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Opps! I left my candles in the car - will they melt?

Posted by Jessica Ware on

As a long term candle maker, I have been around and tested many different scenarios that candles can get into.  Also, living in the Pilbara in Western Australia, where it is permanently summer, I had to learn a few tricks to keep the candles I make from melting.

Most soy candles will melt in temperatures above 40 C / 104 F.  Other types of candle waxes will melt in temperatures above 55 C / 130 F.  It further depends on the style of candle and the type of wax that the candle is made from.

Will melting a candle completely ruin it? Temperature in an enclosed space, such as a vehicle, will have a direct effect on your candles but there are different steps you can take to protect your candles. 

 

How temperature can affect your candles

Depending upon your climate, extreme heat and cold will impact your candles.

Candles left in a hot climate for any extended period of time will most likely cause some sort of damage to them.  The extent of the damage is going to be relative to the type of wax the candle is made out of and how long the candle is left in the hot environment and of course how hot the temperature is.  

The worst that could happen is that candle could melt and spill out of its container.  Or if it is a pillar candle, melt in the packaging it is in. 

Other damages that can happen is the candle may "sweat" where the fragrance oil separates from the wax and pools on the top of the candle where it is visible.  This is a problem because it then becomes a fire hazard if lit as is.  The fragrance oil is flammable on its own when exposed to a make flame from a match or a lighter.

Conversely, leaving candles in a cold car will also affect them.  If the candle is in a glass jar, or metal tin and the wax gets too cold, it will shrink and pull away from the container.  Taper and pillar styled candles may break in the cold climate. 

Storing your candles inside at a nice 23 C / 73 F in a place out of direct sunlight is the best way to make them last!

 

Is my candle ruined if it melts?

It depends on the type of candle and how it is sitting.  If it is a pillar candle or a thin taper candle and it melts in the car, then yes most likely it will be ruined, but all situations will differ. 

If it is a container candle, that has melted in the car and the candle is sitting perfectly upright, then no, the candle is most likely not ruined. It just needs to be placed on a flat surface in a cooler environment to reset and harden again.  Making sure the wick is centered and the wax does not spill everywhere in the process of moving it will be your biggest challenge.  You can use a clothes peg attached to a wooden skewer to help center the wick again as the candle cools.  See photo below for a demonstration of this.

Knowing the wax type, and using a few tricks that i have listed below, will help you know if having your candles in a hot place, like a car is okay or not.

 

Tips for Shipping

  • Choose the priority / express shipping option 
    • Get your package to your customer or loved one as fast as possible, this eliminates the chance of the candle sitting in hot delivery vehicles or warehouses for long periods of time - thus reducing the chance of melting and/or damages/breakages.
  • Use ice packs and insulated foil bags
    • Wrap the candle in a protective packaging material of your choice, (brown paper, bubble wrap, etc.) add an ice pack and then put both the candle and the ice pack into am insulted foil bag.
    • For extra peace of mind you can also add some absorbent silica packs or something similar to absorb any moisture that comes from the ice pack melting.
    • Bous Tip: If you are using ice packs and foil bags to ship your candles in for your business, there will be extra costs that will need to be incorporated into your shipping expenses.

    Choose a different type of wax

    The most proactive thing that you can do to prevent your candles from melting in the car or during shipping is to choose a wax with a high melt temperature. 

    One of the most popular waxes to make candles with is Golden Wax 464 which is a natural soy wax.  It is also one of the softest and has the lowest melting point.  This means that candles made with 464 will melt the soonest - as soon as the temperature reaches around 45°C the candle will start to melt.  An easy fix for this is to package your candle with an ice pack - see the paragraph below for more information on this.

    What I like to do with my soy candles is to change the wax completely.  There are a few ways you can do this:

    • You can choose an additive to add to your wax to harden it.  A few options are palm steric acid or a universal additive.  This will increase the temperature at which the wax melts with.  
    • Another option is to simply choose a wax with a higher temperature melting point.  Instead of choosing soy wax or coconut wax which both have low melt temperatures, choose a different wax to use.  Palm, paraffin or beeswax all can withstand higher temperatures before the wax melts.
    • If you really want to use a softer wax like soy, coconut, apricot etc, consider adding another wax to it to create a blend.  You could experiment with 30% bees wax and 70% soy wax - this would harder the candle wax and decrease the chances of your candle melting. 

     

    Approximate Melt Temperatures for Waxes

    The chart below displays approximate temperatures that different waxes melts at.  You can use this to compare the hottest outside or inside temperatures that your candles will be traveling in and to.  

     

     Wax Type Melting Temperature in °C Melting Temperature in °F
    Golden Wax 464 (soy) 46 - 49 °C 114 - 120 °F
    Golden Wax 444 (soy) 48 - 51 °C 118 - 123 °F
    Golden Wax 415 (soy) 49 - 52 °C 120 - 125 °F
    Golden Wax 416 (soy) 54 - 57 °C 129 - 135 °F
    Carnauba Wax 82 - 86 °C 180 - 187 °F

    Palm Wax   (Container or Pillar)

    55 °C 130 °F
    Bees Wax 62 - 66 °C 144 - 150 °F
    Paraffin Wax 60 - 62 °C 140 - 143 °F

     

     You can also use this chart for ideas for different wax types and try to experiment with your own wax blends.  Have fun with your candle creations and don't be afraid to try new things to combat the heat!

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