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Reducing waste while enjoying the cozy feel of candles in your home

Candle burning

Candles are a great way to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere in your home, but they also come with some challenges and responsibilities. How do you clean out the used candle jars and reuse or recycle them for other purposes? How do you burn a candle properly and safely to get the most out of it? How do you buy candles that don't have paraffin wax, that can release harmful chemicals when burned? In this article, we will answer these questions and provide you with tips and tricks on how to enjoy your candles while minimizing impacts on the environment and your health.

How to reduce wasted wax by burning a candle properly

Leftover wax in candles

Burning a candle may seem like a simple task, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your candles and prevent potential problems like tunneling, soot build up, excess candle wax left over when the wick is gone, or fire hazards. Here are some things you should do when burning a candle:

  • Cut the wick to 1/4 inch before lighting it. This prevents uneven burning and soot build up.
  • Let the candle wax melt to the edge of the jar on the first burn. This prevents tunneling and wasted wax.
  • Keep the candle away from wind or drafts. This prevents tunneling, smoking, and fire hazards.

How to extinguish a candle

The best way to extinguish a candle is with a candle snuffer. A snuffer has a long handle with a bell shape at the end. Hold the snuffer over the candle and lower the bell end over the flame. Hold it there until the candle goes out.

What about blowing out a candle? Blowing out your candle can send wax everywhere and increases the chances of tunneling. We don’t recommend it.

What about putting a lid on the candle to put it out? We don’t recommend this approach. Putting the lid on the candle can cause soot to build up in your candle. It also traps the smoke which can be absorbed into the melted candle wax and impact the scent of your candle moving forward.

How to clean out used candle jars so you can reuse or recycle them

Candles are a great way to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere in your home, but what do you do with the empty jars once the candles are burned out? Throwing them away seems wasteful, especially if they are made of glass or metal. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to clean out the used candle jars and reuse or recycle them for other purposes. Here are some steps to follow:

Remove remaining candle wax

Remove the remaining wax from the jar. Depending on the type of candle wax and the shape of the jar, you can use different methods to get rid of the wax residue. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Freezer method: Put the jar in the freezer overnight or until the candle wax is frozen. Take it out and use a butter knife or a spoon to pop out the wax in one piece. You may need to tap the jar gently to loosen the wax.
  • Hot water method: Boil water and pour it into the jar, filling it to the top. The hot water will melt the candle wax and make it float to the surface. Let the water cool completely and then remove the wax layer.

Reuse the candle wax that is left over in a wax warmer. Remember, you will have less wax left over if you burn your candles as advised above!

Clean the jar

After removing the candle wax, you may still have some residue or soot left in the jar. To get rid of it, wash the jar with warm water and soap, using a sponge or a bottle brush to scrub the inside. Rinse well and dry.

Remove the label

If you want to reuse or recycle the jar, you may want to remove the label as well. There are different ways to do this, depending on how sticky or stubborn the label is. Two options are:

  • Soaking method: Fill a sink or a bowl with warm water and add some dish soap or baking soda. Soak the jar in the water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the label is soft enough to peel off. You can also use a scraper or your fingernail to help remove it.
  • Hair dryer method: Use a hair dryer to heat up the label for a few seconds, then peel it off slowly from one corner. The heat will loosen up the adhesive and make it easier to remove.

Reuse or recycle

Reuse a candle jar

Once you have a clean and empty jar, you can either reuse it or recycle it. Find out if your jar is recyclable. Some of the ways you can reuse your candle jars are:

  • Store small items: You can use your candle jars to store small items like jewelry, buttons, coins, spices, candy, etc. You can also decorate them with paint, stickers, ribbons, etc. to make them more attractive.
  • Plant succulents: You can use your candle jars as mini planters for succulents or other small plants that don't need much soil or water. Just add some pebbles, sand, soil, and your plant of choice and enjoy your greenery.
  • Make new candles: Use your old candle jar to make new candles with different types of wax, wicks, and scents. You can find many tutorials online on how to make your own candles at home. You can also contact your favorite local candle maker and ask if they will refill your jar with a new candle!

Avoid candles that have paraffin wax

Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based wax that can release harmful chemicals and cause environmental problems. We recommend natural or plant-based waxes, such as soy, or beeswax. These candle waxes are renewable, biodegradable, and burn cleaner and longer than paraffin wax.

To find candles without paraffin wax, you can check the labels or descriptions of the candles online or in stores. Most local candlemakers use soy or beeswax in their candles. Consider shopping local!