Do Candles Disappear When They Burn?

Do candles disappear when they burn? Find out what happens to the wax as it's lit and learn about its decomposition process.

Do Candles Disappear When They Burn?
Photo by rocknwool / Unsplash

Have you ever burned a candle and wondered where all the melted wax goes?

Do we inhale it as it burns, or do the chemical compounds just vanish into thin air?

Let's delve into the mysteries of candle burning.

Decomposition of Wax

When a candle burns, the wax undergoes a process of combustion.

During this chemical reaction, the wax decomposes into primarily water, carbon dioxide, various carbon compounds, and a multitude of other compounds.

Vanishing Act

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the wax simply dissipates into the surrounding air.

It doesn't simply linger inside the candle or invisibly waft into our lungs.

Instead, the compounds mix with the air and become part of the atmosphere, carried away in the currents of your room.

Residue and Soot

While the wax dissipates, a small amount of residue and soot may remain, but this is minimal compared to the total volume of the candle.

The residue may stick to surfaces around the candle, forming what's commonly referred to as 'ghosting.'