Freezing isn’t just for leftover dinners, Walmart bargains, meal prep, and an organized monthly grocery shop. There are many non-food items that you can also pop in the freezer. The questions today are, are candles one of them, why would you freeze candles, and most importantly of all will they break if you do?
Whatever the reason is that you need to freeze your candles, in this article we will take a look into the pros and cons of doing so. Whether freezing them will have a negative impact on their shelf life and crucially if they will completely survive the process.
Freezing candles can not only add to their overall shelf life but by freezing the wax you can achieve a much slower burn time making your candle last for longer. However, if the wax is subject to rapid temperature changes this can cause it to crack which will significantly affect its burning power.
Is it Ok for Candles to Freeze?
Putting your candles in the freezer can ultimately increase their lifespan by creating a longer burn time. This is because the cold or frozen wax will take longer to melt than a candle that is at room temperature.
As we have learned in our sister article Do Candles Use Up Oxygen, a candle works by the heat source (the flame) melting the wax. The melted wax is then pulled up into the wick which reacts to the oxygen in the air and in turn, keeps the candle burning. Common sense dictates that the colder something is, the longer it will take to burn and/or melt.
By freezing your candles, you are ultimately hardening the wax. This in turn can create a lengthier burn time as the heat from the flame works to melt it. Do be conscious though that different-sized candles will need different freeze times and freezing for too long can have the opposite effect.
However, should your candle be housed in a metal tin or glass jar as the candle contracts due to the cold temperatures it will loosen from the sides of its container. This method is usually used if you are wanting to remove a candle from its storage.
Do Candles last longer if you Freeze them?
Freezing your candles can slow down the burn rate so yes, the colder they are the longer they are likely to ultimately last. Cold wax is harder than wax which is at room temperature so takes a longer time to melt.
However, should you freeze your candle to the core by leaving it in the freezer for an excessive period of time you can quite quickly encounter the opposite effect of what you have set out to achieve.
Candle wax can and does crack if exposed to extreme temperature changes; once cracked, it can majorly impact how it burns. Not only may you be left with a completely uneven burn, but your candle may not burn at all.
Furthermore, in the case of scented candles freezing will cause the essential oils used to create the fragrance to be pushed out of the wax as it contracts during the freezing process. Once you begin the melting process by lighting your candle after removal from the freezer you may see what looks like water droplets on the top of the candle. These are the oils that have been pushed out of the wax. They will then vaporize as your candle burns and dissipate into the air much faster than if they were still housed within the candle. You may find that you still have a scented candle but this will not be as strong as if the freezing process had not taken place.
That said, this can be one method of minimizing the scent in a candle if you feel it is too strong. We discuss this topic in more detail in our sister article How to Remove Scent from Scented Candles.
At what temperature does Candle Wax freeze?
Candles are made from different types of wax with the most popular being paraffin, soy, and beeswax. The exact freezing point will be entirely dependent on the type and composition of the wax used.
However, the average freezing point of candle wax is between 32° and 40° Celsius (0° and 4° Fahrenheit). Typically this can take between 3 and 5 hours depending on the size and thickness of the candle but overnight in the freezer would be most likely to achieve the best results.
That said, we do not recommend freezing your candles to the core as this has the highest risk when it comes to your wax cracking due to the extreme changes in temperature. One alternative to cooling your candle to achieve a longer burn whilst minimizing the risk of cracking wax is to cool your candle in the fridge for a few hours.
Conversely, the typical melting point of candle wax is 113° and 180° Celsius (45° and 82° Fahrenheit). This is also depending on the type and composition of the wax. Again, here at Flame Stuff, we must stress that whilst freezing your candle may have an impact on its longevity, exposure to extreme and rapid temperature changes can result in cracked wax.
How long to leave a Candle in the Freezer
This is entirely dependent on what you are wishing to achieve. If you are looking to remove wax from the container that they are stored in such as a metal tin, teal light holder or glass jar then see below.
However, if you are looking to extend the life of your candle with a longer burn time then you need to be mindful to not over freeze it and realizing the opposite. The fatter the candle the longer you will need to leave it in the freezer. For example, a pillar candle will always need to be left longer than a taper candle.
A thick pillar candle may take up to 8 hours to freeze sufficiently enough to create a longer burn time whilst a thinner taper candle may only take a couple of hours maximum. As already discussed, do ensure that you do not freeze them to the core or for too long to minimize the risk of cracking.
Freezing Candles to remove Wax
Many candles come with their own storage such as tea lights, jars, and even metal tins. Once the wick is burned out you are often left with some wax residue at the bottom of this storage. Many people just throw this away and move on to their next candle but there are a few reasons why you may not want to do this.
You may wish to keep the storage jar or tin to either make your own candles in or to use for other purposes. Or, you may be a candle maker yourself and recycle the leftover wax. Whatever the reason the best way to remove the wax is by freezing the whole container.
As the wax freezes and contracts it will naturally lift away from the inside of the container in which it is stored. When you then remove the jar from the freezer removing the wax will be as easy as pie.
Leaving the candle overnight will give you the best results but you can check if your wax is frozen by just giving it a little prod. If it moves it means that it has come away from the sides of the container and you are good to go. To release the wax can be as easy as just tipping the container upside down but for wax that is a little more stubborn a little manipulation with a butter knife should do the trick.
The wick may also need a little encouragement to dislodge it from the jar but again, this will be an easy task. After a good wash with soap and water or even baby oil, your container will be ready for its new use. You can store all your leftover wax in the same pot to eventually create a bespoke candle of your own.
For more information on recycling candles and candle wax please visit Where to Recycle Tea Lights.
We hope that we have covered all your questions on freezing candles. In summary, we have learned that freezing your candles can, and often does lengthen their burn time and life span by creating a slower melt. However, we have to be mindful that candles also can, and do crack if frozen to the core due to the extreme change in temperatures. Scented candles can also be significantly depleted of their fragrance if frozen.
Nevertheless, should you wish to remove any unusable wax from the storage in which it came for any reason then freezing is most certainly the best option.