Can Candles Expire? Will They Lose Their Scent?

Most products come with an expiration date and therefore it is only normal if you wonder whether the same is true for candles. Unlike food products, candles don’t come with an expiration date but does it mean that they don’t have one?

If you ever asked yourself, “Can candles expire?” then the short answer is that they don’t. However, they do lose their color and scent over time based on their type. This is not because of the candle as a whole but the oil and chemicals used in them.

Here we will be looking at the various factors that lead to candles losing their color and scent and how you can prolong their quality.

Can Candles Expire? Will They Lose Their Scent?

Candles don’t expire the way food products do but that doesn’t mean that they will retain the same quality forever. A scented candle that has gone bad will continue to burn but the scent will never be the same way it was.

Can Candles Expire Will They Lose Their Scent

So if you discover that the scent is changing, then it’s a good sign that the candle is starting to go bad. This is because the oils used in the candle that gives it the aroma can go bad over time.

The change in the scent will be accompanied by a change in the color or appearance of the candle. This occurs due to the dye used in the wax fading over time. While the primary purpose of a scented candle is its ability to produce a fragrant aroma, its looks also play an important part.

Fortunately, these issues mostly occur due to improper storage and so by taking a few calculated measures, you can prolong the effectiveness of scented candles.

Some candles may stop burning over time though but such cases are extremely rare and occur only if they were stored improperly for a long amount of time.

The longevity of a candle depends primarily on its type. Here are some of the commonly bought scented candles along with their longevity.

Beeswax Candles5+ Years
Soy Candles1.5 Years
Citronella Candles2 Years
Yankee Candles5 Years
  • Beeswax Candles – These are known for not only lasting longer than traditional candles but also for being all-natural. Unlike other candles, they also retain their scent for a longer amount of time. As long as they are stored properly, their aroma will be intact for many years.
  • Soy Candles – Similar to beeswax candles, these are also all-natural but don’t last as long. After a year or so, their aroma will start to degrade. If you take care of these candles and store them properly, you may be able to extend their freshness to up to a year and a half.
  • Citronella Candles – They are made out of various grasses and plants. These candles come with a fruity fragrance and are pretty effective as a bug repellant. They can last up to two years if you preserve them well.
  • Yankee Candles – Unlike the above candles, these are made from paraffin wax and therefore aren’t all-natural. However, they do last for up to five years without losing their scent.
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Why Do Candles Go Bad Over Time?

Direct and prolonged exposures to sunlight as well as improper storage are the two main reasons why candles end up losing their potency over time. The UV radiation from the sun causes a chemical reaction in the wax which leads to discoloration.

This reaction damages the raw materials used in the candle and slowly ends up spoiling it. Some additives can be added to the candle to reduce the effect of UV rays but it won’t be able to prevent any damage. Prolonged exposure to heat will also end up evaporating the essential oils in the candle.

Here is where proper storage comes in. If you store the scented candles in a sealed container in a cool and dry place, they will last longer. A sealed container will prevent heat or air from reacting with the oils and escaping into the environment.

Moreover, it will also ensure that dust and other pollutants don’t form on the wax allowing you to have a cleaner and safer burn.

How to Make Candles Last Longer

Here are some ways in which you can try to make your candles last as long as possible.

  • Proper Burn – There is a right way to light a candle for the first time and many wrong ways, especially if you want them to last long. The right way would be to light it and let it burn until the wax at the edges start to melt and then let the wax sit until it hardens. Otherwise, there won’t be any protective layer to prevent the scent from escaping.
  • Wick Length – If the wick is long, then the candle will burn a lot faster and therefore won’t last very long. If you love scented candles, then it would be a good idea to buy a wick trimmer to cut it whenever necessary. Generally, if the wick is longer than 15mm, then you need to make it shorter. An ideal length would be to keep it smaller than 10mm.
  • Storage – Storage plays a very important role in how long the candle will last. Never store them in a wet and humid place as your candles will not only have issues lighting up but will also start losing their potency very quickly.
  • No Direct Sunlight – While you should never store candles in a wet and humid place, you mustn’t keep them directly under sunlight either. Over time, the wax will start melting and therefore the candles won’t last long at all. The ideal place to store candles is a cool and dry place.
  • Burn Time – A candle can be kept lit for a maximum of five hours before it starts losing its potency. So after four and a half hours, extinguish it and let it cool down properly (for a few hours) before using it again.


By following the above tips, you should be able to ensure that your candles won’t get used up too quickly and make them last for as long as you can.

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