Gel candles are extremely popular because of their transparency and beauty, all of which come from gel candle wax. Therefore, candle makers are highly disappointed when their gel candles show any signs of clouding or yellowing. But, why does this happen, and what can you do about it?
In general, gel candles get cloudy due to pre-wax-coated wicks coated with the wrong wax. Overheating gel wax, Fragrance oil that is not compatible with gel wax, Pre or uncoated embeds, and lastly, wax embeds ma cause cloudiness in gel candles.
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There are multiple reasons why gel candles become cloudy. Some of these include excessive temperatures, fragrance oils, and wax-coated wicks. Let’s take an in-depth look at the problem and then find its solution.
Why Is My Gel Candle Cloudy?
Several factors may play a role in a cloudy gel candle. One of the main reasons this happens is during the candle manufacturing process, where extra moisture or air is incorporated into the wax.
Luckily, this is considered normal and is corrected when the wax melts and moisture/air is released. The cloudiness starts to clear up when the wax reaches the right temperature, but what if it continues to be cloudy?
- Wax coated wicks
When you use pre-coated wicks, then there is a strong possibility they are not coated in gel candle wax. If a traditional type of wax is used to coat the wicks, it can melt into the gel mixture during pouring and leave your candle cloudy.
- Overheating gel wax
As opposed to soy wax, it takes time for gel wax to melt. Therefore, candle makers are often tempted to use higher temperatures than normal to speed up the process. The problem is that you could end up overheating the gel wax, which can lead to discoloration and make it cloudy and yellowish.
- Fragrance oil
You need to find a fragrance oil that is compatible with gel wax if you do not want your gel candles to be cloudy. The wrong fragrance oil will cause discoloring and leave your gel candle cloudy.
- Pre-coated embeds
Similar to wicks, your gel candles could be cloudy due to pre-coated embeds. If a traditional type of wax has been used instead of gel wax, you will have a cloudy candle.
- Un-coated embeds
Not using pre-coated embeds is also a problem because there is a chance that the embed bleeds into the gel wax after pouring. This depends on the embed you are using and will lead to cloudy gel wax.
- Wax embeds
There are traditional types of wax used to make embeds for gel candles, which can often lead to clouding. Why? It is because traditional wax has a melting point that is far lower than the temperature at which you pour gel candles. When you use traditional wax embeds to pour gel candles, there will be discoloration and clouding before the gel candle sets and hardens.
Can Overheating Or Reheating Cause Cloudy Gel?
It is essential to bear in mind that overheating is often considered the primary cause of cloudy gel candles. As gel wax does not melt as quickly as other types of wax, people often increase the temperature, and this results in overheating. If you use temperatures that are higher than 225°F, the end result will be a cloudy gel candle.
As far as reheating is concerned, this mostly depends on the ingredients used in the gel candle being reheated. If you are reheating a gel candle with rocks or some type of sand in it, it might turn cloudy because of the residue or dye they have.
Can You Fix Cloudy Gel Candles?
When the gel wax reaches a temperature of 185°F, it starts bubbling and popping because the moisture and air are released from the wax. This is when the cloudiness begins to clear up. If it does not happen, you can stir it gently to help in releasing the air.
If the gel wax continues to remain cloudy even after it has reached the temperature mentioned earlier, how do you fix it? The best way is to give the wax some time to clear by holding it at that temperature for a bit longer before you add any fragrance.
You can warm it in the oven at this temperature for several hours, or if you live in a hot climate, you can also let the candle sit in the sun. Another option at your disposal is to use a heat gun for removing the cloudiness when the gel is hardening, or a pencil torch can also come in handy for smoothing the surface.
How Do You Prevent Cloudy Candles?
Since you are spending time and effort making gel candles, it is natural for you to want them to be perfect. You do not want to end up with cloudy gel candles, and there are several things you can do to prevent your gel candle from becoming cloudy. Some of these are given below.
- Use the right temperature.
First things first, you should not heat gel candle wax at a temperature of more than 225°F and always pour it at a temperature of 185°F.
Overheating the gel candle wax will lead to discoloring, clouding, and yellowing. It would be best if you also poured the candles immediately after adding the dye and fragrance oil because the sooner they begin to cool, the fewer chances of them becoming cloudy and discolored.
- Pre-coat wick yourself
Instead of buying pre-coated wicks, do the pre-coating yourself using gel wax. This way, you will be able to avoid any mishaps with traditional wicks that are often coated with paraffin or soy wax and can cause your candles to become cloudy.
- Pre-coat embeds yourself
Just like wicks, you need to pre-coat embeds on your own. Even if it does not melt into the gel wax when you pour, it is still a good idea for you to pre-coat embeds because it prevents any cloudiness, and the embed color does not bleed out either.
- Select embeds carefully
You have to be very careful when you are selecting embeds. This is because there are embeds that will melt into the gel or will bleed into it if they are not pre-coated. It is a disaster waiting to happen if you are not careful enough.
It would help if you were careful about what you are adding to the gel wax. For instance, embeds like copper, marble, or seashells do not bleed into the wax, but organic or wax embeds might do so.
- Select the right fragrance oil
It is also essential to be cautious when selecting the fragrance oil to be added to your gel wax. Different oils have different reactions to the gel wax mixture, and their temperature requirement also varies. You should always have more than one option and can give them both a try and make a side-by-side comparison to select the best one.
Make sure you opt for a fragrance oil that has a high flashpoint because gel candles are also made at high temperatures.
- Be cautious when choosing dyes.
Even though you will come across dyes approved for gel candle making, you should remember that there is no guarantee that they will react as intended when exposed to high temperatures and gel candle mixtures. There will be some trial and error involved for you to be able to choose the right dye.
Do not get frustrated if your gel candle becomes cloudy and focus on finding the reason in order to correct it and create the kind of candle you want.