I recently purchased a box of pillarcandles for my projects. With the heatof the summer upon us, I was wondering if the candles would melt if I left themin my car.

I know that the temperature inside ofa car can get very high in the summer. We hear all about it on the news during those heat waves.

Plus, with my recent shoppingexperience, I wondered if I had left the candles in my car, would they havemelted? How long would the candles haveto sit in my car, before they started melting? 

I did some online research to findout.

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Will candles melt in a hot car? Yes, candles can melt in a hot car, buthow long it takes depends on the type of candle wax and the temperature insidethe vehicle. Wax melts between 99-145 °F and the temperature inside of a vehicle can be 130-170 °F. A candle left in ahot car can melt within 25 minutes to 2 hours.

How long it takes a candle to melt in a hot car depends on a variety of factors, with candle wax type and vehicle temperature only being two.

Melting Temperatures of Different Types of Candle Wax

Different waxes melt at different temperatures. Paraffin wax has the lowest melting pointtemperature between 99-130 °F and beeswax hasthe highest melting point temperature at 145 °F. Soy wax is somewhere in the middle with amelting point temperature of 120 °F.

Therefore, if you leave a paraffin wax candle in your car ona hot summer day, it won’t take long for it to melt into a puddle of goo. However, if you have a beeswax candle, youmay be able to save the candle from a melty demise.

One important point to note is that there is low melting paraffin wax and high melting point paraffin wax. So, depending on which type of paraffin wax the candle is made of, it may not take long for the candle to start melting.

The low melting paraffin wax has a melting point typically less than 130 °F and the high melting point paraffin wax typically has a melting point between 130-154 °F.

If you would like to see the type of paraffin pillar candles I buy and the other types of waxes I use to create my candles, you can check out my recommended products page.

How Hot It Gets in a Car and the Factors that Influence Temperature

The temperature inside a vehicle can get up to 130-170 °F, when the airtemperature outside is 80-100 °F.

There are a variety of factors to consider determining howquickly a car will heat up and a candle will melt. The temperature inside the vehicle is, of course,the primary factor for how quickly a candle will melt. The inside temperature is most dependent onthe outside temperature, but there are other factors at play that can influencethe temperature inside a vehicle.

The temperature inside the car also depends on where the caris parked. If the car is parked indirect sunlight, the car will heat up much more quickly. If the car is parked in shade, the car will takelonger to heat up.

Also, whether the windows on the car are tinted or not will determinehow quickly a car will heat up. Tintedwindows are designed to either reflect or absorb UV light, which helps to preventthe temperature inside of the car from skyrocketing.

The color of the interior of the vehicle will also play arole in the temperature variant. Darkvs. light dashboard, seats, etc. will impact how quickly the car heats up. Light colors, especially white, reflectlight. Dark colors, especially black,absorb all light. Therefore, a darkdashboard or seat will heat up more quickly than a light colored one. A black dashboard can heat up to 180-200 °F.

These objects heat the adjacent air by conduction andconvection. Conduction describes how themolecules of a solid object move faster when heated. Convection occurs in fluids (such as air) bythe motion of the molecules. An increasein temperature causes molecules to move faster.

One last determining factor of vehicle temperature is if thereis a refractory shade placed behind the windshield. This shade would help reflect the heat andslow the warming of air within the vehicle.

Graph Showing the Rate of Temperature Increase Inside of a Vehicle Based on Outside Temperature


Source: https://www.weather.gov/lsx/excessiveheat-automobiles

One factor that does not seem to matter, or has minimalimpact, is whether the windows are cracked, or rolled down an inch or so. It appears whether the windows are rolled allthe way up or cracked open a bit has minimal impact on the rising temperature.

Graph Showing the Rate of Temperature Increase Inside of a Vehicle Based on Closed Vs. Cracked Windows


Source: https://www.weather.gov/lsx/excessiveheat-automobiles

How Long Would It Take For a Candle To Start Melting

There have been times when Ipurchased candles and left them in my car to continue my shopping. I recently paid a visit to an outlet mallshopping center and purchased a couple of candles I ordered on-line. After I went to pick them up, I dropped themoff in my car, and decided to continue shopping.

Not only does melt rate depend on the candle wax type and thetemperature inside the vehicle, but the size and type of the candle will alsobe a factor. For example, a small,votive candle, will melt much more quickly than a 4×9 inch pillar candle. Also, whether it is a tealight candle vs. apillar candle, will determine how quickly the candle will melt.

It could only take 25 minutes for a paraffin wax candle to startmelting, because the temperature inside the car could be 100 °Fwhen the outside temperature is only 73 °F.

Another factor that determines how quickly a candle wouldmelt in a hot car would be the packaging of the candle. What was it packed in? Plastic, wax paper, cardboard box, etc.

If your candle is wrapped in plastic, determining if thecandle will melt more quickly because of its packaging, depends on the type ofplastic wrap. Some thinner plastic wrap wouldprobably melt easily. Other types of thickerplastic would withstand higher temperatures.

Some plastic wrap is designed to withstand high heat, up to212 °F, which is the boilingpoint of water. Certain kinds of plasticwrap, especially the type used for cooking, will not melt unless it gets to220-250 °F.

Therefore, it is safe to say that if you wrap a candle in kitchenplastic wrap, you don’t have to worry about it heating up the candle andmelting it. The plastic melting due tothe hot temperature of the car is not likely to happen.

Wax paper has a coating which makes it moisture-resistant,but wax paper is not heat-resistant. The wax coating, made of wax, will meltjust like the candle. Therefore, youwill end up with an extra layer or covering of wax on your candle, if yourcandle is packaged or wrapped in wax paper.

Cardboard is a great insulator. Egg cartons work great to store small votives or tealights. Cardboard will help keep your candles cool and prevent melting.

How to Increase the Chances of a Candle Surviving in a Hot Car

There are some additives that can be added to a candle toprotect them from the damaging rays of the sun. Ultraviolet Light Absorbers (UVLA’s) are additives, which can reducefading. A good, humorous analogy I foundwas that UVLA’s are like “sunscreen for your candles.”

Stearic acid is another additive that can increase themelting point of lower melt point waxes, such as paraffin and soy. The melting point of stearic acid is 150 °F. There are two types of stearic acid, eachspecific for paraffin vs. soy wax.

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Micro 180 is another additive that can increase firmness ofthe candle, which would work particularly well during those hot summer days.

Additives affect the burn properties of the candle. Although all of these additives are great solutions to lowering the possibilities of candles from melting in a hot car, it is important to note that the more additives to put into your candle, the more it will affect color, scent throw, and how the candle burns.

How to Wrap, Package, and Store a Candle So it is Less Likely to Melt

The best storage advice is to keep candles in a cool placeor air-tight container out of direct sunlight or away from harsh light. Wrapping a candle in a cool package ormaterial that does not absorb heat will help to decrease the chances of acandle melting in your car.

Based on my previous research, it sounds like wrapping your candle in a kitchen plastic wrap, used for cooking, and placing it into a cardboard box is the best option to help keep the candle cool, keep it from melting, and protect it from other wax, candles, or materials melting onto it.

If a candle does melt in your car, one positive or upside of this all is that your car is going to smell nice!