How Long Do You Leave Wax Melts Before Burning?

What Are Wax Melts?

Wax melts are aromatic blocks of soft wax infused with scented oils. When heated, they slowly melt to release their fragrance. They are made from soy wax or paraffin wax and contain concentrated scented oils.

Wax melts are different from candles in that they do not require a wick to evaporate the fragrance. They are also not used like candles. Instead of allowing the wax to pool around a wick, melts are placed in a wax warmer which gently heats them to diffuse the scent into the room.

How Do Wax Melts Work?

Wax melts release fragrance when warmed by heat. They do not require a wick like traditional candles. Instead, wax melts are placed in a wax warmer which gently heats the wax to release its scent. Electronic wax warmers have a light bulb that provides gentle warmth to melt the wax. There are also candle-style warmers that use a tealight candle to melt wax tarts or cubes placed in a dish above the candle.

Because wax melts do not have a wick and do not require a flame to release fragrance, they are safer than burning candles. The wax simply needs warmth from a light bulb or candle underneath to slowly melt the wax and emit its aroma into the surrounding space. No open flame comes into direct contact with the wax melt.

When to Add Wax Melts

The key with wax melts is patience. It’s important not to add wax melts to your warmer until the warmer plate or light bulb has warmed up sufficiently to begin melting the wax. Most wax warmer instructions recommend turning on your warmer and allowing it to heat for 5-10 minutes before adding wax melts.

Allowing your wax warmer to pre-heat helps ensure the wax melts completely and evenly. If you add solid wax melts to a cold plate, the wax will melt slowly and unevenly, reducing scent throw and potentially creating a fire hazard if wax pools unevenly.

Additionally, you should not blow out the candle or turn off the light bulb of your wax warmer until the wax has fully melted and liquid wax is visibly pooling on the warmer plate. Again, the key is allowing adequate time for the wax to warm up and fully melt. If the wax is still solid or semi-solid when you turn off your warmer, you run the risk of wax getting stuck on the plate, reducing subsequent scent throw.

How Long to Leave Wax Melts Before Burning

When using wax melts, it’s important to let them sit in the wax warmer for at least 1-2 hours before turning on the heat. This allows the fragrance oils to fully absorb into the wax so that they melt and diffuse properly. Rushing the process by turning on the warmer too soon can cause issues.

Leaving wax melts to sit before heating prevents the wax from overheating. If you immediately turn on an electric wax warmer after adding the wax, the oils stay on the surface rather than absorbing. This can make the wax smoke or burn since all the heat is going directly to the oils.

Allowing 1-2 hours for fragrance absorption ensures the wax fully saturates with the scent. Once the wax and oils blend together through this diffusion process, the wax is ready for gentle, even heating. Taking this time upfront prevents potential issues later and leads to the best wax melt experience.

Signs Wax is Ready

You’ll know your wax melts are ready to burn when the wax takes on a glossy sheen and consistency throughout the melt. At this point, the wax will be fully melted, with no visible pieces of unmelted wax remaining.

Additionally, properly melted wax should have little to no oil pooling or separation on the top. If you see a significant layer of oil on top of the melted wax, it likely needs more time to melt fully.

The wax melt is ready to be burned when the wax appears homogenous and glossy, with no separation between wax and oil. Give it a gentle stir to check the consistency. When you’re satisfied the wax is fully melted and incorporated, it’s ready for the warmer.

Overheating Wax Melts

It is important not to burn wax melts too soon after placing them in the warmer or wax melt burner. Overheating wax melts can cause several issues:

  • Burning too soon can overheat the wax and cause it to smoke or soot.
  • Overheating also negatively impacts scent throw. When wax gets too hot, some of the oils that produce the fragrance may burn off.
  • Excessive heat can also shorten the life of wax melts. The high temperatures can alter the wax’s structure.

As a general rule, you should allow wax melts to fully liquefy before turning on the candle warmer or plugging in the wax burner. Melts tend to need between 2-4 hours to fully pool. It is better to err on the side of waiting a little longer. Checking them periodically will help you gauge when the wax is ready for heat.

If you notice smoking, sooting, or a decreased scent throw from your wax melts, chances are they were overheated. Allow the wax to completely harden again before adding to the warmer to avoid these issues in the future.

Storing Leftover Wax

If you have leftover wax melts from your burner, make sure to let them fully cool and harden before storing. Trying to store soft or liquid wax can create a mess.

Once hardened, leftover wax melts can be stored in either the container they originally came in, or a plastic bag or airtight container. Glass jars also work well for storing wax. The key is using an airtight container to maximize freshness.

Properly stored cooled wax can last 6-12 months before losing its scent or otherwise deteriorating. Over time, the scent may become slightly less strong, but still useable. Discard wax if it develops a greasy film or texture or smells rancid instead of like the original scent.

Clearly label wax storage containers with the scent to avoid confusion later. Store in a cool, dark place like a cupboard for longest duration. Refrigeration can extend lifespan slightly if your storage area tends to get warm.

Reusing Old Wax

Wax melts are economical since leftovers can be easily reused. Once your fragrance has dwindled, you can remelt the old wax and add new fragrance to make a new batch.

Here is the process for reusing old wax:

  • Gather leftover or old wax melts that are unscented or have lost their scent.

  • Place the old wax melts in a heat-safe container like a glass jar or stainless steel bowl.

  • Set the container with wax in a pot of water to create a double boiler. Heat over medium until melted.

  • Once melted, add cubes or drops of fragrance oil to freshen up and scent the wax.

  • Mix well to fully blend the fragrance throughout the wax.

  • Pour the scented wax into molds and allow it to set completely before removing.

Reusing old wax is an easy way to create new melts while using up leftovers. The wax can be remelted and scented multiple times.

Safety Tips

When using wax melts, it’s important to follow some basic safety tips:

Firstly, only use wax warmers and melts on stable, heat-safe surfaces – don’t place them on desks, wooden shelves, or near soft furnishings.

Secondly, never leave a burning wax melt unattended. Always stay nearby so you can keep an eye on the melter and quickly deal with any issues.

Finally, keep wax warmers and melts out of reach of children and pets. The hot wax and warmers can cause injuries if touched by little hands or paws.

Following these simple safety precautions will allow you to enjoy your wax melts safely.


Here are some frequently asked questions about wax melts:

Common Troubleshooting Questions

Q: My wax melts are not melting all the way or producing much scent. What should I do?
A: First, make sure your wax warmer is hot enough. Metal and ceramic warmers need to be heated for 30-60 minutes before adding the wax melts. You can test if the warmer is ready by sprinkling a few drops of water over the surface – if they sizzle, it’s ready. If your warmer seems hot enough but melts still struggle, try a different wax brand which might have a different formulation or melting point. Finally, replace your wax melts every 4-6 hours as they can lose potency over time.

Q: I can smell the wax melts when they first melt, but the scent fades quickly. Why does this happen?
A: This is known as “losing scent throw.” It generally occurs when the wax mixture lacks enough fragrant oil. Confirm that your warmer is hot enough, then try melting the wax for a shorter period like 2-4 hours. Fading throw can also happen in large rooms since it takes more fragrance to effectively scent the air. Lastly, some lower quality wax blends are too diluted. Switching brands or moving your wax warmer to a smaller room may help.

When to Replace Wax

You should replace wax melts every 4-6 hours for best performance. The fragrance oils dissipate over time even if wax remains in the warmer. Also, replace wax if you notice an unwanted burnt plastic smell, as this signals the material has overheated. Cycling fresh wax melts helps maintain consistent and pleasant aroma.

Proper Burner Cleaning

It’s important to regularly clean your wax melt burner to prevent fragrance residue build-up that can diminish scent throw or alter the smell. Follow your warmer’s guide, but generally you can wipe the dish with rubbing alcohol and rinse with water. Scrape out hardened wax with wooden sticks or plastic tools, avoiding scratches. A monthly deep clean helps remove oil residue so future melts perform best.

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