More than ever, people are aware of how much garbage they produce, and they are also looking for every possible way to save money. One of the best ways to limit waste and save a few extra dollars is by reusing jars.
Many of us buy scented candles in glass jars and then toss those jars once the candles have burned all the way down. Maybe we just don't know what we could reuse them for, or perhaps we're not sure how to clean them for reuse. Either way, here's everything you need to know on how to reuse candle jars.
Clean the Jars
Regardless of what the jar's new life will be, the last thing you want when you reuse anything is the old gunk getting into the new stuff. For instance, if you're planning to reuse your jars as something like planters, you want to get them as clean as possible so there's nothing to contaminate your potting soil.
Before you reuse candle jars, here are some ways you can remove all the wax so your jars are nice and clean. Avoid the microwave, though, because wick holders are metal and could catch fire.
The Double Boiling Method
Sometimes referred to as the Bain Marie method, this requires nothing more than a bowl or a pot, water, dish soap, and a sponge or rag.
Make sure your jar is at least at room temperature first. Fill the bowl or pot with boiling water, and then set your jar in it for long enough for all the wax to melt off the sides and collect in the bottom.
Remove the jar and pour the melted wax into something disposable (you don't want to pour wax down your drain). Then wash whatever residue remains away with soap and warm water.
Freeze Your Jars
Candle wax does not like cold temperatures. It hardens, gets brittle, and shrinks. In a freezer, it'll flake off the sides pretty much on its own.
Take a spoon (or a butter knife if your jar has a narrow opening) and scrape off any remaining large wax chunks. Shake them out, and then put the jar in the freezer. Leave it there for several hours until the wax is completely frozen.
When you remove it, the wax should come right off the inside without much scraping, if any at all. You can use a butter knife to remove any stubborn wax that remains. Then wash the jar with soap and warm water and dry thoroughly.
Try the Oven
You can do this for large jars or if you have several jars to clean and you don't want to do them one at a time. Turn the oven to 180 degrees and scrape away as much wax as possible out while it's warming up.
Line a baking pan with wax paper or parchment and put your jars in it upside down, put it in the oven, and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Wear an oven mitt to take them out and hold them. Wipe the insides of the jars as clean as possible with paper towels.
Let them cool off, and then wash them out with soap and warm water.
After scraping out the large chunks of wax, put your jar on a heat-safe surface, a towel, or a potholder and fill it with boiling water. Let the wax melt and float to the top, and let everything cool off.
Skim the wax off or pop it out, and then pour the water through something like a coffee filter to avoid sending wax down your drain. Then take a sponge or soft towel and wash with soap and warm water.
If your candle uses something like soy wax, you don't need boiling water. Hot water will do the trick.
Scrape, Wash, and Go
This works best for really soft waxes like soy wax, but it can take a little longer than the methods above.
Scrape as much wax as possible out of the jar, then fill it with hot water. Let it sit for a few minutes, pour it out, and wash as usual.
Don't Forget To Remove the Wick Holder
Once your jars are clean, you can usually just pop the wick holders out. If they want to be stubborn about it, though, use a butter knife or a flathead screwdriver to pry it off the bottom of the jar. You might have to give it a second wash.
Ways to Reuse Candle Jars
Now, what are some great ways to reuse candle jars?
One common way to reuse candle jars is by making them into planters. Small jars work great for little succulents. Many people use colored jars as planters because planting soil is brown or black, and colored glass helps brighten them.
However, you can still use clear jars if you like. Another option is to use clear ones for plants like bamboo that only need water to grow.
Pens, pencils, even certain kitchen utensils, get everywhere and they drive most of us nuts. You can use the plain candle jars or pretty them up with some paint and turn them into holders for these things instead of using your coffee mugs.
You can also use them for paper clips, matches, makeup brushes, toothbrushes, spare change, and other miscellaneous items that just kind of lie around otherwise.
DIY Air Fresheners
Take some baking powder, fill the jar about halfway up, then add some drops of your favorite essential oil. Once a week, you can shake the jar and add some more essential oil. You can also toss the old baking powder and put a fresh scent in the jar. Or, if you want, wash it out and use it for something else.
Make a New Candle
Something you can do with all that wax you scraped and melted out of your old jars is to save it to make new candles, especially if they were unscented or all the same scent. Put the old wax into a jar, melt it, add a wick, and you've got a new candle.
With all the candle jars out there, it's a shame not to find ways to reuse them. You can make so many pretty things with reused candle jars, save yourself some money, and help the environment, too.
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