Person Holding White Candle on Black Wooden Table


Originally contributed by • last updated 3/1/2021

Anthony Shkraba

How does a product like cement become harder over time or how does the wax in a candle continue to set as time goes on? The practice of curing something over time has been around for centuries. It’s commonly used in the preparation of food and a few other crafty materials, such as waxes and paints. It’s also a term that gets used in a lot of DIY or home improvement projects, usually to describe the final stages of preparation for various products. But what does it actually mean?


The phrase curing something typically refers to a method of preparation or alteration over an extended period of time, especially through chemical or physical processing or alteration, to create a better end product. The process is sometimes used as a method of preservation, fortification or strengthening, or to maximize its potential and/or help it last longer. The term can be applied to a variety of materials and products across various types of projects from cooking to painting. Curing is often accomplished by the combination of different chemical or organic materials reacting together.

What’s The Most Important Thing To Know About The Curing Process?

The process of curing allows a product or material to become more fortified. In food, the tastes are often stronger and more pronounced. In paints and waxes, the materials often become harder and more durable. Regardless of what you’re curing, there is one important thing to remember — it takes time and patience:

  • With some projects, the final materials or products may require only a short time before they are fully cured and ready for use. Products and materials like this may include certain types of paints, adhesives, and even candle wax. Typically, within hours, these products are good to go.
  • With other projects, the materials may take days, weeks, and even longer to cure before they are ready for use. Products and materials like this may include wood, cement, and certain foods like meats and cheeses. It’s important to plan around projects that require longer curing times as conditions may need to be kept steady and uninterrupted for longer periods of time.