Candles are a popular home decor item that can lend a cozy and inviting aroma to any room. However, like any product, candles require proper storage and care to ensure they maintain quality and burn efficiently. Follow these tips on how to store candles to get the most out of your candle collection.
Choose the Right Storage Location
The first rule of thumb when storing candles is keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct light sources. Fluctuations in temperature can cause wax to soften and lose its shape. Meanwhile, moisture can damage wicks and encourage candle sweating where oils leak through the outside of the candle. Aim for storage temperatures between 60-75°F. Dry areas like a cupboard or closet are ideal. Avoid placing candles near heating/cooling vents, radiators, stoves, windows, or anywhere they might experience temperature swings.
If you want to display candles in your home before burning, avoid spots that receive direct sunlight as this can cause fading of candle dyes. sunlight can also lead to warping or partial melting. Locations like foyers, table centers, or shelving away from appliances/vents make good display spaces. Just be sure to move candles to a cooler, darker location for long-term storage between burns.
Use Proper Containers
The container you store candles in is almost as important as the storage location itself. Glass, metal, and some ceramic containers with tight lids work best at maintaining freshness. Always extinguish candles fully before storage, as trapped heat and oxygen can lead to tunneling where the center burns faster than the edges. Covering helps preserve fragrance oils and prevent dust buildup on wax.
Avoid plastic bags or plastic containers, as these can trap moisture and oils may interact with the plastic. Place candles gently into storage containers, avoiding pressure or friction that could loosen wicks or crack jars. Wrap especially fragile candles individually in paper or bubble wrap.
For larger candle collections, compartmentalized boxes help keep individual candles from bumping into each other during storage. Just be sure compartments are not airtight, as candles still require ventilation even when covered.
Organize by Season or Scent
Like clothing or holiday decorations, candles often have seasonal or thematic purposes. Organize your candle collection by season, occasion, or scent type to make retrieving and repurposing candles easier when the time comes.
Group spring and summer scents like fruit, floral, and beachy coconut candles together. Warm fall scents like apple pie, pumpkin, and cinnamon align well. Holiday scents can be stored based on the calendar season or occasion, keeping winter holiday candles separate from generic floral or fruit scents that may work year-round.
You can also group candles by scent profile – categorizing florals, bakery scents, nature scents, or beverage scents together for easy mixing and matching. Even arranging candles by color can help create a coordinated aesthetic when displayed together.
Carefully Store Unused Candles
Take extra care when storing unused candles to prevent wasting wax that never gets burned. Keeping wicks trimmed to 1⁄4 inch and storing upright minimizes bend that could affect the burn path later. Position lids loosely over jars, as air-tight containers are problematic for unused wax.
Unused pillar candle stubs can be saved by melting and combining wax from multiple candles into a single new one. Just avoid mixing wax types, as different wax melting points may lead to performance issues. Fragrances also get muddied when combining scents. Store handmade candle stubs in silicone molds or upright with wax paper to minimize mess.
When kept upright, unburned candle wick should not bend over for storage. Laying candles on their side can cause wick displacement and uneven burning later. Always keep wicks trimmed and straight prior to storage for unused portions.
Inspect Candles Before Reusing
Before burning a stored candle, inspect it carefully. Check for any signs of sweating, mold growth, or cracks in wax. Wicks may dry out over time, so trim wicks back to 1⁄4 inch for optimal performance. Ensure wicks are still centered and upright.
Burn candles in small intervals the first time to ensure even wax pooling and minimize issues like tunneling. Extinguish candles if the wax pool reaches the edges and allow to fully harden before relighting. Washing candle containers with mild soap and water prior to reuse can also help enhance scent throw.
Consider Expiration Dates
Like food items, candles technically have a shelf life before ingredients lose potency. However, traditional candles can often last up to two years if stored properly in cool, dry conditions. Expiration depends on the candle wax type, scent, and storage factors.
Soy-based wax candles tend to have a shorter 1-2 year shelf life. Paraffin wax traditionally lasts over 2 years before scent fades. Beeswax candles may last the longest at 2-5 years or more. Monitor candle odor prior to burning – if scents smell faded or rancid, it’s best to replace them. Also watch for changes like sweating, crystallization, or mold growth that signal expiration.
Keeping wicks trimmed and jars clean enhances longevity. Avoid storing candles anywhere with moisture, heat, or direct light. Use your senses to check for loss of fragrance, texture changes, or soot development around wicks indicating it may be time to replace a candle.
Rotate Candle Stock
To maximize enjoyment of your candle collection over time, make a habit of rotating stock so you burn through products before degradation occurs. Burn older candles first while moving newly purchased ones to the back of your storage area. Practicing first-in, first-out inventory management ensures you use candles at their peak quality.
Group candles by season or occasion so you can bring out specific scents at the ideal times each year. Always inspect aged candles for signs of decline like lost scent, weeping, or wick damage before burning, and discard expired products. Aim to use up and replenish your candle supply about every 1-2 years for best results.
Keep Wicks Trimmed
As a rule of thumb when storing candles, make sure all wicks are trimmed to around 1⁄4 inch before putting away. Wicks left too long can bend over during storage. This leads to uneven burning and wasted wax.
Always use a dedicated candle wick trimmer, never scissors which can fray wicks. Trim wicks just above the wax pool, taking care not to cut into the actual wax. This prevents excess mushrooming of wicks when burned.
For containers with multiple wicks, trim wicks close together at the same height for even burning. Wicks may need occasional re-trimming after burning if mushrooming occurs. But starting with trimmed wicks ensures successful storage.
Especially for scented candles, cleaning the candle jar before storage can maximize aroma throw when burned. Use mild dish soap and water to clean any residue, dirt, or oil on the inside of jars. Dry thoroughly before replacing lids and storing.
You can also gently wipe down the surface of candles with a dry microfiber cloth to remove accumulated dust or debris. Avoid submerging pillar candles in water or harsh cleaners. Simply use a soft cloth to polish the wax surface before storage or burning.
When preparing previously burned candles for reuse, consider a solvent like baking soda and vinegar to remove remaining wax residue or oil stains from jar interiors. This removes any burnt remnants so the scent comes through stronger next time.
Protect Delicate Candles
Fragile candles, antique candles, or those with ornate detailing require extra protection during storage. Wrap them individually in soft cloth or tissue paper so decorations don’t get scratched. Use bubble wrap around the base if needed.
Store more delicate candles in compartments apart from sturdier jar or pillar candles. You can place cotton balls, foam, or crumpled paper between candles in a box to prevent harsh jostling or friction. If storing candles laying horizontally, cushion both the bottom and lid surface.
Never stack boxed candles directly on top of each other, as the weight can cause breakage. Light pillar candles may also require support in storage to stay upright and avoid bending. Take care to protect fragile candle accessories like holders or snuffers too.
Monitor for Signs of Problems
Occasionally inspect stored candles, especially during shifts between seasons if they sit unused for long periods. Check that wicks remain straight and centered. Watch for signs like wet rings on jars indicating sweating, white spots suggesting mold growth, or slumping pillars that lost structural integrity.
If candles start showing concerning changes, it’s safest to discard and replace them. Sweating or mold mean moisture got into the container. Misshapen wax or layed over wicks signal improper storage. Noticeable lack of scent when first burning indicates expired oils. Nip storage issues in the bud early on for best results.
Proper candle storage takes some attention, but carefully monitoring conditions and containers will ensure your candles burn beautifully and safely each time you light them. Follow these guidelines for storing candle collections so you can enjoy your favorite scents for years to come. What fragrance are you excited to unpack next? With the right storage, your candle collection can last nearly indefinitely, filling your space with welcoming ambiance at the strike of a match.