How to Repurpose Used Cooking Oil into Candles

How to Repurpose Used Cooking Oil into Candles


With rising prices and environmental concerns, repurposing used cooking oil into candles is becoming an increasingly popular DIY project. Not only does it give old cooking oil a new life, but it also produces candles that are inexpensive, unique, and environmentally-friendly.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to turn used cooking oil into fragrant and decorative candles. From the best oils to use to suitable wicks and scents, you’ll learn the complete process from start to finish.

What Oils Work Best?

The type of used cooking oil you repurpose will impact the quality of the candles you produce. Here are the best choices:

  • Canola oil – This versatile vegetable oil has a mild scent that won’t interfere with fragrance oils. The resulting candles burn slowly and cleanly.

  • Olive oil – Pure olive oil makes long-lasting candles with a low melting point. The green tint adds color. Extra virgin olive oil works best.

  • Coconut oil – Candles made from coconut oil have a high melting point and burn slowly. The tropical fragrance complements many candle scents.

  • Peanut oil – Peanut oil makes excellent container candles. The candles have a slightly nutty aroma and burn cleanly.

  • Sunflower oil – Light, odorless sunflower oil is ideal for candles. It burns slowly and needs little scent added.

Avoid reusing oils like sesame, corn, and vegetable oil. They can clog wicks. Also skip butter and lard as they contain milk solids and can go rancid.

What You’ll Need

Repurposing cooking oil into candles requires just a few supplies:

  • A glass, metal or heatproof container – Glass jars and mugs work well. Make sure containers have no water residue.

  • Wicks – Use candle or wood wicks in the proper diameter for your container. Wooden chopsticks can substitute.

  • Cooking oil – Strain cooled used oil through a cheesecloth to remove food debris.

  • Scent like essential oils (optional) – Consider lemon, lavender, eucalyptus or pine for fragrance.

  • Double boiler – This heats oil safely. Alternatively, use a saucepan and bowl.

  • Spoon – Use metal, silicon or wooden spoons to stir the oil.

  • Thermometer – Candy/deep fry thermometers register the oil temperature.

  • Dyes (optional) – Add candle dye to color the oil if desired. Use wax-safe dyes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to turn used cooking oil into candles:

Prepare the Containers

  1. Clean and dry glass containers thoroughly. Remove all water droplets and residue.

  2. Place wicks in the center of the containers, using glue dots or a dab of oil to hold in place. Leave 1-2 inches of wick inside the container and trim the excess.

  3. Optional: Add candle dye to the bottom of the container to color the candles. Use a drop at a time to achieve the desired hue.

Melt the Cooking Oil

  1. Add strained used cooking oil to the top pan or bowl of a double boiler.

  2. Slowly heat the oil to 160-170°F to melt it thoroughly. Check the temperature with a thermometer.

  3. Avoid overheating the oil. Turn down the heat if it approaches 190°F.

  4. Optional: Add a few drops of essential oils once the cooking oil melts for added fragrance.

Pour and Finish the Candles

  1. Carefully pour the melted cooking oil into the prepared containers, leaving a 1⁄4 inch of space at the top.

  2. Allow the candles to cool completely undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Trim wicks to 1⁄4 inch before lighting.

  3. Store finished candles in a cool area out of direct light. Never leave burning candles unattended.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Strain used cooking oil through a paper coffee filter for a clearer candle.

  • Mix candle wax with used cooking oil to raise the melting point. A 1:1 ratio works well.

  • Add beeswax to make candles harder and improve burn time. 10% beeswax is a good starting point.

  • Repurpose small amounts of oil into tea lights for easy pouring. Use metal tins or silicone molds.

  • Scent candles lightly to avoid an overpowering smell. Essential oils are very potent.

Creative Ideas for Used Cooking Oil Candles

Ready to put your used cooking oil candles to good use? Here are some creative ways to repurpose them throughout your home:

  • Float candlelit mason jars in a backyard firepit or pool.

  • Gift homemade candles in painted glass for personalized presents.

  • Display candles with dried flowers on the dining table as mood lighting.

  • Line a windowsill with an assortment of filled glass containers in different shapes.

  • Set tealights in colored jars and use to light up porch steps and pathways.

With this thorough guide, you have all the information needed to turn used cooking oil into stylish and eco-friendly candles. So next time you cook with oil, don’t pour it out – reuse it to create beautiful home decor!