Why Is My Candle Wax Not Hardening?

candle wax not hardening

So you’ve made yourself a nice gooey candle. Sometimes it seems like if something can go wrong for you when making candles, it will. However, everything that happens has a reason, can be figured out and in the future, it can be prevented. One of these problems is candle wax that is not hardening all the way. Why is my candle wax not hardening all the way?

Candle wax will not harden when too much fragrance oil is added, too much moisture in the wax, the wax has expired or the temperature in the room is too high for the wax to completely harden. Make sure that the wax was properly heated to the appropriate temperature and the fragrance oil calculation was correct.

The first place to check is to make sure that the fragrance load of the wax was not exceeded and that no inappropriate additives were used in the wax. Most types of wax have a fragrance oil load of 10% meaning that no more than 10% by weight of the mixture should be fragrance oil. That is 1.6 oz per pound.

With several possible causes for this problem, we will need to troubleshoot some of the causes. Let’s take a closer look at some of these issues and what it means for your candle.

What can cause candle wax not to harden

Here are some of the issues that can cause candle wax not to harden.

What Can Cause Candle Wax Not To Harden

  • Too much fragrance oil
  • Too much moisture
  • Expired wax
  • Temperature too high
  • Poor fragrance oil mixture
  • Wax not heated enough
  • Type of Fragrance Oil

Too much fragrance oil

Candle wax is only capable of containing so much oil and still solidifying. While wax becomes semi-solid at room temperature, fragrance oil never solidifies. So adding too much fragrance oil to your candles will leave “gooey” spots and wet looking wax that will never turn solid.

The maximum fragrance oil load for most waxes is 10%, this means that you can only add 1.6 oz of fragrance oil per pound of wax. Avoid any fragrance oil load related issues by not surpassing the 10% limit.

Too much moisture

Your wax may have taken on moisture while sitting around, in transit, or at the wholesaler somewhere. Heating the wax may not have necessarily been enough to make any moisture it was containing evaporate. Check your wax supply and see if it appears to be damp and try holding the temperature at around 185°F for a while when heating it.

Holding the temperature at 185°F a little longer than usual may help some of the moisture in the wax begin to evaporate.

Expired wax

Candle wax does expire and when it does it can cause problems. When candle wax expires it will begin to smell bad, look translucent and can appear to be semi melted even at room temperature.

Candle wax is essentially hydrogenated soybean oil and like other types of oil, it can eventually go bad in a similar fashion to Crisco turning rancid. Help prevent this by storing the wax in a dry, cool, and dark place.

Temperature was too high

Depending on the type of wax you are using if the temperature is too high in the room you are working that could be preventing your wax from solidifying. Some waxes, such as coconut wax have a melting point as low as 100°F.

If it is in excess of 90°F in the room you are making your candles it is going to take a very long time for your candle wax to fully harden. So you are going to have to open a window or turn on the A/C.

However, if you are making candles in glass containers try not to let the air blow directly on them, or else it might create wet spots on the sides of the glass.

Poor fragrance oil mixture

If the mixture of wax and fragrance oil was not mixed adequately then it might just be an isolated part of the candle that is holding the majority of the fragrance oil.

Make sure that the candle wax and fragrance oil are mixed completely, but make sure that you are stirring the mixture gently to avoid including any air into the mixture.

Wax not heated enough

If the wax was not heated to at least 185°F it could prevent the fragrance oil, dye, and candle wax from all blending together properly. The wax solidifies and has to basically encase the liquid fragrance oil, if the wax is not heated enough it can prevent it from mixing thoroughly enough to do it.

Type of Fragrance Oil

I have never personally experienced this issue, but I have seen pictures and heard stories in the candle making community. From time to time you will see fragrance oils popup that people struggle with. These fragrance oils do not want to mix with wax.

It leaves little fragrance oil droplets in the candle wax that look almost like beads. Having never experienced this problem my only advice is to make sure you mix the candle wax from the addition of the fragrance oil until the wax is poured.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make candle wax harder?

Stearic acid can be added to candle wax to harden it, increase its burn time and make it more opaque. In addition to hardening the wax, steric acid can help candles retain their fragrance. Stearic acid should be added at an amount of  5% or a few tablespoons per pound.

How long does it take for candle wax to harden?

Most types of candle wax will typically be firm after 6 hours depending on the room temperature in your home and depending on the type and size of the container.

Can you put candles in the refrigerator to set?

Do not put your candle in the refrigerator to set. It can damage your candle container, create wet spots, create sinkholes and weaken the scent throw. In addition, a candle in the refrigerator can draw moisture which can cause the candle to pop. This will potentially cause the candle to spread molten wax to surrounding areas as it pops.

Why are my wax melts soft?

If your wax melts are not hardening make another wax melt with no fragrance oil and see if it hardens. The issue could be with your fragrance oil calculations or it could be that the wax you are using is no longer good. In addition, you can find wax specifically made for wax melts at some wholesale providers.

What is the hardest candle wax?

Beeswax is considered to be the hardest candle wax available for candle making. Followed by Paraffin wax, Beeswax, and Paraffin wax blends and vegetable oil-based candles such as soy wax and coconut wax coming in as the least hard.


In conclusion, wax that is not hardening all the way can potentially have several causes. However, only a few of them are outside your control. If you work diligently while making your candles and constantly check your supplies and take precautions you will get great looking and great working candles.

Check your ingredients, double check your fragrance oil measurements, constantly check the wax temperatures, stir the mixture thoroughly but gently and in the end everything should work out in your favor.

If you are sure that you did everything right but your candle wax is still not hardening correctly you may want to try making another candle, but without the fragrance oil. The problem could be with your wax.

Carl Adamson

Hi, I'm Carl Adamson, one of the founders here at Candleers. A few years ago I got really into the art and craft of candle making, initially with soy wax container candles. My friends started asking me to make candles for them and pretty soon it turned into a nice side-business. I started this website as a way to document what I've learned over the past few years and hopefully help others in the process. I still love candle making but I'm learning that what I enjoy even more is the business side of things - and for this reason I've started consulting others on how to start and grow their own candle-making businesses and side-hustles.

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