Will Birthday Candles Expire? How Do We Store Them?

Sep. 08, 2021

When we hoarded candles, many of us had big ambitions. We would light this in the bathroom and that in the living room. Only one simple question remains: Will the candles expire? Or can we save the birthday candle we just bought for next year?

Most likely it will start to lose its color or fragrance - which is a shame if you bought it because you thought the birthday candle was pretty or because it smelled nice.

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Why do candles expire?

Candles are usually made from several ingredients: wax, fragrance oils and dyes. Each of these ingredients will degrade over time.


Most candles contain some kind of wax, and some waxes last longer than others. Paraffin waxes tend to last for a while. Paraffin waxes are inert, non-reactive and very stable. But natural waxes - such as soy wax - tend to expire much sooner. This is intuitive. We shouldn't expect soy wax in candles to last forever.


Most candles are scented with synthetic fragrances, natural fragrances (such as essential oils), or some combination of the two. Over time, these fragrances will dissipate - they will become less and less scented. If a candle starts out with a strong fragrance, the scent may last for a while.

Each essential oil has its own unique aging characteristics, so there are no set rules for how it matures over time. You may like it more, or you may not like it as much - only time will tell.


Most birthday candles are dyed with dyes. When these candles are exposed to light - especially sunlight - these dyes will begin to fade or change color. It is common to see bright birthday candles change color to dark brown or yellow.

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How to Store Your Candles

If your candle looks or smells different, it may have started to degrade. If the smell has disappeared, changed or disappeared completely, your candle may be past its prime.

Try lighting the candle and observe the flame. Is it incredibly small and does it go out? This means your candle has a burning performance problem - it may be gone for good. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to extend the life of your candle.

Store in a dark place

Light causes discoloration and can ruin a candle's fragrance, so you need to keep your candle away from it. UV light will break down the color and fragrance.

Keep in a place that is always cool and dry

Temperature fluctuations can change the chemical composition of the candle and speed up the failure process. This is especially true if your candles are exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, try storing your candles in a place where the temperature does not change much, such as a closet. The refrigerator is even better.

Wrap them up before putting them away

A good way to protect your candles from the elements? Wrap them up before storing them. It's like mummifying candles. Wrap them up and cover them so they are as protected from the air as possible.

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