The Ultimate Wax Warmer Guide - Whole Home Scenting


Everything You Need To Know About Wax Warmers

Hands holding wax melts

If you have been thinking about buying a new wax warmer or two, you may be interested in learning more about what they are and how they really work. When and why did these devices originate? How can you use them to get the most bang for your buck and enhance your living space? This ultimate guide to wax warmers will teach you everything you want to know — and a few things you did not know you needed to learn.

What Are Wax Warmers?

A wax warmer is an alternative to a scented candle. It usually is filled with fragrant wax melts that are similar in scent and material structure to a traditional candle, but without a wick and usually without a flame as well. Depending on the model they can be less flammable than candles, making them an enticing alternative for candle-lovers who want to avoid the risks of fire in the home but still love the warmth, fragrance, and ambiance of scented wax.

Where Did Wax Warmers Come From?

The history of wax warmers is really quite simple. Candlemakers were left with small, excess wax pieces that were left over after pouring candles. Not wanting to waste these resources, they made them into wax melts, and therefore wax warmers were born!

How Does a Wax Warmer Work?

Wax warmers are filled with wax melts that release their fragrances when they start to melt. They melt from a heat source, the type of which can vary. Some warmers use electricity or light bulbs, while others may use a tealight candle, which must be blown out once the melting process is finished to ensure fire safety.

The difference in operation is based on the type of wax warmer. If you purchase a warmer, ensure you know what heat source it requires to operate properly. If you want to avoid flames, try not to purchase a warmer that requires a tealight candle to melt its wax.

How Long Do Wax Melts Last?

Stack of wax melt packages

The use time of a wax melt varies based on its size and structure, as well as the warmer in use. Some may only last a few days for a short period each day, while others can last up to ten hours at a time or, when used daily, over a few weeks. Some warmers and their accompanying melts allow you to pour the melted wax back into the warmer and melt them again. However, they may not be as visually attractive or structurally sound the second time around. The scent may also be less potent or even undetectable during a second go-around.

What Can You Put in a Wax Warmer?

Different wax warmers use different wax tarts or melts, which are smaller sections of wax that are otherwise similar to candles.

Most of these melts are made of typical candle wax with various candle-like scents. Some warmers may require a specific size of tart or melt, so be careful when purchasing a warmer and it’s corresponding melts so you can ensure that you are selecting the right types.

If you are someone who likes to experiment with new scents on a regular basis, wax warmers can be a great alternative to candles. You can try out new scents every few days and may even be able to take advantage of bulk purchase discounts and sales. Craftier users can even mix different melted wax tarts to try out new scent combinations that are unlike any that you can find on a store shelf.

Don't Fragrance Your Home Until You've Eliminated These Five Common Odor Areas.

In 5 easy steps, we show you how to get your home ready for scenting, so you can be confident it smells the way you want.

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What is the Difference Between a Wax Warmer and a Candle Warmer?

If you have ever heard the terms’ wax warmer and candle warmer used interchangeably, you may wonder if they are really the same thing. As mentioned above, a wax warmer usually warms small pieces of wax that are similar to candles in scent and composition.

In comparison, a candle warmer may be used to warm a larger, more traditional candle, such as a jar candle, without burning a wick or releasing unfavorable soot. Many models are electrically powered corded devices. While they are not quite the same thing as wax warmers, they can still be a safer alternative to lighting a candle where there is a concern of fire risks. Some candle warmers can also be used to keep hot beverages such as coffee or hot cocoa at a comfortable temperature, making them doubly useful and economically sensible.

Candle warmers have some disadvantages, however. The main one is that, while a candle can still be burned after it is heated — the wick is still intact, after all — no scent will remain. To some candle-lovers, this may translate to a shorter lifespan for their candles when compared to traditional lighting, which retains more scent over time. Because of this, a wax warmer or another candle lighting alternative may be a better choice for those who consider scent to be the most important part of a candle.

Candle warmers are more expensive than matches or lighters, so budget-conscious buyers may want to avoid them. They can require multiple electrical outlets and purchases if you have more than one candle to heat. It is also important to remember that these warmers are limited as to what types of candles can be placed on them, making them inconvenient if you already own candles that are not compatible. Overall, a candle warmer is a great choice for some buyers but may not suit the needs of many.

Are Wax Melters the Same as Wax Warmers?

You may have heard about wax melters at one point or another. Do not let their similar names fool you — wax warmers and wax melters are not the same, and melters are not something that the average consumer will ever come across. These melters are actually industrial tanks. They are used to melt candle wax and soaps. These machines are specially coated so varied soaps and candles can be placed inside without mixing scents or colors.

How Do You Clean Wax Warmers?

Cotton balls for cleaning wax melts

By learning how to clean wax warmer parts, you can maintain your warmers so they keep working effectively. One of the greatest conveniences of warmers is that they are typically quite easy to clean. Once the wax is done melting, it will start to get hard again as long as you remove its heat source. When you are done using your warmer, you can unplug your device (if it is powered by electricity) and remove the hard, cool wax. Many people remove it with a plastic knife. This is an effective way to pop out the wax quickly without damaging your potentially delicate warmer. If you have a smaller warmer, you may need to wait to unplug it until the wax has completely cooled and returned to a fully hardened state. Otherwise, it may spill when you go to pull out the plug from the wall outlet.

What if you want to reuse the wax so you can save money and shopping time, as mentioned above? In this case, you can leave the wax in the warmers’ bowl area to melt at a later date. Just make sure that this is a reasonable choice where your chosen warmer and wax are concerned.

Another option to clean wax you don’t plan on re-using are cotton balls. While the wax is still warm (be careful not to burn yourself!) you can use cotton balls to absorb the excess wax.

Once you have completed all of the steps above, you are done! You may want to use a gentle cleaning agent and cloth on the wax-affected areas if a lot of residue builds up on them over time, but you typically do not have to worry about too much cleaning and upkeep when you choose to scent your home with a wax warmer.

Are Wax Warmers Safe To Use?

There are no clear answers on the safety of burning wax in your home. With a warmer you do avoid soot and other materials from being released, since you are not burning a candle wick.

However, the more chemicals that are present in candle wax, the more chemicals it releases into the air when heated, whether it is being lit the traditional way or melted.

Chemicals that can be released include toluene and alkanes, which can cause issues such as asthma or lung damage and may even increase the risk of cancer in some individuals. This is especially true if you use wax made of paraffin. Soy and beeswax candle materials may be better choices. Wax warmers may be a safer alternative to traditional candles, but they are not necessarily the healthiest option, especially when cheaper, more readily available waxes are used.

Where flammability is concerned, a wax warmer that operates with electricity or another no-flame method can help give you peace of mind. Many options even include an auto-off feature so you do not have to worry about them being left on to overheat — or create overly hot melted wax. However, there are still safety measures that owners of warmers must take. Avoid placing your warmer near flammable surfaces, as you would with any other hot device. Keep pets and children away from your warmers and do not touch the hot surfaces while it is in use.

If your power outlets have voltage specifications, ensure that the warmers you purchase match. Ignoring these requirements can lead to property damage or personal harm to you and your loved ones.

In case you were wondering — yes, these safety precautions apply to candle warmers as well. Many are the same rules as with candles: Keep them away from flammable surfaces and items, keep pets and children away and never touch their hot surfaces. It is always a good idea to keep an eye on hot devices and items that are burning. Stay in the room during the entire burning or melting process if at all possible.

What Are the Other Disadvantages of Wax Warmers?

Stack of wax melt packages angled

In general, wax melts need to be replaced far more often than traditional candles do, especially since they are smaller and more prone to losing fragrance than candles are. They are also expensive, which makes their frequent replacements daunting to those who carefully spend their dollars and cents. Multiple warmers are needed to warm multiple wax melts, which adds up to even more money being spent over time.

If you choose to use electric warmers, you may need multiple outlets to set them up and spread the scents to multiple rooms, and they need to be in the areas where you plan to place the warmers. You are also limited as to what types of wax can be placed on or in your warmer. While a warmer may be a great choice for some candle-lovers, anyone thinking of buying them should carefully consider their feasibility and costs.

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What Should I Look For In A Wax Warmer?

There are several different features to look for when choosing a wax warmer. Some may be more important to you than others, depending on your preferences and lifestyle. In general, look out for multipurpose functionality, attractive styling, durable design, high-quality materials and reliable temperature control. Ease of use and powerful — or dim — illumination are also smart features to look out for. Shopping around and taking time to make your final purchase can help you be more satisfied with your choice in the long run.

Is There Such A Thing As A Wax Diffuser?

There really is no such device as a wax diffuser on the market today. Rather than using wax, most air diffusers spread essential oils or fragrance oils into the air to produce pleasing scents as well as offer the potential benefits of these oils. However, there are some types of machines that warm essential oils as well as wax. If this feature is important to you, make sure you look for it while picking out a warmer.

What Wax Burner Alternatives Are There To Choose From?

Fortunately, there is a range of scent diffusers to choose from that can make your home more welcoming and comfortable without worrying about the release of harmful chemicals into the air or stressing out about fire risks. Learn more about our whole home scenting diffuser and how it could be a great alternative to a wax warmer for you, your home, and your loved ones.

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12 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About Wax Warmers”

    1. Hi there!

      We recommend looking at the user manual that was provided when you purchased your plug-in wax warmer but have found that it’s best for accent plug-ins to be plugged directly into the wall rather than an extension cord. You want the plug-in to remain upright otherwise you risk the wax spilling out.

      The WHS Team

  1. These polite the home with fragrance chemicals! Stick to clothes and furniture and can cause migraines. Asthma, COPD! Vocal dysfunction and cognitive loss?
    Do not use!

    1. Natalie Sullivan

      Hi there!

      Our fragrances do not contain dangerous chemicals, toxins, phthalates, or parabens. We work hard to make sure that our fragrances are safe to be used in your entire home! If you have questions about our products and their ingredients please reach out to our team or visit our website. Thank you!

        1. Hi Betty!

          Great question! We are not affiliated with Scentsy so we do not know the answer. However, with our brief research, a Scentsy warmer will not cause a furnace to quit running. If you have further questions or concerns for Scentsy products we have found a link where you can contact their team ( Thank you for your comment and happy scenting!

    1. Natalie Sullivan

      Great question! It’s always best to check with your wax warmer company, but it is possible to cover the light partially with tape or a small bit of fabric to dim the light. Happy scenting!

  2. One of the best articles for wax warmer information. Here I talk about onlybwax warmer fixing. Fixing warmer is not too hard and also not too easy. You’ll need some tips and areas. Thanks for sharing your article.

  3. My cat just recently dipped her tail in wax. Could I put a piece of cardboard with slits for the fragrence to come out on top of the burner so she doesn’t get wax on herself again? Or is that a fire hazard?

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Don't Fragrance Your Home Until You've Eliminated These Five Common Odor Areas.

In 5 easy steps, we show you how to get your home ready for scenting, so you can be confident it smells the way you want.

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