Can Candles Get Moldy? Find Out Here!

Updated on December 9, 2022

Table of Contents

Can Candles Mold?

Candles are wonderful gifts for any occasion. However, if you give a candle away without cleaning it properly, you may end up with a sticky mess on your hands.

You might think that unlit candles won't get moldy, but they can. And once they start growing mold, you'll have a hard time getting rid of it.

Can Candles Mold

Mold grows on anything moist, including candles. So, if you leave an unlit candle sitting around for a long time, it's bound to grow mold. The short answer is that some candle types, like paraffin candles, can practically never burn out when stored properly.

Once it starts growing mold, you'll find yourself trying to clean it off every day. But, you'll only make matters worse. Instead of removing the mold, you'll spread it around.

To avoid this problem, keep your unlit candles stored in a cool place where they won't get damp. Also, never leave a candle unattended for extended periods of time.

If you must leave it somewhere else, cover it with a glass jar or plastic bag to prevent moisture from entering the container. Some people may discover that the wick is challenging to light or soon goes out after having a beautiful luxury candle on its shelf for a few years.

Why Don't Candles Mold?

Candles mold easily if they sit in direct sunlight. However, most homes don't have direct sunlight, so you won't find any candle molding in your house.

You may notice that your candle wax starts to look cloudy after sitting in your cupboard for a couple of weeks. This is perfectly normal.

However, if you leave your candles in direct sunlight for longer periods of time, they will start to mold. So, keep your candles away from direct sunlight and store them in a cool place where they won't get damp.

Why Don't Candles Mold?

Is It Possible For Candle Wax To Go Bad?

Wax drips can cause damage to floors and furniture. You should clean up any wax spills immediately. Also, keep candles away from children and pets.

Candle wax does not necessarily go bad. Instead, it becomes rancid.

Rancidity occurs when the oil in the wax breaks down and turns into a sticky substance. This makes the wax harden and become brittle.

To prevent wax from becoming rancid, store your candles in a cool place. Keep them out of heat sources and the sun's direct rays. Store them upright in glass jars or vases. Avoid storing them near foods or beverages.

Why Do Candles Expire?

Candles expire because wax dries out. Wax dries out because it becomes brittle due to heat. Heat causes the wax to become brittle because it breaks down into smaller molecules.

Smaller molecules mean less space between atoms, which means less room for water molecules. Water molecules expand when heated, causing the candle to shrink.

As the candle shrinks, its surface area increases, allowing more oxygen to enter the candle. Oxygen reacts with the wick, causing it to burn faster.

Burning faster makes the candle hotter, which causes the wax to break down further. Eventually, the candle burns completely dry.


To prevent wax from becoming moldy, keep your candle away from moisture. Avoid using candles near windows, doorways, sinks, toilets, and showers. Also, avoid placing candles directly on hard surfaces, such as tables, counters, and floors. Instead, place them on soft surfaces, such as rugs, pillows, and blankets.


Candle dye is a great way to add color to your candle wax without using any chemicals. You simply dip the wick into the dye solution and let it dry. Once dried, the dye sticks to the wick and gives off a beautiful shade of color.

Fragrance oils

Candles come in a variety of scents, including fragrant ones. Fragrance oils are used to add scent over time to candles.

These oils are made from natural ingredients, such as essential oils, plant extracts, and resins. Some fragrance oils are synthetic, meaning that they were created using chemical processes.

How Long Do Candles Last Before They Go Bad?

Candles are great for lighting homes and businesses during the day. However, if left unattended, they can quickly become unsightly and smell terrible.

Keep your candles away from heat sources. Heat causes the wax to melt faster, making it easier for bacteria to grow. Also, avoid storing candles near windows or doors where moisture may enter the container.

Petroleum wax, also known as paraffin wax, has a long shelf life. According to LaVanier, paraffin is inert, non-reactive, and very stable.

However, natural waxes, such as soy wax, have a tendency to degrade more quickly. Paraffin wax doesn't really have a life expectancy. On the other hand, if properly stored, paraffin and beeswax candles are more stable and can last virtually forever.

While we adore the way pristine white candle wax appears in a classy candle container, other candle companies color their wax to provide a distinctive feel and energy. Organic, vegetable-based waxes like soy and coconut are more likely to degrade over time.

How Long Do Candles Last Before They Go Bad?

Is It Possible To Get Sick From Candle Wax?

Bacteria can grow inside candle wax, causing it to smell bad and possibly cause sickness. You should never burn candles near food or drink since the heat from the flame can damage the surface of the container. Also, keep candles away from children and pets.

How Should Candles Be Stored?

Waxed candles should be stored upright in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Waxed candles should not be left unattended.

Wax drips can cause fires if they fall onto flammable materials. Soy candles should be kept upright in a cool dry location. Keep them away from heat sources and open flames. 

Typical Shelf Life Of Candles

Temperature plays a major role in determining the shelf life of candles, especially if they are left outside during hot weather. A candle that is kept outdoors during summer months may last only six months instead of its usual two-year lifespan.

Humidity levels also play a big part in determining the shelf life. If the environment where the candle is stored is very dry, the candle may not burn properly.

Typical Shelf Life Of Candles

Can You Reuse An Expired Candle?

That's why it's important to dispose of old candles properly. There are several options available to you, including recycling, composting, and disposing of them safely.

Recycling involves using them to heat water or cook food. Composting involves burying them in a pile where they decompose naturally. Finally, you can simply throw them away in a trash bin.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay - so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions :) (pun intended ;) )

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