Do Scented Candles Expire? Facts You Should Know

While candles create an excellent ambiance for your home or office, scented candles are even better. Besides giving your home that fantastic look, Scented candles smell good, help reduce stress and relieve congestion. Once you exhaust them, you can always re-use the candle wax to make another set of candles; however, does this mean that they don’t expire?

Scented candles do not expire. Instead, they may degrade in quality over time since some of the ingredients used are organic, as is the case with essential oils and organic dyes. Also, it depends on how well you store them and for how long you’ve used them. 

Candles have a very long shelf life, depending on the type of wax used. Beeswax can last for hundreds of years without undergoing any degradation. The ancient Egyptians used beeswax to mummify their dead before burial. Read on to find out if scented candles expire.

Do Scented Candles Expire

Scented Candles Degrade in Quality Over Time

You purchased a whole load of scented candles last winter and are probably wondering if they will wait till the next winter. Or someone dear gifted you with lots of scented candles, and you want them to last for a couple of years. Will they?

As we said, earlier candles have very long shelf lives. Scented candles are no exception and will last for so long, provided you properly store them. However, they undergo little changes in the raw materials used. If you see the following minor tell-tale signs, know your candles are becoming stale.

Faint or Repelling Scent

The first thing you will notice about the scented candles you have stored for so long is that they will not have the aroma they had when new. The reason is that some scented candles get their scents from essential oils. Essential oils come from various plant parts such as stems, backs, flowers, and roots. Therefore, they are natural and undergo decomposition like all other organic materials after a certain period.

Don’t be surprised if you light scented candles that you bought two or three years ago don’t smell the same way they did when new. You may get little or no scent. Some will emit a pungent smell in place of the sweet fragrance.

Color Changes

Change of color or discoloration is another sign that the quality of your scented candle has taken a deep plunge. Scented Candles usually come with various colors that make them look nice and appealing to the eye. These dyes are natural, meaning they come from plant products; therefore, they disintegrate over time if not stored correctly, just like the essential oils.

Frankly, candles do not go bad. They only get stale. Even after storing them for ages, they will still burn as long as they have wax and a wick in them. Though they will not give the same throw they used to provide; you can always use them for lighting purposes when needed.

Factors That Determine How Long a Scented Candle Will Last

So far, we have agreed that scented candles don’t expire. They only lose the pleasant fragrances due to various factors. They include the type of wax, essential oils, and other additives included for value addition. Read on.

Type of Wax

The first factor that will determine how long your scented candle will stay fresh, sweet-smelling, and pleasant to the eye is the type of wax used to make the candle. Soy wax burns for long compared to Yankee and Citronella. The same case applies to beeswax.

Beeswax, such as Texas Beeswax, retains the pleasant smell for many years compared to Yankee wax, which loses the scent after a year.

Presence of Additives

It is common practice to add additives such as ultraviolet ray inhibitors. Other additives increase cold throw while optimizing the hot throw, keeping the candle from fading.

Also, antioxidants increase the stability of the candle when exposed to heat. These additives may, in turn, affect the rate at which the candle burns. Additives give scented candles longevity since they will burn and look good for a long time.

Scented Oils

For a scented candle to give the pleasant smell you love, you can include specific components to the wax during candle making. They are called fragrance oils or essential oils. Essential oils are natural and drawn from sweet-smelling herbs such as lavender and rosemary; therefore, they are organic and decompose after a specific time.

Manufactured synthetically in factories, fragrance oils are sweet-smelling compounds that last longer compared to essential oils.

Scented candles retain fragrance for as long as the scented oil will last. Candles made using essential oils produce a scent for a short period compared to candles made with fragrance oils.

Exposure to Light

Taper and pillar candles stay out on display for long periods and may lose their smell over time. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight cause a chemical reaction that breaks down the wax and causes discoloration. They also weaken the structure of the candle by breaking chemical bonds that hold the wax together. The candle becomes fragile and may break easily.

Well, “my candles stay indoors,” you’re probably thinking. We use artificial light inside our spaces, such as fluorescent lights, which are also culprits when it comes to stripping off the color of your scented candles.

You must be curious to know how long your favorite scented candle will last before losing its scent. That will depend on the type of candles, whether Citronella, Yankee, Beeswax, or Soy wax. Read on to learn more in the next part of this conversation.

How Long Will Different Types of Scented Candles Last?

There are different types of candles depending on the kind of wax and other components, and all of them will last for a certain period before showing signs of degradation. Let’s go over the typical shelf lives of individual candles.

Yankee Candle

Yankee candles are scented candles made using wax that comes from paraffin. Paraffin comes from petroleum. This type of candle will lose their scent after about five years on the shelves.

If blended adequately during manufacturing and properly stored, the petroleum base will keep them smelling and looking suitable for this period and maybe more without degrading at all.

Read more about 36 Best Yankee Candle Scents, Which is Your Favorite?

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are made from a unique mixture of plants and grasses. They usually have a pleasant scent that resembles that of fruits and may work as an insect repellant. Citronella candles will last for at least two years on the shelves without losing their fruity scent.

Citronella candles will give out light for years if properly stored. Only the scent will be different.

Soy Candles

Apart from being popular, soy candles retain their scents for the shortest period. Soy wax is produced from hydrogenating soybean oil to get a triglyceride chemical containing large amounts of stearic acids. Typically, it’s softer than paraffin wax and melts at a much lower temperature.

A soy scented candle will retain the scent for one to one and a half years, depending on how properly it is stored. It will produce a faint smell after that, which will gradually fade as the years go on though the candle will remain intact.

Beeswax Candles

Beeswax has been used for ages by humans to produce light and other purposes, such as storage and preservation of mummies in ancient Egypt. Beeswax is made up of esters of fatty acids and other long-chain alcohols and is naturally produced by bees in their abdomens and deposited in hives. Beeswax is an essential component of the honeycomb. How sweet!

Scents tend to evaporate and fade over time but can last longer if you mix them with beeswax. It would be best to use candle wax within a year of opening their container though beeswax candles can retain their scents for many years.

As much as candles don’t expire as you have so far learned, certain factors such as light exposure and additives degrade their quality over time. Therefore, you have to store them in the right and proper manner.

Read more about Best Beeswax Candles.

How To Store Scented Candle and Wax

Scented candles can lose scent and color over time. You don’t want them looking like ordinary candles and producing an unpleasant odor. Use the following tips to keep the candles colorful and emitting sweet aromas for as long as you want.

Keep Scented Candles Wrapped or Sealed

Keeping scented candles or wax already blended with fragrance oils for candle-making sealed or wrapped will help prevent the oxidation process and maintain its chemical structure and color.

Keep the bottles that contain the essential oils you intend to use for making scented candles capped. Wrap votive pillar and taper candles to protect them from direct sunlight. Put the scented candles you don’t intend to use soon in an airtight container.

Protect From Direct Sunlight

As we said earlier, scented candles are, in most cases, colored. However, they will fade when exposed to direct sunlight. Candles are sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and become fragile and lose the scent when left in the sun for too long.

Store the candles away from direct sunlight and artificial lighting, such as fluorescent lighting, to keep them from degrading.

Store the Candles in a Cool, Dry Place

Scented candles and the wax used to make them are very sensitive to extreme heat. High temperatures or keeping your candles near the fire will cause them to melt or soften. You may be destroying them unintentionally. Keep candles at suitable temperatures, i.e., room temperatures, and below.

Humidity will affect the quality of scented candles. It will also dissolve some of the colorful dyes on the scented candles and wet the wick. Place your candles away from water or humid areas.

Store Candles in Dark Places

If you have finished using some of the candles you bought in bulk at the store, and you don’t intend to use the remainder any time soon, put them in opaque containers or dark rooms. This will prevent fluorescent light exposure, which we have said alters the chemical structure.

Candles Don’t Expire

Candles containers and wrappers lack the expiry date on their packages. Candles do not expire. However, they degrade in quality over time, thus, losing their scent and color. How long a scented candle will retain the fragrance will depend on the type of wax used to make the candles and storage.

The next time you buy scented candles, use them immediately after opening the container and store the rest in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

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