What to do with candles in a heatwave – expert advice to stop them melting

In a heatwave, you'll see your candle sweating and even melting. I spoke to experts for their top tips on what to do with candles as temperatures soar outside

What to do with candles in a heatwave: a cluster of candles on a table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Candles are a staple of a comfortable and calm interior. However, in this summer's scorching heatwaves, looking after your candles isn't easy. If your candles are sweating, don't worry, and if you're keeping your candles in the refrigerator, you need to take them out.

Some of the best candles on the market contain coconut wax, soy wax, and other materials which will melt in the summer heat. As a result, your favorite candles might melt, sweat, or begin to look sticky.

There are simple ways to care for your candles and even ways in which these candles can help you to beat the heat. Taking your mint-scented candles out of the cupboards and keeping them in your house might be one of the easiest ways to keep cool without spending lots of money.

I've asked experts what you can do with candles in a heatwave. They gave me tips on how to keep your favorite candles in top condition as well as have them release soft scents into your house, offering relief and respite in the face of this oppressive heat.

How to maintain candles in a heatwave

A range of candles in different vessels

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean you can’t burn your candles. In a heatwave, I would recommend trimming the wick, ideally with wick trimmers and always letting your candle melt evenly and properly.

Owner of Scented Designs, Kate De Palma, recommends storing your candle in ‘a cool, dark place, but if you don't have one of these, think about a space where the temperature is consistent. If the temperature is always fluctuating, the wax might expand and contract, burning the wick or cracking your container’. 

This means that you're best to avoid sunny spots and any places which are directly in sunlight. A cupboard or shaded space will likely make the best spot.

Candle Expert
kate de palma
Candle Expert
Kate De Palma

Kate is the owner of Scented Designs, a female-run candle company which has been featured in Homes & Gardens; Forbes; and many other publications. She oversees everything to do with candles, so is an expert on all conditions, especially heatwaves.

candles outside

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lots of people try to keep their candles in the refrigerator during a heatwave. Logically, this seems like a good idea, because it will stop your candle from melting. However, Birdie Hansen from the Effing Candle Co, says that ‘doing so can cause the wax to crack and separate from the wick, making it dangerous to burn’. 

Instead, she suggests keeping your candles in a cool location. She says, ‘candles are unlikely to melt in the heat as a result of insulation in their cardboard shipping box. We’ve only had two candles melt in transit in three years of production and that’s when it was 112℉ outside’. 

If you still have the original box, place your candle back inside it and keep it in a cool part of the house.

Birdie also says that people think that their candle is better near drafts in the hot weather. However, if your lit candle is near a strong air flow, it’s a fire risk. 

She says, ‘if the candle is dancing, there’s a draft. Blow your candle out, wait for the wax to cool, and move it to a different location. I use candle lamps in the summer months, so I get all the fragrance without any of the flame’. 

Your candles will also last longer in a candle lamp, so you’ll be able to savor the scent. Here are some of the best models on the market:

Candle Expert
Birdie Hansen
Candle Expert
Birdie Hansen

Birdie is the CEO and founder of Effing Candle Co. Birdie has extensive experience with making and transporting her candles, often in extreme temperatures, so when it comes to heatwaves, she has all the answers.

Where to put your candles in a heatwave

A table with The White Company Candles on

(Image credit: The White Company)

If you want to display your candles, you can keep them on your mantel, or in a place that is reasonable for the weather conditions (not somewhere hot or in direct sunlight).

The beauty of having your candles on display is that you'll benefit from its scent without having to light it. The smell of an unlit candle is called the 'cold throw'. Kate, owner of Scented Designs, recommends embracing the cold throw of your candle.

She says, ‘in hot weather the thought of lighting a candle isn't enticing, but you can enjoy a scented candle without burning it. Make sure that your candle is high-quality with a high fragrance load and strong throw. If you’re in doubt, ask your favorite candlemaker for recommendations’. 

Bigger candles with green and fresh scent notes will be stronger and more refreshing. Different types and sizes will be better suited to different areas. You can use smaller candles in more compact spaces.

I wouldn't let hot weather stop you from taking candles outside in the evening. They're excellent mood-setters and you they will only add ambience to your outdoor events. If you place your candle in a lantern, it will be well-protected from the heat too. Make sure that you always watch them and position them responsibly, away from dry areas and fire hazards though.

Here are some of my favorite lanterns, perfect for taking outside:

Which candles should I use in a heatwave?

Na Nin Arugula Mint Candle

(Image credit: Future)

A heatwave shouldn’t stop your from enjoying candles. In fact, cooling scents like peppermint and pine or aquatic or ozonic fragrance families could help your brain to subconsciously feel cooler. 

There are plenty of candles that can tick these boxes, some are even specially designed for heat or the outdoors. These are some of the best, fresh candles on the market:


How do you store candles in hot weather?

First, don't keep them in the refrigerator. This can cause them to crack and unevenly cool. Store your candle somewhere cool, ideally out of direct sunlight. In a heatwave, everywhere feels hot, so I would recommend finding somewhere with a stable temperature. That way your candle composition will remain consistent.

Do candles melt in hot weather?

Depending on the wax composition, you might find that your candle has melted. Soy candles melt around 104 degrees and others will melt at 130. If you've bought a premium candle, which contains coconut oils, it might melt at 78 degrees. However, coconut is often part of a wax blend, so it won't melt immediately.

How do I stop my candle from melting?

As I have mentioned, do not keep your candle in the refrigerator. Storing it in a cool dark place should be enough. If you still have the box that you bought it in, this is one of the best places to keep it. Otherwise, you could try wrapping it in foil.

In a heatwave, before anything else, try to create the best conditions for your candles. Keep them at a stable temperature in a space that isn't too windy. I probably wouldn't light them, because taking the lid off a jar, or exposing your wax to the air, will do enough to release a gentle scent. If you want some ambience in the evening, you can place your candle in a lantern and enjoy the warm glow. If you do one thing in this heatwave, aside from investing in heatwave essentials, you should buy a mint candle: it's instantly cooling.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.