How to Dispose of Candle Wax

We all love candles, but most of us don’t really know where to put candles when they burn out. So what do you do with all that leftover wax? Should you pour old candle wax down the sink or throw it away in your garbage? And should you be concerned about safety hazards?

The best way to dispose of wax is by either removing them from tins and jars and remelting and repurposing them or throwing them in the none recyclable bin (since wax is not recyclable). You should never pour liquid wax into a sink, toilet, or anything that has a plumbing system because it will quickly solidify and clog your drains entirely.

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When I was growing up, my mother would always tell me to throw away candle wax in the trash. But when I got older and started reading about environmental issues, it became clear that this wasn’t a good idea at all.

Suppose your old candle wax is made of paraffin which can be harmful to the environment because it takes centuries for paraffin to decompose. You probably would need to find a less environmentally unfriendly solution to get rid of them. 

Should you throw leftover candle wax into your garbage?

Every other day we are left with a useless chunk of candle wax that we are forced to dispose of. If you are not sure what to do with leftover wax, they will probably lie on your counters and cabinets for infinity. But you can do all kinds of things with leftover wax, so throwing it away would be a big waste. 

If you want to throw away your wax, you should know that wax itself is not really recyclable, so this means you can only throw it in the bin and not in the recycling or compost bin.

But instead of throwing them away, you should consider either reusing or repurposing them or giving them away.  And all cases, you will need to remove every single bit of wax from them. If you don’t know how to do it, I have an article that goes into great detail on how to clean wax the right way.

But here is the short version of the most common ways to completely remove any leftover candle wax from a candle container without making a huge mess.

Using the Stove Top:

Just as you melt your chocolate, you can also melt the leftover candle wax. For this method, you will need to fill a saucepan with water. Heat the water until it reaches boiling temperature. Now slow down the heat and hold the glass jar in water like a double boiler. 

The wax sticking to the jar will melt. You can pour it into anything you are going to put in the garbage. Do not pour this wax in the drain, or you may end up with clogged pipes. 

Using the Freezer:

Place all leftover candles in the freezer for a couple of hours and let the wax freeze completely. Then with the help of a butter knife, you can take the wax out from its container. If you break the wax before freezing, it will come out from the container more easily. 

Using the Kettle:

Boil some water and pour it directly into the candle container. The heat from the boiling water will melt all the wax sticking to the container. At this stage, you must not throw this water in the drain. Now leave the jar to cool. The wax will solidify and float on the top of the water’s surface. Now you can easily throw the solidified wax in the trash bin. 

Can I pour candle wax down the sink?

A simple step that most of us consider safe becomes a big hassle because the biggest issue when pouring hot wax down the sink is that it enters the drain as a liquid but quickly changes and solidifies. When you pour down the wax in a drain, it dissipates heat quickly and turns solid. 

Even a small amount of wax is enough to cause a lot of problems in your drainage system. And what is even worse is that once the wax is poured into the sink drain, it becomes very challenging to remove it. 

How do you unblock a sink with wax?

So you’ve poured liquid wax down the sink and now are searching for the easiest way to get rid of it? 

Plunging the sink seems an ineffective technique when it comes to clearing wax from pipes. If you are thinking about using boiling water to solve your problem, you could, but it’s as simple as just pouring just once, and that’s it. Boiling water might actually worsen the problem by pushing the wax much deeper into the drain. You may try out harsh drain cleaners, but these don’t always work. But let’s take a look at those options in detail. 

Is there any way to get rid of the wax that hardened inside your drain?  

It depends on whether the wax has partially or entirely clogged the drain.

What should you never use to clean the wax from the drain?

Let’s first start with what NOT to use and move on to what you can do. The first thing anyone will think about for cleaning their drain is the usual drain cleaners such as Drano or Liquid-Plumr. 

They are usually composed of Sodium hydroxide or sodium hypochlorite. These ingredients are effective in dissolving grease. However, they do not have any effect on hardened candle wax. 

So you should stay away from caustic drain cleaners because they are not going to help you. 

Can Boiling Water melt the hardened wax in the drain?

You can boil water and pour it down the sink to melt the hardened candle wax. For this purpose, you can fill a kettle or pot with water and let it heat until it boils. Pour all the water into a completely clogged drain. 

Let all this water back away slowly until just an inch remains in the bottom of the sink. This is a slow process and will take a lot of time. 

But the main question, of course, is, does it work? You have to repeat the process several times to ensure that the pipes are entirely cleared of wax. 

You can also flush the pipes by running hot tap water when the clog starts to melt. But most of the time, this technique will not help you get rid of this problem. In fact, hot water may push the wax even deeper into the drain making your problems even worse.

Is there anything more effective for cleaning wax from the drain?

Candle wax is an oil-based substance, and oil solvents effectively dissolve it. There are several solvents that you can use for this purpose. However, the most common household oil solvents are acetone and isopropyl alcohol.

Acetone is found in nail polish removers, whereas isopropyl alcohol is used in homes as rubbing alcohol. Pouring them down the drain to remove clogged wax will work slowly. If you remove all the water first, and we know that it is quite difficult, then alcohol and acetone can work better. 

When there is standing water in the drain, and you pour acetone, alcohol, or any other cleaner, it gets diluted. That is why it will not work on the hardened wax effectively. 

When You Need Professional Help

If you have tried all the above, but none of them worked, you may need to remove the wax manually. This process is done through a drain snake. But I wouldn’t advise doing it yourself. It is better to leave it to a professional. However, it can cause you a lot of your hard-earned money. 

But the best advice one could give is never to pour hot wax down the drain.

Can you flush candle wax down the toilet?

If you have flushed the candle wax down the toilet, there is a great chance that your toilet will stop flushing one day. However, how much candle wax you need to clog your toilet completely depends on various factors.

Yesterday I received a call from my friend. He dumped the liquid potpourri down in the bath. Now you may think of this act as idiotic. But sometimes, these little things seem harmless. The next morning he tried to plunge, but unfortunately, it didn’t work for him. 

Certainly, the hot wax had solidified immediately. Now he was left with a solid, pliable piece which he tried to flush out, but the piece got jammed in the “S” bend. 

I suggested he try to snake out the toilet, and luckily the piece broke into pieces. Once broken, these pieces of solidified waxes were easily flushed.

However, if the wax sneaked further down in the line, you need to call a plumber with a long snake. 

If you accidentally flushed leftover candle wax down the toilet only once or twice, I don’t think it is a big deal. 

How to dispose of candles in glass?

What a person does with the leftover wax at the bottom of the jar when the candle has no more burnable wax/wick left? Basically, it depends on the person’s own preference. 

But if you are too busy to empty the glass jar, you may throw it in the garbage bin. However, you can also consider keeping the jars and using them for something else. 

You can freeze the jar to pop out the leftover wax from its base. Then you can save this wax in a Ziploc bag until you have a considerable collection. Now you can sell this wax to people who make fire starters or other DIY projects. 

Similarly, you can collect the glass jars and sell them to people who use them for various purposes instead of just throwing them in the garbage. These small steps take a little bit of time. They show your responsibility as a citizen, and they are your contribution to the earth’s ecosystem.

How do you dispose of empty candles jars?

Candle jars are made of glass, and most people think there must be a way to recycle them. However, it is not this simple. Specific kinds of glass have different recycling techniques. It is extremely difficult to identify the type of glass used for your candle. 

Candle jars are considered safe for recycling only if they are composed of standard container (soda-lime) glass. However, some candle manufacturers use other glass, such as borosilicate. These glasses are made to withstand the candle’s heat in a better way. 

Mixing different glasses may result in a low-quality recycled product or may cause hazardous incidents. That is why candle glass is never recycled. 

You can use candle jars to make amazing planters, vases, or DIY brush and pencil holders. You can also reuse these small delicacies to make your own votive, pillar, or floating candle. 

Not interested in DIY? Some many people and organizations will happily pick up the bag of glass candle jars from your home. They use these glass jars for many different purposes. 

How to dispose of the candle wax the right way?

You can place your natural organic wax in the food caddy or brown bin, such as beeswax or soy wax. However, the paraffin wax needs to go in the green bin. If they have a metal container, you can clean all the leftover wax and throw it in the blue bin. 

If you have leftover liquid wax, simply pour it into paper cups and leave it to solidify. You can even place it in the freezer for a while. Now you can separate the wax from paper and reuse it again. 

Not interested in reusing the leftover wax? Use a coffee can or any other container to pour out leftover candle wax. Then you can throw away this wax and container together. 

Suppose you want to reuse the container after pouring the extra wax out from the candle container. In that case, you can simply wipe it with a paper towel or cloth if the wax is still sticking to its container, use rubbing alcohol instead of using soap and water. 

Natural waxes are much easier to dispose of as they are made from natural, organic, and decomposable elements. You can simply throw them in the compost with other plant waste, and they will degrade with time.

Therefore buying natural wax candles such as soy wax and beeswax is a step that contributes towards a greener and cleaner earth. 

Does vinegar dissolve wax?

Vinegar is definitely the most versatile item in your kitchen pantry. It has a lot of nutritional benefits. It also acts as a great cleaning agent. For removing spilled wax from various surfaces, people use vinegar by mixing it half and half in water. 

This is an effective technique, and it works with a lot of surfaces. However, you can not apply this method on waxed furniture, as vinegar will remove the wax polish from the furniture. 

Before you clean a mass of spilled wax from your surfaces, you will need to melt it. You can easily melt spilled wax with the help of a hairdryer. 

Then remove the liquid wax from the surface with the help of a paper towel. Next, you can mix vinegar half and half with water. Use this vinegar solution to rub the surface where the wax residue is still sticking. Repeat until all the wax is not removed. 

Is candle wax recyclable? 

We briefly discussed this already. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ways to recycle candle wax. Therefore you can not add it to your compost bin or recycle bin. The recycling stations do not recycle the candles because they consider the number of candles coming as insignificant. Therefore leftover candle wax is not worth spending resources or time recycling. However, this means that if they tried to recycle, they would be able to.

Final Verdict:

Some people get confused about disposing of the wax from the leftover candles after their wick is completely burned.

The biggest mistake is pouring hot wax into the drain of the sink or toilet. As soon as the hot wax enters the drain, it cools down and solidifies. This solid mass quickly clogs the drain and causes a lot of hassle. This mistake will waste a lot of your time, efforts, and even money. 

The best way is to separate the wax and its containers and reuse them. However, if you are too busy or never interested in reusing candle wax, you can donate both things to people who want them. 

If there is no other option, you can throw the candle wax and its glass container in the trash bin right away. 

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