Have you ever had a candle so beautiful you couldn’t bear to burn it? Luxury candles can be a sophisticated addition to your home décor, adding ambient, soft-spoken pleasure to a room just by being there. If you enjoy collecting candles for their aesthetic, you might wonder: do candles expire? How long do candles last if you don’t light them?

In this article, we’ll explore how long candles last, what affects their lifespan, and how you can make your candles last longer.

How Long Do Candles Last?

The burn time of a candle, or how long it lasts when lit, depends on its size, the type of wax, and the number of wicks. For example, the average burn time for a 12 oz. luxury candle is about 80 hours. But what if the candle hasn’t been lit? The lifespan of an unlit candle mainly depends on the type of wax and how it’s stored.

Certain types of candles, like those made from paraffin wax, can last almost indefinitely if stored properly. Others, like soy candles, are best used within a year or two.

Will Your Candle’s Scent Weaken?

Scent degradation is the first type of candle degradation to occur. This happens as fragrance molecules slowly evaporate from the wax into the air, even when the candle isn’t burning. You can notice this by smelling an unlit candle; over time, the scent becomes weaker.

Fortunately, this process is gradual and almost unnoticeable for the first six months to a year, depending on the type of wax and quality of fragrance oils used. However, the longer you store your unlit candle, the less scent it will produce when you eventually burn it. To enjoy the strongest fragrance, it’s best to burn your candle sooner rather than later.

Will Your Candle’s Color Fade?

Color degradation is another concern for candle longevity. Candles with colored wax, whether vibrant red, peaceful blue, or opulent gold, may fade over time due to exposure to UV light. Sunlight and even indoor lighting can cause dyes in the wax to oxidize and degrade.

Storing candles in a dark place can help preserve their color. However, if you display your candles as decorative pieces, their colors may fade faster depending on the light exposure. Some candle makers add UV protectants to their wax to slow down discoloration.

Will Your Candle Ever Expire?

Candles don’t have an expiration date like food, but they do degrade over time. Eventually, a candle might become difficult to light or not burn properly. Two main factors influence a candle’s longevity: the type of wax and how it’s stored.

Organic, vegetable-based waxes like soy and coconut are more prone to breaking down over time, which can clog the wick and make the candle hard to light. Paraffin and beeswax candles are more stable and can last almost indefinitely if stored correctly.

How to Make Candles Last Longer

Avoid Sunlight: Keep candles away from direct sunlight and other harsh lights when on display.
Use Covers: Use a candle topper or glass cloche to help preserve the fragrance longer.
Proper Storage: Store candles in a dark, cool place, avoiding high humidity or moisture.
Stable Environment: Keep candles away from areas with sudden temperature changes, like radiators or vents.

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long a candle will last, a good rule of thumb is to burn your candles within a year of unpacking them. After that, the longevity of your candle will depend on its composition, how it’s stored, and a bit of luck.

Understanding the factors that affect candle lifespan helps you make the most of your beautiful, fragrant investments. At Sweet U Candles, we craft our candles with the highest quality materials to ensure they bring lasting joy to your home.
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