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Do White Candles Burn Faster Than Colored Candles?

Candles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. While many of us choose candles based on their color or scent, others believe that the color of a candle can also impact its burning time. One popular belief is that white candles burn faster than colored candles. But is there any truth to this? In this study, we delve into scientific research to determine whether white candles indeed burn faster than colored candles.

Research Design

Many previous studies have investigated whether the color of wax has any effect on candle burning time. However, a study conducted in 2013, published in the Journal of Chemical Education, used a more scientific approach to explore this question. The researchers melted paraffin wax, mixed it with various colorants (red, green, and blue) and poured the wax into identical glass jars. They then added cotton wicks and lit them simultaneously.

To control for variables such as wick size and wax quantity, the researchers used the same amounts of wax and wick for each candle. They also measured the ambient temperature in the room, the air pressure, and the wind speed.

To gather data, researchers measured how much wax had melted at different intervals (5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes) from the start of the experiment. They continued to measure the wax melting at different intervals until each of the candles had burned out.

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The results of the study were quite surprising. Contrary to popular belief, the researchers found that there was no significant difference in burning time between the white candle and any of the colored candles. The researchers found that the blue candle, in fact, burned a little longer than the others.

The researchers hypothesized that the myth that white candles burn faster than colored candles might have resulted from the fact that many white candles are often made of stearin wax, which is less dense and, therefore, burns faster than paraffin wax.

Key Takeaways

  • Scientific studies have found no evidence that white candles burn faster than colored candles.
  • The color of a candle has no significant impact on its burning time.
  • White candles are often made of stearin wax, which burns faster than paraffin wax commonly used in colored candles.

Expert Opinions

We spoke to David Cochrane, a chemistry professor at the University of Nevada Reno, about this study’s findings. He shared that the research methodology used in this study was sound and that there was no observable effect of color on burning time.

“Although we tend to associate color with properties such as heat, in the case of candles, color is merely a pigment added to the wax. Any difference in burning time is more likely to be influenced by the wax’s properties, such as density, rather than the color.”


In conclusion, the myth that white candles burn faster than colored candles is widely believed, but it is not scientifically accurate. While the color of a candle can impact its aesthetic appeal, it has no significant effect on the candle’s burning time. The wax’s properties, such as its density, are much more likely to influence how long the candle burns.

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So, next time you’re picking out a candle, don’t worry about its color and instead choose one based on its scent, aesthetic appeal, or any other personal preference you might have.


Are there any other factors that can influence a candle’s burning time?

Yes, several factors can impact the burning time of a candle, including ambient temperature, air pressure, humidity, and wax density.

Can the type of wax used in a candle affect its burning time?

Yes, the type of wax used in the candle can have a significant effect on the burning time. Stearin wax, which is commonly used in many white candles, burns faster than paraffin wax, which is often used in colored candles.

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