It’s a rumor that every candlemaker hears at some point in time and it’s a very old one. The rumor states that freezing your candles will make them burn longer and more slowly. So, is it true? Do candles really burn slower when frozen?
The answer is ‘they can’ but you definitely should not be freezing your candles. Freezing candles can do more damage to them than good and that is going to be the subject of our article today. Keep reading and you can find out what really happens when you freeze a candle.
We’ll cover what happens when you burn candles in cold weather and in the freezer, as well as if candles can be frozen and what else you can do if you simply want to extend your burn time a little more. Let’s talk about candles, cold, and why the two don’t really play well together at all!
Do Candles Burn Faster in the Cold?
One common question about candles should be addressed in this article and it is this; “Do candles burn faster in the cold?”. More specifically, let’s go ahead and address temperature in general. Do candles burn longer in hot or cold temperatures?
As it turns out, a candle will burn more slowly in a colder temperature but the effect is minimal, and we’ll tell you why. Let’s start by providing a baseline. In ideal conditions, your candle burning process is quite simple.
You light the wick, which is expected to burn at a certain pace, as it vaporizes the wax ideally at the same pace that it burns. Your vaporized wax, in turn, keeps the fire fueled and then your candle should burn until it runs out of wick and wax.
So, now we just need to factor in the temperature around the candle, because we’ve said that this makes a difference and it does… just not what you would expect. While a candle will burn SLIGHTLY faster or slower based on the surrounding temperature, it’s not a dramatic difference simply because of the temperature of the flame itself.
The hottest part of your flame is going to burn at about 2500 degrees, with the brightest portion of it burning about 2200. These temperatures are hot enough that the surrounding heat and cold can’t really make much of a dent in it.
Sure, if it’s colder, it’s harder to light the wick and it will take just a little more time to heat up the wax, but that’s about it. Cold weather and warm weather simply aren’t extreme enough to affect the overall heat of the flame when it is already burning.
How Do You Make Candles Burn Slower?
There are a few ways which you can make a candle burn slower but mostly they boil down to care and placement. Let’s take a look at the most common ways to make your candles burn more slowly:
- Salt the wax – One way to safely get a little more mileage out of your favorite candle is to sprinkle a bit of salt into the warm wax after you blow out the wick. Stir it up with a toothpick so that it distributes more evenly and it will burn a little more slowly the next time that you light it.
- Always straighten out the wick – Get in the habit of always straightening out your wick after each time that you burn your candle. A wick that is leaning over to the side a little can cause an uneven burn and this will reduce the efficiency and overall life of your candle until it’s corrected.
- Keep away from drafts – Drafts make that all-important flame wiggle around and thus your burn won’t be as efficient as it should be. So, avoid placing your candle in drafty areas if you want to get the most out of your burning time.
- Trim the wick – An overlong wick is a good way to get ‘mushroom wick’, which is a buildup of black carbon in the shape of a little mushroom or flower. This carbon gets consumed as fuel and the resulting larger flame can burn out your candle faster. Trimming your wick after every use can help to keep this from happening.
- Don’t burn for more than 4 hours – Burning your candle for more than 4 hours can greatly reduce the life and at point your candle can become a potential fire hazard. Keep it under 4 hours or be very, very careful about your placement!
- Don’t burn new candles for only a few minutes – Burning a new candle for just a few minutes can result in uneven pooling, which is certainly not ideal. Give it at least 10 minutes so that you get a more even wax pool before blowing it out if you just want to test out your new candle.
- Let your candle cool awhile before relighting – Relighting a candle too quickly after you’ve just put it out is another wax to get uneven wax pooling. Let it cool and solidify before you relight it and you’ll get a little more life out of that candle.
Another great tip is to purchase slow burning candles. To check the current price and availability of slow burning candles, click here to view the selection on Amazon.
What Happens if You Put a Lit Candle in the Freezer?
If you want to put a lit candle in the freezer in hopes of cooling it down more quickly then we really wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than 5 to 10 minutes. For one thing, it will stay lit for at least a minute or two, maybe more, so it’s not really efficient.
The biggest reason that don’t want it in your freezer is practicality. If your candle is exposed to the extreme cold of your freezer for more than 5 or 10 minutes then your wax will start to freeze. Smaller candles start freezing faster, but the effects aren’t good for candles of any kind.
When wax freezes then it is very likely that you are going to get cracks and moisture is going to enter the wick. You definitely don’t want either of these things to happen so we simply cannot recommend freezing your candles.
Can Candles Be Frozen?
Ultimately candles can be frozen but we simply cannot recommend it. While some people recommend throwing in salt to the wax to help avoid cracking, you still have to deal with the moisturizing effect that freezing is going to have on the wick.
Further reason to avoid freezing candles is if your candle is scented. Scented candles rely on burning oils which present throughout the wax and freezing the candles can push these oils out of the wax.
The only time that you should consider freezing candles if when you are trying to clean the glass housing them. In that scenario ONLY is freezing going to be a good idea, since you can chip out the cracked and frozen wax and then clean your glass thoroughly afterwards.
As far as extending your candle life with freezing, the facts we’ve shared with you today do not support it.
As you can see, the facts simply do not support the rumor. While freezing your candle might get you a little extra performance if you get lucky, more likely it’s going to result in a cracked candle that you’ll probably have to keep relighting or simply wait for a thaw and hope for the best.
Freezing your candles is a good way to get them cracked, because wax and cold are a poor combination. Aside from the wax itself, you could saturate your wick with unwelcome moisture and find that now it won’t even burn at all! With scented candles, you’ll just be moving the oil.
A little salt can make a difference but beyond this, just be sure to keep your wick well-trimmed and your burning conditions optimal and try to enjoy your candle simply burning at the expected rate. It it’s well-made then you’re still getting a lot of hours out of it and a balanced burn is better than a hack that might just crack your candles!