It’s a question that has puzzled candle lovers for years: do candles expire, and how long do candles last?
Candles do not expire, but they can lose their scent and colour over time if not stored properly. This is why you should ensure that you store your candles in a cool, dark place away from any heat sources. Doing this will help to keep them smelling great and looking their best for as long as possible.
This article will discuss the effects of improper storage on candles and address the common misconception that candles expire.
Do candles expire?
Candles do not expire. However, they can lose their scent and colour over time if they are not stored correctly. This is referred to as colour and scent degradation. It is a common misconception that candles expire. It is very rare for a candle to “go bad.” However, a candle can lose its scent and colour over time if not stored correctly. This is because candles are made of natural materials and, as such, are subject to degradation when not stored correctly.
Why do candles lose their scent?
Typically, the first element of a candle to degrade is the fragrance. This is because fragrance molecules are volatile and will evaporate over time if not adequately contained. In addition, light, heat, and oxygen can also contribute to the evaporation of fragrance molecules. As a result, it is essential to store candles in a cool, dark place.
Why do candles lose their colour?
The second element of a candle to degrade is its colour. This is because the pigments used to colour candles are also subject to degradation when exposed to UV light. As a result, it is also important to store candles in a dark place.
How long do candles last?
When stored correctly, candles can last indefinitely. However, the scent of the average candle will start to degrade after six months to a year. The rate at which this degradation occurs depends on several factors, such as how often the candle is burned, the type of wax used, the fragrance used, and the type of wick used.
What about the burn time? Once lit, the average 12 oz candle will have a burn time of 80 hours. We will now look at the different elements of a candle and how this will impact the colour and fragrance degradation.
Variables of a candle that impacts degradation speed
Type of Wax
The type of wax used in a candle can impact the degradation rate. Those candles made from organic and vegetable bases will degrade quicker when not stored correctly. Soy and coconut wax are examples of vegetable and organic-based waxes that are more susceptible to degradation.
This should not put you off using these types of waxes; make sure you are aware of these problems if you store your candles for long periods. You should have no problems following the tips we outline later in the article.
Paraffin and Beeswax are two types of wax that are not as susceptive to degradation. These types of waxes can essentially last forever when stored correctly.
The fragrance load is the maximum amount of fragrance oil used within a specific wax type. A high fragrance load will result in a stronger-smelling candle lasting longer over time, concerning cold and hot throws. The higher the fragrance, the longer it will take for scent degradation.
However, you should not worry too much about this, as most candles on the market have an optimum fragrance load that balances fragrance throw and burn time.
The type of wick used can also influence the degradation rate. A cotton wick will usually degrade quicker than other types of wicks as it is absorbent. This means it will absorb some fragrance oil, which may lead to the wick clogging if the candle is unlit for a significant period.
This should not impact you unless you have stored your candles improperly and you have not lit your candle for over several years.
What are the effects of improper storage on candles?
Several effects can occur as a result of improper storage, such as:
- The loss of fragrance: As previously mentioned, the scent is the first element of a candle to degrade. This is because fragrance molecules are volatile and will evaporate over time if not adequately contained.
- The loss of colour: Candles can also lose their colour over time. This is because the pigments used to colour candles are also subject to degradation when exposed to light, heat, or oxygen.
- The formation of cracks: Another effect of improper storage is the formation of cracks in the wax. This is because the wax is a natural material and, as such, is subject to expansion and contraction when exposed to changes in temperature.
- Clogged Wicks: If a candle is not stored correctly, the wick can become clogged with debris. This can prevent the candle from burning properly and can also cause the formation of soot.
How can I prevent these effects?
How to keep your candles from losing their fragrance
The first thing you need to know about storing candles is that they should be kept in a cool, dark place. Heat and light will cause the wax to melt and the fragrance to dissipate. An ideal location for storing candles would be a cupboard or drawer, away from any direct sunlight or heat source.
Another essential factor to consider when storing candles is moisture. Candles should be stored in an airtight container, as this will stop the wax from sweating, causing the fragrance to fade. If you must keep your candles in a non-airtight container, place a desiccant packet inside to absorb any moisture.
How to stop your candles colour fading
The pigments used to colour candles are also degraded when exposed to UV light. To prevent this, store your candles in a cool, dark place.
In addition, you can wrap your candles in tissue paper or place them in a box before storing them. This will help to protect the colour of your candles from fading. Wax paper can also be used for this purpose.
When storing candles, keeping them away from other strongly scented items is essential. This includes soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc. These items’ fragrances can transfer to the candles and impact the scent.
How to stop your candles from cracking?
Another effect of improper storage is the formation of cracks in the wax. This is because the wax is a natural material and, as such, is subject to expansion and contraction when exposed to changes in temperature. To prevent this, store your candles in a cool, dark place.
In addition, you can wrap your candles in tissue paper or place them in a box before storing them. This will help to protect the wax from cracking.
Storing Multiple candles? When storing multiple candles together, it is essential to ensure they are not touching. This will prevent them from sticking together and becoming difficult to separate.
How to store candles for long periods?
The key to storing candles properly is to keep them away from light, heat, and moisture.
- Store candles in a cool, dark place.
- Wrap candles in wax paper or cloth to protect them from light.
- Do not store candles near a heat source, such as a radiator or fireplace.
- Keep candles away from moisture by storing them in a sealed container.
Following these simple tips, you can enjoy the wonderful scent of your favorite candles for months or even come!
The benefits of adequately storing candles
Besides making your candles last longer, proper storage also helps to keep them from developing cracks or becoming misshapen. Cracks and imperfections can cause your candles to burn unevenly and produce less light and scent.
So, next time you buy a new candle (or two or three…), take a moment to think about where you will store it. Following the tips above, you can enjoy your candles for as long as possible!
In summary, properly storing candles is essential to maintain their quality and prolong their life. Store them in a cool, dark place away from any heat or light source, and do not store them in an airtight container. Following these simple tips, you can enjoy your candles for many years.