What To Do With Leftover Candle Wax: Actionable Ideas And Hacks

Has your scented candle burned down to the bottom, leaving a decent amount of leftover wax? Well, it is quite a bummer to see the unmelted wax sticking to the base or the edges. But not all is lost. This wax is still useful and there’s a lot to do if you’ve ever wondered what to do with leftover candle wax. Turns out, there’s a lot you can do with candle wax leftover once the candle burns out.

Leftover candle wax is reusable and good for quite a few things. Let your creativity fly and you’ll find plenty of things to do with it. 

However, we don’t just have to focus on reusing the wax. We could, perhaps, find a better way to burn the candle to minimize leftover wax. So, let’s discuss why there’s wax left at the bottom, how you can reduce it, and what to do with leftover wax.

Why Is There Leftover Wax And How To Burn The Candle More Efficiently

Many people have the impression that lighting a candle and leaving it at that is all that needs to be done. Giving a little attention to how the candle burns can change things and make the candle burning experience better. Plus, with the growth of expensive and fancy candles, we can’t really justify the wasting away of huge chunks of wax. 

Here are a few tips that can reduce wastage.

Understanding Candle Memory And Candle Tunneling

There is always a right way to burn a candle. In the science of candle burning, there is a term called “candle memory” which implies that candles memorize their first burn. 

This “memory burn” is quite crucial to your new candle and plays a vital role in reducing leftover candle wax.

When you light a candle, the wick burns and the heat causes the wax near the wick to melt and eventually cover the width of the candle. From the first time you burn the candle, this wax pool sets the stage for the performance of the candle. 

A wide pool that covers the entire width of the candle will result in a uniform surface and a better candle-burning experience. A narrow wax pool means only the wax near the wick melts and gets consumed when the candle burns. 

Tunneling effect in a candle

As a result, on subsequent burns, the candle “memorizes” to burn down following the same pattern. Thus, burning right from the center in a small wax pool. And of course, leaving unmelted hard wax at the edges.

This essentially leads to candle tunneling. During tunneling, the wick sinks lower and lower into the crater of hardened wax and the candle gradually resembles a tunnel. 

To avoid this problem, every time you light the candle, let it burn for a while. Let the wax melt to the edges and don’t put out the candle until you see a wide wax pool. This needs a little patience on your part. But if you love your new scented candle then it’s not much on your part to be done.

Make Sure The Candle Wick Burns In The Center

Sometimes the burning wick moves to the side in the pool of wax. It keeps burning to one side of the jar till it’s done and leaves a huge chunk of wax unused. It is advisable here to center the wick while the wax is still warm. 

Use a candle lid, a wick dipper, or a snuffer to snuff out the flame first. Once it is done, use a pencil or wick dipper to center the wick. It’s also a good idea to trim the wick before you burn it the next time. An oversized wick is more prone to bending over or falling to one side

Here’s What To Do With Leftover Candle Wax

We have discussed methods to reduce leftover candle wax. However, there will always be some wax leftover after the candle burns out. That’s just how candles are – they can’t be 100% efficient!

And this bunch of wax is quite reusable. Here are some tips and hacks to make the best of leftover candle wax. 

1. Get Innovative And Create A New Candle Out Of The Leftover Wax

How about putting together leftover wax from these candles and creating a DIY brand new candle. This process will require some effort and care. Of course, this assumes you have some experience with making candles or are willing to give it a try!

All you need is a few candles with enough leftover wax to make a new candle, a double boiler, spatula, wicks, and a clean glass jar to hold your new candle. You can use a new jar, or better, clean one of the existing candle jars for reuse. 

Melting Wax In A Pot

Getting a clean jar shouldn’t be difficult. During this process, you’ll likely have to remove wax from existing candle jars.

At this point, you should also consider the various waxes that are coming together for the new candle. Mixing scents isn’t usually much trouble, and this DIY candle is likely to have minimal (if any) scent throw. Yet, it’s wiser not to mix odd scents.

You can also add some additional scent oil to strengthen the aroma of the candle. At this point, you can follow a tutorial for basic candle-making to get the new candle ready.

2. Give A New Lease Of Life To Old Tealights

There may not always be enough candle wax for a whole candle. Or maybe you got too much and there’s some extra left. Use it to give a new lease of life to old or spent tealights. The process remains largely the same as for making a new candle. Though, it’s wiser to use tealight-specific wicks to avoid wastage.

3. Leftover Wax From Scented Candles Can Work In A Wax Warmer

While making candles is a good idea, not everyone’s up for that hobby. Some of us would like a quick fix. That’s exactly what wax warmers offer in this situation. Wax warmers can work well with candle wax, or even leftover candle wax. 

You can put chunks of wax in the wax warmer. If you prefer something more aesthetically pleasing, use a double boiler to melt the wax and molds to give the wax whatever shape you prefer.

4. Wax-Based Homemade Fire Starters

Did you ever have a hard time lighting a bonfire or campfire? If you are an avid traveler, a trekker, a mountaineer, or fond of lighting a bonfire in the evenings, then you know how frustrating it can get if the fire doesn’t get started easily. 

Here wax fire starters can be a great backup to start a fire. Leftover candle wax can be repurposed into incredible fire starters. It’s easy to make wax fire starters, and often all you need is egg cartons and dryer lint

To make these wax fire starters, you’ll need an egg carton, dryer lint, enough wax to cover the carton, two pans of water for the double boiler method, and a heating plate. This one needs the old paper-style egg cartons, those made from plastic or foam won’t work as well. If you don’t have dryer lint, shredded paper will work as well.

  • Scoop the wax out of the jar with the help of the double boiler method. 
  • Fill each cup of the egg carton with the lint from your laundry dryer.
  • Slowly pour the melted hot wax over each cup of lint. Use a knife to prod it so that it penetrates the lint.
  • Let it cool down and solidify.
  • Take a knife and cut the cups into small homemade wax fire starters.
  • Simple fire starters are good to go.

The idea here is straightforward. Dryer lint is quick to catch fire and burn. The wax slows down this burning and provides a longer-lasting flame to go on.

If you don’t want to fiddle around with dryer mint or egg cartons, using store-bought cotton rounds will do the trick. Here’s how to go about it.

  • Melt wax using the double boiler.
  • Hold a cotton round from one side and dip it into the wax.
  • Let it dry.

You can use as many cotton rounds, depending on how many fire starters you want or the amount of wax available. Light them at the side that doesn’t have any wax and watch them go!

5. Fix Sticky Drawers

Home furnishings are prone to wear and tear and we could always do without that squeaky noise. For stubborn drawers, rub the wax wherever the wood slides and then slide the drawers inside out to spread the wax. You will be surprised to see that your drawers move swiftly.

6. Stuck Zippers: Fix-It With Leftover Wax 

Don’t give up your favorite jacket or a pair of jeans because of a stuck zipper. Lubricating a zipper with candle wax can help you overcome the problem. 

Use the wax and run it upward and downward on the teeth of the zipper. Do it a few times. Eventually, you will be able to slide it back and forth without a hitch. Be it your handbags, clutches, or traveling bags, wax is an instant help.

7. Give An Aesthetic Touch To Your Letters

Wax Seal For Envelope

Nobody writes letters anymore! But if you are one of those who finds time to pen down your emotions to your dear ones on a colorful letter pad, it’s awesome. Not many people do that.

Give your letters an added flair, aesthetic, and a personal touch by sealing the envelope with the leftover candle wax. It’s colorful, brilliant, and looks pretty damn cool. Maybe pair it with a seal stamp to get that extra effect.

Melt the wax and let it cool a little. Use a spoon and pour a small dollop on the closing side of the envelope. Press it on the cover and let it fix.

8. Make Fragrance Pouches

A pouch of wax blocks

This works best when using wax that has a strong cold throw for its scent. Get wax out by melting it, then let it cool. You could probably use molds to get a favorable shape. After this, you can either cut the wax or use the full cube. The smaller the size of the wax blocks, the stronger the scent.

Put these wax blocks in a linen pouch and tie it securely. These will work pretty well for small places, including cabinets, cupboards, or even your car!


Here’s an infographic providing a quick overview of the ideas for reusing and repurposing leftover candle wax.

What To Do With Leftover Candle Wax - infographic

Using Leftover Beeswax And Plant-Based Wax

Leftover candle wax in the form of beeswax and plant-based sources can be used in our everyday personal use too. It doesn’t have to limit to making a new candle, wax melts, or tealights alone. 

Beeswax has antibacterial properties that make it a great ointment for burns and wounds. It is a great dry skin ointment and heals chapped lips, cracked heels, and dry skin. Take a bit of melted beeswax and apply it to the skin wherever necessary. 

Beeswax can help your doors and windows from squeaking too. All you have to do is apply the beeswax on a paintbrush and lubricate the doors and windows.

Talking of plant-based wax like soy wax, it is a natural emollient. It has higher moisturizing properties than beeswax because it has a thicker and creamier consistency.

Palm wax, another variant of plant-based wax can be used to add shine to your home furniture. You can use it to add shine to tiles on the floor and walls. Melt and apply it to a brush and rub it on your wooden items at home.

Don’t Toss Out The Leftover Wax: It’s Fit For Reuse And Repurposing

Your leftover candle wax is infused with scintillating scents and beautiful colors. Just because the wick burnt out doesn’t imply that you banish it to the trash. This article suggests a few ideas and tips on what to do with leftover candle wax, though you can let your creativity fly and do a lot more. 

So go ahead and give these hacks a try. Don’t restrict yourself to these suggested hacks. Let your mind take a deep dive into creativity and come out with more interesting yet useful purposes.