9 Genius Ways to Reuse Old Candles

Go get that old, used-up candle you’ve been saving for “something”—we’ve got a ton of ingenious ways to reuse them, including melting down old candles to make discs for candle warmers, softening them in the microwave to use as wine corks, and even how to make a favorite candle last forever.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read

Whether you have a giant pillar candle that you’re never going to use or shrived nubs of candles that once were, here are some ways to repurpose them around the house.

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Stop a Door from Squeaking

Candle wax can actually work better than WD-40 at silencing a squeaky door once and for all, because you don’t have to reapply it every couple of weeks. Take the door off its hinges, then rub the hinges all over with a candle. The wax will stick and prevent the hinge components from rubbing against each other, which causes the annoying sound.

Make DIY Wine Corks

Here’s a great use for those short candlestick ends you haven’t thrown out: use them as makeshift corks for wine bottles. If you have an unfinished bottle of wine but you’ve lost or broken the cork, heat a one-inch candle end in a glass container in the microwave for three seconds on high. It will soften it up enough to stick in the bottle and serve as a stopper. And it looks romantic, too!

Old-Candle Pin Cushion

You’ve lost the wick of an old candle, and you were never really crazy about the scent anyway. Turn it into a pincushion by simply sticking pins in the top or the sides. The wax will even help the pins slide more easily into cloth.

Use a Candle as Household Wax

Keep a used-up candle on hand to help around the house! Have a drawer that keeps sticking? Rub its runners or anywhere it seems to be sticking with an old candle. You can also solve a stuck zipper by rubbing a candle over it.

Special Uses for White Candles

Have a stash of broken white candles that you’ve been waiting for a use for? It may not be the romantic image you had in mind when you bought the candles, but white candles can reused for some neat household tricks.

1. Keep Mildew and Mold Off Shower Grout

This, without a doubt, is our favorite use for an old candle. After giving your shower grout the cleaning of its life, help make it stay that way forever by rubbing it down with a white candle. Just run the candle between the tiles, and the wax that’s left behind will protect it from growing mold, mildew, and other stains.

3. Waterproof with Wax

To waterproof something you’ve written with marker on your child’s school supplies (or even on a package you’re sending), rub over the writing with a white candle. The wax will repel water, but you’ll still be able to see through it.

3. Old Candle Art Project

Turn your old white candle into part of an art project itself, along with some watercolors. Give your child a white tapered candle and have her “draw” a picture on a piece of paper. She won’t be able to see the drawing, of course, until she adds a little watercolor to the paper—and the picture comes to life. This is an especially good activity for two kids. Let them write “secret messages” to each other, then exchange the papers, apply some watercolors, and see what happens!

How to Keep an Old Candle's Scent

If you have a scented candle that you’ve used up, you can still keep its scent around with these clever tricks.

1. How to Make an Air Freshener from an Old Candle

If your wonderfully scented candle is almost completely gone, it’s easy to keep the smell with you! Carefully cut or break the remaining candle it into pieces, then put them in an old sock or nylon and hang in your closet. The enclosed space will be filled with your candle’s scent every time you open the closet door. (These are also great air fresheners for inside your car, as long as it isn’t too hot outside!)

2. How to Make Discs for Candle Warmers from Old Candles

If you’re a candle lover, you’ve probably also gotten hooked on candle warmers—electronic warmers that have wax discs that melt and produce a wonderful scent. If you’ve ever wondered if you could somehow turn old, used-up candles into wax discs, the answer is yes! Here’s how: First, scrape out the old wax and place in a double boiler. If you have several candles with different scents, consider combining them by category: For example, pair fall scents like cinnamon and pumpkin, or florals like freesia, sweet pea, and lavender. Heat in the double boiler until completely melted, then carefully pour into an ice cube tray. Stick the tray in the freezer until the wax hardens again, about 20 minutes, then turn it over to pop out the reshaped candle discs! You should be able to scrape any remaining wax out of the broiler after it hardens again, but if you plan on making wax discs a lot you may want to keep your eyes peeled at thrift shops and garage sales for an old double broiler you can use just for wax.

3. One Last Candle Saver

Here’s one last way to save a candle, perfect for anyone who has a candle that they love so much they can barely stand lighting it, knowing it will eventually be gone! Instead of letting it just sit unlit on the shelf, burn it down enough so that you can place a tea light candle inside. Then simply replace the tea light when it burns out. If the original candle gets dirty, wipe it  gently with an old pair of nylons to remove dust and dirt.

Do you have more clever ways to reuse candles or other household objects? Become a member of our Clever 2nd Uses group board on Pinterest! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only.  The Authors and Publisher do not accept liability for damages arising from the use, attempted use, misuse or application of any of the suggestions included on this website.

Image by Shutterstock

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.

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