How to Save Money By Recycling Used Cooking Oil Into Eco-Friendly Candles

How to Save Money By Recycling Used Cooking Oil Into Eco-Friendly Candles

How to Save Money By Recycling Used Cooking Oil Into Eco-Friendly Candles


Recycling used cooking oil into candles is a great way to repurpose waste into something useful and eco-friendly. Not only does it allow you to make your own candles on a budget, it also keeps used oil out of waterways and landfills.

In this article, I will teach you everything you need to know about recycling cooking oil into candles. You will learn how to properly collect and filter used oil, what supplies you need, how to add fragrance and color, and tips for pouring and curing your finished candles. With just a few inexpensive materials, you can turn leftover frying oil into lovely handmade soy candles.

Collecting and Filtering Used Cooking Oil

The first step is gathering enough used oil to make candles with. Here are some tips:

  • Save oil from frying foods like french fries, chicken, and doughnuts. Strain out any food particles using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

  • Store the clean used oil in an airtight container until you have enough to make candles. Dark glass jars or bottles work best.

  • Avoid vegetable, olive, or nut oils – the molecules are different and won’t harden properly in candles. Stick with oils like canola, corn, peanut, or sunflower oil.

  • Let the oil settle for a few days after straining so impurities sink to the bottom. Then gently pour or siphon off the clearer oil from the top to filter further.

  • Filter the oil through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or fine mesh strainer to remove debris and ensure a clean appearance.

Supplies Needed

You’ll need a few basic supplies:

  • Clean used cooking oil – at least 2 cups to start with.

  • Wick – pre-tabbed or regular candle wicks work. Make sure they are long enough for your jar.

  • Jars or containers – heat-safe glass like canning jars, vases, or tin containers.

  • Double boiler – or a jar in a pot of simmering water.

  • Thermometer – to monitor the oil temperature.

  • Dyes and fragrances (optional) – use soy candle dyes and essential oils or fragrance oils.

  • Spoon or chopstick – for stirring the wax.

  • Paper towels – for cleaning up spills.

Adding Scent and Color

One of the fun parts is personalizing your candles by adding dyes and scents. Here are some tips:

  • Use a small amount of dye, a couple drops at a time, so the color doesn’t get too dark.

  • Match the fragrance to the color – for example, red candles can be scented with cinnamon.

  • Use natural dyes like turmeric or beet powder for an organic touch.

  • Consider leaving some uncolored and unscented for versatility.

  • Combine multiple oils like lemon and lavender for a complex aroma.

  • Test colors and scents in small batches before making large candles.

Step-By-Step Pouring Process

Once you have your materials prepped, it’s time to melt and pour the candles:

Melting the Wax

  1. Place a jar on a scale and tare to zero it out. Then weigh out 4-6 ounces of oil in the container.

  2. Add wax dye and fragrance if using.

  3. Place the jar of oil in a double boiler or makeshift setup with simmering water.

  4. Heat the oil to 180-200°F, monitoring with a thermometer. Remove from heat.

Prepping the Wick

  1. Cut your wick to about 1/2 inch longer than the depth of the jar. Attach it to the bottom with wax or adhesive.

  2. Anchor the wick to a chopstick placed over the mouth of the jar. This will hold it centered as you pour.

Pouring and Cooling

  1. Carefully pour the hot oil into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.

  2. Allow the candle to fully cool and harden for at least 24 hours. Trim the wick to 1/4 inch before lighting.

Tips for Best Results

Follow these tips as you make your oil candles:

  • Avoid drafts and bumps as the candles cool – this can cause unevenness in the finished candle.

  • Reheat and strain the oil through cheesecloth after cooling if there is debris at the bottom.

  • Use shallow jars for a faster cool time; taller pillars take longer to harden.

  • Store candle dyes and fragrances in a cool, dark place to preserve their potency.

  • Improvise with containers – just make sure they are heat resistant. Vintage glassware finds work beautifully!

Creative Variations

Once you’ve mastered the basics, try these fun variations:

  • Layer multiple colored waxes in stripes, swirls, or other patterns.

  • Suspend botanicals like dried flowers or herbs in the wax for visual interest.

  • Add beeswax to make the candles firmer or shape them into free-standing pillars.

  • Etch or decorate the glass with paint pens, stickers, lace, or other embellishments.

  • Use votive or tealight molds to make smaller reusable candles.

  • Create floating candles by pouring just an inch of wax into jars filled with water.


Making soy candles from recycled oil is an easy, economical craft that breathes new life into kitchen waste. Not only can you customize beautiful candles, you’ll also feel good about keeping oil out of the environment. I hope these tips empower you to turn trash into candle treasure through this sustainable hobby! Let your creativity shine – your homemade candles make wonderful gifts or home accents.