Can Bath And Body Works Candles Expire?

Bath & Body Works is one of the most popular candle brands in the United States, with annual sales totaling over $1 billion according to Statista. Their wide variety of scents and affordable prices has made them a staple in many American households.

While the candles are meant to provide an enjoyable experience through beautiful fragrance, changes over time can impact scent, appearance, and burn performance. This leads many candle lovers to wonder – can Bath & Body Works candles expire?

When determining if a candle is past its prime, factors like scent fading or altering, wax appearance changing, and issues with burn can all be signs it may be time to retire that candle. Properly understanding shelf life and storage can help candles last as long as possible.

Do Candles Expire?

Candles can technically expire because the ingredients used to create them – wax, fragrance oils and wicks – degrade over time. The oils and waxes start breaking down, causing the candle’s scent and appearance to change. The wicks may become brittle or develop fungus over long periods of time.

There is no definitive shelf life or expiration date for candles. But like other products, the quality and burn performance will diminish with age. Some experts say that most standard candles last 1-2 years before they “expire”. But luxury or high-quality candles may retain their scent and performance for up to 5 years if stored properly.

According to one source, “Wax is porous, so the fragrant essential oils threaded through it gradually evaporate. The wick becomes dry and stiff. Heat and light also speed up the expiration process.” (Martha Stewart)

Bath & Body Works Candle Ingredients

Bath and Body Works candles typically list their ingredients, which may include a blend of wax. Common types of wax used in their candles include paraffin, soy wax, vegetable wax, and palm wax1. Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, while soy, vegetable, and palm waxes come from renewable plant sources.

The quality of the fragrance oils used also impacts Bath & Body Works candle performance. Their fragrances tend to be strong and long-lasting. Bath & Body Works claims to use a complex blend of fragrance oils in their candles rather than synthetic fragrance alone.

Many Bath & Body Works candles feature a cotton wick rather than a wood wick. Cotton wicks are thought to provide a cleaner, more even burn compared to wood wicks. Wood wicks make a crackling sound when burned.

Scent Changes Over Time

Fragrance oils will fade and evaporate over time ( The rate at which fragrance fades depends on how the candle is stored. Heat, light, and air exposure will cause fragrance oils to evaporate more quickly. Keeping candles stored properly will help preserve the scent. But even with ideal storage conditions, fragrance oils will slowly evaporate from the wax.

As the volatile fragrance compounds evaporate, the scent throw will diminish. The remaining heavier fragrance oils change the scent profile. Top notes evaporate first, leaving mainly middle and base notes. This transforms the original scent into something more one-dimensional. Over time, the candle may smell flat or have almost no throw at all.

as bath & body works candle scents fade over time, the lighter top notes evaporate first, leaving heavier middle and base notes.

Appearance Changes

Over time, the appearance of Bath & Body Works candles can change as the candle ages.

One sign of aging is dust accumulation on the candle’s surface. Bath & Body Works candles often sit unused on shelves for extended periods. Dust particles floating in the air will slowly settle on the candle, creating a dusty coating.

Another appearance change is possible frosting or a whitish film on the candle’s surface. This results from fragrance evaporation over time. The fragrant oils in the candle can turn white and crystalize on the surface as the scent fades. This fragrance evaporation is a normal part of the aging process.

Finally, after burning a candle multiple times, sooting or discoloration may appear. Soot refers to black carbon deposits that can accumulate on the candle and container. The candle wax can also discolor or darken from the burning process. These signs indicate the candle wax and wick have degraded over time.

Burn Performance

One of the key signs that a Bath & Body Works candle has expired is if it exhibits weak scent throw, sooting/tunneling issues, or difficulty staying lit while burning. As candles age, the fragrance oils can lose their potency, resulting in a diminished scent when burning. This is especially true if the candle has been stored for a long time or stored improperly in a hot environment that accelerates the fading of the oils. Even soy wax candles are prone to this issue over time.

Expired candles may also struggle to burn evenly, resulting in sooting, where black smoke stains appear on the sides of the jar, or tunneling, where a hole forms in the center of the wax pool as it burns. This happens as the wax loses its ability to melt and pool out smoothly. Older wax can become too stiff to liquify properly. The wicks may have also become brittle over time, impacting their burn performance. Difficulty staying lit can be frustrating when burning an expired candle.

To avoid burn issues with aging Bath & Body Works candles, aim to burn them within 1-2 years of purchase if stored properly. Check that candles still have good scent throw when burning before gifting or displaying very old unused candles. Proper wick trimming can help, but weak throw is a sign of expiration.

Shelf Life

Properly stored Bath & Body Works candles have a shelf life of around 2-3 years, according to multiple Reddit users’ experiences storing the candles long-term [1]. The shelf life assumes the candles are kept in a cool, dry place away from heat, light, and humidity.

Exposing Bath & Body Works candles to heat and light can shorten their shelf life. The wax and fragrance oils can break down more quickly at higher temperatures. Similarly, humidity can affect the fragrance and performance. Storing candles in a hot, humid environment like an attic or damp basement is not recommended.

Proper Storage

Properly storing Bath & Body Works candles is crucial for maintaining scent and extending shelf life. The number one rule is to keep candles in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or closet. According to home experts, the ideal storage temperature is between 50-80°F. Storing candles in places that get too hot or too cold can negatively impact the fragrance and wax over time.1

It’s also important to keep the lid on the candle when not in use. This prevents dust and other particles from getting into the wax. Leaving the lid off can also allow the scent to dissipate faster. Tightly sealing the candle by always replacing the lid helps lock in the fragrance.2

While some people think putting candles in the refrigerator can prolong shelf life, experts actually advise against this. The cold temperature can cause condensation inside the container once the candle is taken out. This moisture can promote bacterial growth and affect the wax structure over time.3 The ideal storage place is a cabinet or closet away from extreme temperatures.

When to Toss

There are some telltale signs that indicate when a Bath & Body Works candle is past its prime and should be discarded:

The scent has faded or changed significantly. Candle scents diminish over time due to the evaporation of essential oils and fragrance. If you can no longer detect the intended scent, it’s a sign the candle is too old to enjoy or gift (source:

The wax appearance has altered. Look for signs of crystallization, sweating, frosting, or oxidation darkening the wax. This indicates the fragrance and structural integrity is breaking down (source:

The candle doesn’t burn properly. Old candles may develop uneven melt pools, become prone to tunneling, smoke excessively, or have weak scent throw. This makes for an unpleasant and potentially dangerous burning experience as the candle nears the end of its lifespan.

For safety, discard candles once the wax is nearly depleted. Burning a candle to the very bottom risks breaking the jar and poses a fire hazard. It’s recommended to stop burning within 1⁄2 inch of the bottom (source:

Additionally, properly dispose of candles that are very old (5+ years), even if they appear unused. The fragrance oils can morph into unpleasant or even toxic compounds over time. Use caution and discard any candle that emits a rancid, cigarette-like, or strange medicinal smell when first burned.


In summary, several factors can cause Bath & Body Works candles to expire over time including:

  • The scent oils breaking down and the fragrance fading or changing
  • The appearance of the wax changing as it absorbs scents from the air
  • The wicks becoming brittle and affecting burn performance

To maximize the shelf life of your candles, store them properly by keeping them in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Consider storing them with the lids on which can help protect the fragrance oils. Also be sure to burn your candles from time to time, which can help preserve the scent and condition of the wax.

While Bath & Body Works candles can eventually expire due to natural breakdown of ingredients over time, their shelf life can vary quite a bit. With proper storage and occasional use, most should last upwards of 2-3 years. But once you notice changes in scent, appearance, or performance, it’s a sign your candle’s time is up. When in doubt, remember it’s better to toss an expired candle rather than risk issues like poor scent throw or impaired burn safety.

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