Is Paraffin Wax Microwave Safe?

Paraffin wax is a common household material used for applications like candle making, cosmetics, art projects, and more. Many people wonder if it is safe to melt paraffin wax in the microwave due to its convenience and efficiency. However, there are some important safety considerations when microwaving paraffin wax. This article provides an overview of paraffin wax, whether it can be microwaved, precautions for safe microwave usage, and alternatives to melting paraffin wax in the microwave.

What is Paraffin Wax?

Paraffin wax is a soft, colorless wax derived from petroleum, coal or oil shale. It consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms [1].

Paraffin wax is commonly used in the following applications:

  • Candles – Paraffin wax is the most commonly used candle wax.
  • Cosmetics – Paraffin wax is used in some cosmetics to create a smooth finish.
  • Wax treatments – Paraffin wax baths or treatments are used to help moisturize and soften skin.
  • Cheese coatings – Paraffin wax is used to coat cheese wheels to help preserve them.
  • Surfboards – A paraffin wax coating helps surfboards glide across the water.

Paraffin wax has a melting point between 47°C and 64°C (117°F to 147°F) depending on the specific type of paraffin wax [2]. This allows paraffin wax to transition easily between a solid and liquid state, making it useful for applications like candles and cosmetics.

Is Paraffin Wax Microwave Safe?

The main question this article aims to answer is whether it is safe to microwave paraffin wax. Paraffin wax has a relatively low melting point, so it can easily overheat and catch fire in the microwave (source). Most manufacturers advise against microwaving paraffin wax due to the potential fire hazard.

However, it is possible to carefully microwave small amounts of paraffin wax if proper precautions are taken. Use a microwave-safe container, watch it closely, and heat it in short intervals. But in general, it is not recommended to microwave paraffin wax, especially in large amounts. Safer methods like using a double boiler on the stove are recommended.

Heating Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is typically heated slowly and gradually to melt it. The wax has a low melting point between 115-145°F (46-63°C), so it does not require high temperatures to liquefy.

The safest and most common way to melt paraffin wax is using a double boiler. This involves placing the wax in a container set over a pot of simmering water. The steam from the boiling water gently heats the wax until it melts. Using this indirect heating method prevents the wax from overheating or scorching.

According to WikiHow, paraffin wax should not be heated directly over a flame, as this can cause it to burn. A double boiler allows more controlled, even heating of the wax.[1]

melting paraffin wax using a double boiler method on the stove.

Another option is to use a microwave oven to melt paraffin wax. This method requires heating the wax in short intervals of 1-2 minutes at a time. Frequently checking and stirring the wax is important to avoid overheating. Supplies for Candles recommends heating paraffin wax no higher than 80°C (176°F) in the microwave.[2]

Microwaving Low Melting Point Waxes

Many waxes, especially candlemaking waxes, have relatively low melting points below 150°F. This blog states that soy wax, beeswax, and paraffin wax can be safely microwaved to melt as long as proper precautions are taken. When microwaving low melting point waxes, it’s important to use a microwave-safe container, watch carefully to avoid overheating, and stir regularly to distribute heat evenly.

The container material is crucial when microwaving wax. Glass and ceramic containers are ideal, according to this guide. Metal containers should not be used since they can lead to arcing and sparks. Wax can also be microwaved in silicone molds or bags. Make sure the container is large enough to allow the wax to bubble up without overflowing.

Heating times will vary based on the type and amount of wax. Start with 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Check the consistency and melt further if needed. Avoid prolonged heating to prevent the wax from overheating. Once fully melted, handle the container carefully using oven mitts. The wax and vessel will be extremely hot immediately after microwaving.

Dangers of Microwaving Paraffin Wax

Microwaving paraffin wax can be very dangerous for several reasons:

Paraffin wax has a low flash point, meaning it can ignite and burst into flames at temperatures as low as 390°F. The intense, focused heat of a microwave oven can bring paraffin wax to these dangerous temperatures very quickly before the wax has fully melted. This rapid superheating increases the risk of fire. According to, “Paraffin wax is unpredictable when heating in the microwave. It is possible that the wax will catch fire.”

When microwaved, paraffin wax melts unevenly. Some spots get extremely hot while other areas are still solid. This uneven heating leads to hot spots that are prone to catching fire. The molten paraffin is also prone to boiling over. If the wax bubbles out of the container, it can easily ignite on contact with surfaces inside the microwave.

Unlike stovetop heating, it’s difficult to control the temperature and monitor the wax inside a microwave oven. The enclosed environment means you can’t see the wax as it heats up. By the time you detect a problem by smell or noise, the wax may have already caught fire.

If a paraffin wax fire erupts inside the microwave, the fire can be difficult or impossible to extinguish. According to the National Fire Protection Association, microwaves are involved in 9,700 home fires per year. Any attempt to open the door supplies more oxygen and can cause a flare-up.

The safest option is to avoid microwaving paraffin wax entirely. Choose a more controllable heating method and switch to waxes with higher flash points. Take proper precautions if you do choose to microwave paraffin wax.

Safe Alternatives

There are safe alternatives to microwaving paraffin wax when you need to melt it. The recommended way to melt paraffin wax is in a double boiler. To do this, fill a saucepan or pot with a couple inches of water and place a metal or glass bowl with the wax in it on top. Heat the water slowly until the wax has fully melted. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. This provides gentle indirect heat that will melt the wax gradually without overheating it. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls work well for this.1

Another option is to use a candle or wax melting pot specifically designed for melting wax. These have a controlled heating element and often come with temperature settings for different types of waxes. Slow cookers or crock pots on the lowest setting can also work well for a larger amount of wax. Just put the wax in a heat-safe container set in the slow cooker with water surrounding it.2 These methods prevent overheating and allow the wax to melt gradually at a temperature below its flash point.


Despite the potential dangers, some people may still choose to microwave paraffin wax. If you decide to microwave paraffin wax, follow these safety tips:

  • Use only a small amount of wax, no more than 1/2 cup.
  • Make sure the wax is in a microwave-safe container. Do not microwave wax directly in plastic or paper.
  • Microwave the wax in short increments, such as 10 seconds at a time. Remove and stir between increments to distribute the heat evenly.
  • Be extremely careful when removing the wax from the microwave, as the container will be very hot. Use oven mitts.
  • Allow the wax to cool slightly before handling. Molten wax can cause severe burns.
  • Monitor the wax closely while microwaving. Stop immediately if you see smoking or sparks.
  • Never leave microwaving wax unattended. Stay nearby in case a fire starts.
  • Have a fire extinguisher or lid handy in case the wax ignites.

Always exercise extreme caution when microwaving paraffin wax. It’s safer to use alternate melting methods whenever possible.


In summary, paraffin wax should not be microwaved directly as it can reach dangerously high temperatures that can result in burns or fires. While low-melting point waxes are generally considered microwave-safe, paraffin wax has a melting point between 120-140°F which makes it risky to microwave.

The key takeaways are:

  • Directly microwaving paraffin wax can cause overheating and increase fire risk.
  • Melted paraffin wax can remain dangerously hot long after microwaving.
  • If attempting to melt paraffin wax, use a double boiler method or low temperature oven instead.
  • Consider switching to a lower melting point wax designed for microwave use.
  • Always monitor wax when melting and take precautions against burns.
  • Solid paraffin wax blocks should never go directly in the microwave.

In conclusion, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to microwaving paraffin wax. Opt for melting methods that provide more controlled, even heating to avoid safety hazards.


For more information on the safety of microwaving paraffin wax, check out the following resources:

Check with the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific brand of paraffin wax before microwaving.

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