Frugal Fragrance: Rehab Your Scented Candles in a Solar Oven



Fall is giving way to winter here at the Desert Homestead. The sun goes down early and the winter rains make for some gloomy days. During the day, Barbara keeps the house warm and inviting by baking on a regular basis. Today, apple crisp in the oven will fill the house with one of my favorite odors. But, in the evening and during the days of clouds, snow, and rain, we rely on our candles to bring a measure of joy and a feeling of cozy warmth to our straw bale house in the desert. Despite the cold and wet weather, candle burning season is great!

       First  Snow in the Dragoons
We love the fragrance of scented candles, but they are expensive. So Barbara has come up with a frugal method of ensuring that we have our much loved candle light and fragrance whenever we choose, with little cost. We do occasionally purchase scented candles and, even more likely, receive them as welcome holiday gifts from friends and relatives who know how much we enjoy them. But most of our candles are “personally modified” by Barbara.

        Candle Scraps for Melting Down

 After burning our purchased or gift candles until the wick is a blackened stub at the bottom of a well of unburned wax, the candles often have as much as 25% or more of great scented wax remaining. This holds true of last year’s rehabbed votives, as well. Throwing the remains away would be a real waste, so we rehab the candles.

          Melting Candles in a Solar Oven
The first step is to clean up last year’s votive candle holders. Barbara puts them on a pan in our solar oven. You can use the oven in your kitchen, of course. The pan keeps spills from the oven which could hurt the flavor muffins baked in the solar oven or your kitchen oven. What tragedy that would be! A kitchen oven set to about 275 degrees should work fine. Whichever method of melting you use, be careful. Don't burn yourself.

4/9/2021 6:55:31 PM

Interesting. I don’t know, maybe you don’t have a freezer, but I would never remove old wax by melting it. I have been reusing old wax for decades. I put the candle holder in the freezer for a few hours. Sometimes you have to use a knife, but it pops out neatly. There is no oily mess left in the holder.

Dave Larson
11/16/2011 10:56:24 AM

Hi N Dave, Thanks for the note on the candles. It sounds like your winter garden now resembles ours a bit. We have some variety of lettuce, kale, chard, and spinach that continues to provide us with great greens for much, if not all, the winter season. But, then, even at nearly 5,000 ft, we are still warmer. This week, I'm building a mini-hoop house for our lettuce bed to try and protect the tender little ones from any upcoming cold. We'll see. Although I love eating the fresh produce, half the fun for me is the project. I suspect that's true there as well. Have a good time doing some custom candles!

Nebraska Dave
11/15/2011 6:40:24 PM

Dave, what a great idea to recycle mostly used up scented candles. I have a couple fancy seasonal candles that I buy candles for. To get the old candle wax out of the decorated glass holder, I just nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to get the wax melted enough to slide right out of the holder. Then it's in with the new candle and I'm ready to go for the season. I never thought about recycling the left over wax. It would be an easy thing to do. I don't really have candles burning during the regular part of the year. I do keep them handy if the power goes off which it has and seems to do more often every year. So far we here in Nebraska have been fortunate and not had any long term power outages. I really feel for those folks out on the East coast. The gardens are done here except for the Mesclun salad mix. It's a bit bitter but once you get used to it it's OK. I just throw in the chopped onions, sprinkle it with Mrs. Dash Orginal, slice up a boiled egg, and dowse the salad with blue cheese dressing and a taste delight is born. Actually, it's not bad and the plants are pretty dog gone tough. I basically just planted the seeds and walked away. It just doesn't look like the lettuce I'm used to growing. I did find a couple yellow lettuce plants that were ever so delicate compared to the tough rugged Mesclun. Have a great desert Thanksgiving.

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