Can You Melt Candle Wax in The Microwave? (Microwave Safety Tips)
DIY enthusiasts are often eager to repurpose their leftover wax to not only save the planet from pollution but to also keep their minds engaged.
Speaking of leftover wax, if you’re looking to melt some, using a microwave might not be the best idea. The candle-making process is one that heavily relies on even temperature distribution. And that, as you probably already know, is not something that the microwave can deliver. Not to mention that this method can be somewhat dangerous if not performed carefully.
Of course, you could give it a shot and it will work in some cases, but just know that there are other heating methods that are more reliable. We’ll talk about them once we’re done showing you how to safely melt wax in your microwave.
How To Safely Melt Wax in a Microwave
Normally, it takes about 2–5 minutes to completely melt the wax in the microwave. As expected, considering we’re not all melting the same type of wax or using the same type of container, that time period will vary.
Just try not to be distracted because it only takes a split second for things to quickly go south. If you inadvertently overheat the wax, the best-case scenario is simple spillage. The worst? You accidentally start a fire.
First off, make sure your bowl or whatever container you’re using is microwave-safe. Pour the leftover wax into it, but don’t fill it to the brim—if you do, you’ll be risking spillage. The next step is to place the container inside the microwave, making sure it doesn’t touch the walls. When you’re done, close the appliance’s door and then reset the temperature.
You’ll want to work with the highest possible temperature setting, as this project requires extreme heat. The timer should be set to 2 minutes max.
When done, take out the container and then use the thermometer to record the temperature. You’ll then stir the candle wax with a clean spatula, to find out if it’s evenly melted.
You’ll have to return the container to the microwave if you’ve sensed some clumps of leftovers while stirring the melted wax. But this time round, you should only heat it for a minute or less. Take out the container when the beeping stops and repeat the same steps until all the clumps are gone, and the temperature of the wax is at 176ºF (80ºC).
Don’t heat the wax if the temperature is already at 176ºF, even if you can still sense clumps at the bottom of the container. Just stir the melted wax gently for a couple of seconds, and they’ll all be gone.
Why Is Melting Candle Wax in a Microwave a Bad Idea?
Truth be told, the microwave method of melting candle wax is the simplest. However, most professional and experienced craftsmen don’t recommend it due to the following reasons:
The Risks Outweigh the Benefits
It’s no secret that wax is a highly flammable substance. And the fact that it can easily catch fire makes it too dangerous to handle. Most professionals prefer melting any type of wax using warm water because that avenue significantly reduces the probability of starting a fire.
Precision is a requisite in the process of melting candle wax and that’s something that the microwave cannot guarantee. It’s virtually impossible to make candles without a thermometer, seeing as overheating usually leads to non-uniform hardness, discoloration, aesthetic flaws, and uneven burning.
Also, let’s not forget that microwaves normally heat food unevenly. What are you going to do when you realize parts of the melted wax are already at 176ºF, while other parts are way below that temperature?
How Can You Melt Candle Wax Safely?
Compared to other methods, this is clearly the safest. It’s also a fairly simple and easy process, as you’ll only need a double boiler set or two pots. The pots cannot be of the same size, since one has to go into the other. We’ll start by pouring cold water into the larger pot and heating it up using a stove for a few minutes. Your leftover wax will go inside the second pot, which will be sat inside the larger pot that has hot water. A thermometer has to be on hand, as you’ll need it to measure the temperature of the wax from time to time.
The double-boiler method is more appropriate when producing candles in smaller quantities. If you’d like to scale up production, you’ll have to purchase a wax melter. It’s a far more efficient option, in terms of cost and time, and comes with a temperature control gauge that allows you to slowly melt your wax while conforming to its temperance.
We’ll sign off by reminding you that we have four main types of candle wax on the market: paraffin, soy, palm, and beeswax candles. They all have different melting points, meaning some of them melt slower than others. The beeswax candle usually takes time to melt because it has a higher melting point. If you’d wish to work with one that melts faster, go for soy.
By the way, you can microwave the wax in a mason jar, provided it’s been labeled microwave-safe. Just don’t overheat it, as it can easily break past a certain threshold.
You can certainly melt candle wax in a microwave, but there are some risks, so it’s probably a better idea to use one of the other methods outlined above.
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