DIY Repurposing

20 New Uses for Old Candles

Don't toss that candle stub! Discover some creative ways to use the wax that is left after burning a candle.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Why Waste Wax?

Burning candles can add a pleasant scent to a home, set the mood for a special occasion, and, of course, bring light into the darkness. Once the candle has burned down and only about half an inch of wax remains, it should no longer be burned. But just because you no longer burn the candle, you don’t have to throw it away. There are many creative and helpful ways to make good use of the remaining wax.

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 lubricating the zipper with a neutral-colored candle. 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

Quiet, Please

Squeaky doors and sticky drawers can benefit from a quick fix, sometimes 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

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: 11 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

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

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 low 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: 20 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House

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

Lengthen Lace Life

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

RELATED: 8 “Zero Dollar” Laundry Room Hacks

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, you can 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

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

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: 12 Things That Belong in a Beginner Sewing Kit

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: 11 Things Your Local Post Office Wants You to Know

Scuff Surprise

Use candle wax and canola oil to remove nasty scuffs and scratches on your leather furniture or shoes. 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: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Leather Sofas

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 Modern Kitchen Ideas You’ll Want to Steal

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

Grout Protector

Rubbing a candle over grout lines in the shower can help prevent mold or mildew from growing. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the grout. Then rub the candle over the grout to coat it with wax, and you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh and clean shower for quite some time.

RELATED: How to Seal Grout

Hidden Image Art Project

White candles can be used to write secret messages or create hidden art projects for kids. Give your child a white piece of paper and a white candlestick, and tell them to use the candlestick as a crayon to draw or write. The image or words they draw will be invisible. Once they’ve finished writing or drawing, have them paint the paper using watercolors. The secret picture or message will now show through, creating a unique piece of artwork.

RELATED: How to Remove Candle Wax From Any Surface

Cork Substitute

Ever lost or accidentally destroyed the cork for a wine bottle? Well, old and narrow candlesticks (less than an inch wide) can serve as a makeshift cork for a bottle of wine. Microwave a 3- or 4-inch-long piece of the candlestick for 3 to 5 seconds. Doing this should soften it enough that you’ll be able to push it down in the neck of the wine bottle to seal it.

RELATED: The Best Wine Stoppers for Saving Your Open Bottles

Seashell Tealights

Give old wax new life while simultaneously creating a decorative piece for your home by making seashell tealights. Just melt down the old wax and pour it into a rounded seashell. Add a wick, and allow the wax to fully harden. For those of us without a beach house, it’s the next best thing to putting our toes in the sand. (If you’d prefer to buy them readymade, visit SusysSeashells on Etsy.)

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Bring Beach Style to Your Landlocked Home

Mosquito Repellent

Buh-bye, bugs! Cast-off candles can help keep mosquitoes away. All you’ll need is an empty jar, a candle wick, citronella essential oil, and, of course, old candle pieces. Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, melt the wax and pour it into your jar. Add about five drops of citronella oil for each half-cup of wax. Then, place in the wick and let the wax harden overnight.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Citronella Candles

DIY Air Freshener

If your leftover candle wax is scented, use it to make your own air freshener. Chunk the wax and then place it into a sock or a small, breathable bag. Tie the bag or sock closed, and hang it in the bathroom, bedroom, closet, or any other room you choose where it can deliver a fragrant aroma.

RELATED: Clear the Air: 10 Natural Ways to Cure Household Odors