Do Candles Expire? How Long Can I Keep Them?

When we think of expiration dates, we typically picture food, beverages, and gym memberships, but do candles expire? Humans have been using candles as a form of household lighting for centuries, but people still keep candles for emergencies. So, will the candles you have tucked away ever go bad? 

The short answer is yes and no. While candles don’t decompose, any candles that contain organic materials will eventually decay.

In this post, we’ll break down the lifespan of candles and what you can do to make them last longer. 

What Are the Different Candles?

Candles come in all shapes and sizes and can contain a wide range of ingredients. Here’s an overview of the most popular candle types on the market:

Soy Candles

Soy candles are a sustainable option that prides itself on being pure burning and non-toxic. However less chemicals and preservatives can mean they start to degrade faster than other types of candles. Typically soy candles are at their peak for 1-2 years.

Paraffin Candles

Paraffin candles are derived from petroleum, cheap and widely used in both scented and unscented candles. Because they are derived from petroleum, they have a longer typically last about 5 years.

Beeswax Candles

Without a doubt, beeswax candles last the longest. Beeswax candles contain compounds that are specifically designed to live long on the shelf. Some samples of beeswax candles that are thousands of years old still contain similar properties to those that are fresh. 

How to Make Candles Last Longer

While organic material will eventually decay, there are a few things you can do to maximize your candle’s lifespan. For starters, try your best to keep your candles away from the sun. Direct sunlight can cause them to fade, weaken their scent, and make them decay faster. If you place your candles near a window, they’re likely to fade away faster than if they’re in the shade. 

If you want to take an even further step, place your candles in an air-tight container. Fortunately, most candles come already equipped with their own storage container. If yours doesn’t, find an air-sealed bag. It’s better to find a container that isn’t transparent, as it will help further protect your candles from the sun. 

One benefit of using an air-tight container is that it will help your candle keep its fragrance. If you have expensive candles, it’s highly recommended that you store them properly to preserve their quality. 

How Do You Know if a Candle Is About to Expire?

The fastest way to know if your candles are about to expire is to perform a visual inspection. Any signs of discoloration, crystallization, or other visual defects are a good indicator that your candles are about to go bad. Soy candles have the strongest visual imperfections when it’s their time to go. 

Another way to determine if your candle is about to expire is to check the scent. While scented candles will eventually get weaker, any foul or unnatural odors are a big warning sign that expiration is imminent. For this reason, scented candle manufacturers recommend you try to burn your candles within a year to a year and a half of purchase. 

Additional Tips for Candle Care

While properly storing your candles will make a significant difference, there are a few other things you can do to make them last longer. Try some of the following candle care tips below:

  • Burn Your Candles Properly. Burning your candle the right way will ensure you maximize all of its benefits. You want to let the candle burn until there’s a protective layer of wax underneath. This waxy layer will help retain its pleasant smell and protect the unburned wax. 
  • Keep Your Candles Away From Open Windows. A breeze from an open window can blow the wax out of place and hinder the tip above. As you probably know, oxygen fuels fire. As a result, your candle will burn faster.
  • Remove Debris From The Wax Pool. Any debris that makes its way into the wax pool will jeopardize the candle’s burn, creating uneven edges. Keep the wax pool clean to ensure your candle burns properly.

Final Thoughts

If you find yourself on this post, chances are you love candles. So, why not make them last as long as possible? Now that you know the answer to "Do Candles expire?" a bit of effort can go a long way, so make sure you try all the above tips to ensure you can enjoy your candles longer.

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