hardened wax will stop the shoelaces from splitting and also make them easier to thread.

    Related: 8 "Zero Dollar" Laundry Room Hacks

    YouTube via ShiftyTips

  8. Old Is New Again


    Perhaps the easiest thing to do with old candles is make new ones! Whether you use an old glass canning jar, an empty Pringles tube, a vintage teacup, or a decorative bowl, it's simple to craft one-of-a-kind candles from almost any vacant vessel. Melt your wax over low heat, and then pour it into your container of choice. Insert a new wick, let the wax harden overnight, cut the wick down, and you have yourself a custom creation that's ready to light the way.

    Related: Meet the Next Generation of High-Tech Kitchen Appliances

    Flickr via 762

  9. Wood Worker


    Use wax to fix scratches, dings, and dents in wood furniture or floors. Simply rub an old candle over the affected area until the wax completely fills the indentation. Follow up with a furniture marker or stain pen that matches the color of the wood—you’ll never know the ding was there!

    Related: 20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements

    Flickr via owlhere

  10. On Pins and Needles


    The stump of an old candle can safely store sharp needles, straight pins, or safety pins. Simply insert the pointy ends into the wax, and keep the makeshift pincushion nearby so you're prepared for any clothing crisis. 

    Related: 18 Clever Storage Solutions You Can DIY for Free

    Flickr via twenty_questions

  11. Signed, Sealed, Delivered


    Candle wax can be used as a seal for fancy letters or folksy cards alike. Use a long match to melt a dollop onto an envelope, and then put your own stamp on it with a wax seal stamp, available at most craft and hobby stores.

    Related: Memory Lane—15 Household Items From Your Childhood That New Houses Will Never See

    Flickr via whiteknuckled

  12. Scuff Surprise


    Use candle wax and canola oil to remove nasty scuffs and scratches on your leather shoes or furniture. Melt about a quarter cup of wax over gentle heat, then add a teaspoon of canola oil; mix well. Let the mixture cool only slightly, and then apply it to the leather with a soft rag, buffing until the scuff is gone. If the mixture starts to solidify, return it to low heat until it liquefies again.

    Related: 10 Mini Makeovers You Can Do in Minutes


  13. Waterproof Warrior


    Rub a candle over return address or shipping labels as a means of waterproofing to help them better weather the elements. Use the same method to protect recipe cards from kitchen spills and other accidents, ensuring that your favorite formulas will stand the test of time.  

    Related: 11 Cheap Cures for a Cluttered Kitchen


  14. Crafty Cloth


    Wax is used to create decorative fabric designs in traditional Indonesian batik crafts. To try your hand at this age-old technique, slowly melt wax over gentle heat, then pour it onto old T-shirts, tablecloths, pillowcases, or other fabrics. Let the wax dry completely, and then immerse the material in dye. Because the waxed sections will not take the color, the material will be left with a unique design. To remove the residue after dyeing, cover the waxed sections with several layers of paper towel, and then iron on a warm setting; change the paper towels as needed until the wax is completely removed.

    Related: 7 Smart Ways to Cycle Through Laundry Faster

    Instructables via jenniferdouglas

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