We’ve all heard someone say that putting your candles in the freezer a while before you light them can make them last longer. It was something I heard and accepted as fact and never gave it a second thought. However, as I got into candle making and started building this site I heard it again and again. So I finally decided I was going to try it and record the results. Let’s take a look at the results. Does Freezing A Candle Make It Last Longer?
Freezing a candle does not make it last longer. In fact, it can damage your candle and crack it. In addition, freezing your candle will encourage it to begin wax tunneling instead of burning as it should. The best way to make your candle last longer is to follow proper burning practices.
My candles were in tins so I believe that helped to minimize the damage, however, if you were using certain glass containers the temperature change from the freezing wax to the hot flame could fracture the glass.
Let’s tale a look at the results.
Room Temperature Candle vs Freezing A Candle
In this picture you can see how frosted over the second tin is compared to the first, this is after about 1.5 hours in the freezer.
This is a side-by-side shot of the two candles before I started burning them. You can see the cracks on the surface of the candle on the right, it was the one that was in the freezer.
As it started burning I could see that a few cracks met in the center at the wick, however, as the candle burned they filled in with molten wax. If the candle had been in the freezer long enough for the wick to draw moisture it could have become a problem.
Moisture pockets in candles and in wicks can cause popping so severe that molten wax will pop out of the candle onto surrounding surfaces. You can read about the consequences of that in this news story.
Here you can see the molten wax pool is slightly larger on the left candle, which at first glance may make it seem like the freezer candle would last longer. However, if you look closely you can see the molten wax level is lower on the right candle.
So the flame has melted less surface area, but more wax is missing from the molten wax pool.
This shows us that the candle is not necessarily burning slower, it is just that the candle is burning differently.
This is also a problem. As I sit here, over an hour later the candle on the right side has still not finished melting the wax across the surface of the candle.
Instead of simply making a candle burn longer, we have created a candle that wants to tunnel. When the candle on the left has melted the wax all the way across the surface, the candle on the right has not. You can even see how much lower the level of molten wax is than the solid surface wax.
Nearly two hours after lighting the candle it has finally melted the surface wax from rim to rim. So if you freeze your candle and do not let it melt completely that will be bad for the candles wax memory and promote a candle that tunnels.
My last point on freezing candles is that the flame remained largely indistinguishable between the two candles throughout the experiment.
The flame runs on fuel and that fuel is wax. In order to make a candle last longer, you need to feed the flame less wax, and freezing the candle does not achieve that.
It simply changes how the wax is delivered to the flame.
How Do You Make A Candle Burn Longer?
Now let’s look at some realistic ways you can make a candle burn longer.
How Do You Make A Candle Burn Longer?
- Burn as suggested
- Keep the wick trimmed
- Avoid drafts
- Keep it clean
- Let it cool before using it again
Burn as suggested
Most candles come with suggested burn times from the manufacturer. It is generally a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 4 hours.
You want to burn the candle long enough so that the surface wax melts from rim to rim. This will help keep the candle from tunneling and give the candle good wax memory.
Keep the wick trimmed
Keep the wick trimmed so that it is never longer than 1/4 of an inch long and the flame is never taller than 1 inch tall.
If you let the wick get too long it will heat the wax too quickly and burn down the candle faster than it should.
Keep the candle away from any drafts. You want to use your candle somewhere it won’t be affected by wind, walkways, fans, furnaces, or air conditioners.
This can change the way the flame burns and negatively impact heat distribution which can keep the wax from melting as it should. When this happens you risk getting a wick that is too short or a tunneling candle.
Keep it clean
Keep the surface of the wax clean and use the lid of the candle when you are not using it. Getting dirt, debris, and grime in the wax can clog up the wick and cause the candle to burn irregularly. This can lead to candle tunneling or make it burn too rapidly.
Let it completely cool before using again
When a candle gets too hot it can burn too rapidly. Allowing the candle to cool will give you a chance to trim the wick to its proper length and relight it so that it can burn normally again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do candles burn faster in the cold?
Candles do not burn faster or slower in the cold. However, wax does melt more slowly when cold. Although the wax melts more slowly the wax near the wick still melts and is burned at a rate similar to that of a room temperature candle. So a candle burns at the same rate regardless of the temperature of the candle.
Does a frozen candle burn faster than a room temperature candle?
A frozen candle does not burn faster than a room temperature candle. However, it takes longer for the surface wax to melt from rim to rim. This can encourage a candle to the tunnel if you do not burn it long enough for the surface wax to completely melt. Wax melting slower does not equal a candle burning longer or quicker.
Do chilled candles burn longer?
Chilled candles do not burn longer and they do not last longer than room temperature candles. In addition, freezing your candles can damage the candle, the container and make the wick draw moisture which can create its own set of problems later on such as popping.
In conclusion, your options are limited when it comes to extending the burn time of your candles.
The best way to ensure your candle lasts you as long as the manufacturer intended it to is to perform proper candle care and maintenance. Keep the wick trimmed after every use, keep the candle away from drafts and use the lid between uses.
You should own a candle accessory kit to help you easily maintain your candle. This is my choice from Amazon.
No matter what you decide to do take caution when putting your candles in the freezer or refrigerator because when they draw moisture it can absolutely do more harm than good.