The duration of prestidigitation is kind of all over the place. The main entry for duration is dual:

Instantaneous/1 hour

Additionally each effect may or may not add wording like

for 1 hour


until the end of your next turn

My question is regarding the effects that do not specify the duration in their description. For example:

You clean or soil an object no larger than 1 cubic foot.

If you clean the object it is instantaneously clean, but will it automatically and instantaneously re-soil itself after an hour?

You light or snuff out a small fire.

If you instantaneously light a small fire, will it automatically and instantaneously snuff out after an hour?

Since the duration isn't specified in the effect description I think the global duration "Instantaneous/1 hour" applies, but I've played with people who disagree and think that the effect is permanent.


These Effects are Permanent

As per DND Beyond, the duration of the spell is listed as:

1 hour

However, this is the maximum duration of the spell for some of its effects.


You make a color, a small mark, or a symbol appear on an object or a surface for 1 hour.

Whereas some effects are instantaneous.


You instantaneously light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire.

There is nothing in the spell that says this is a magical fire which will only last for 1 hour. Furthermore, there is nothing that says that they fire can't be put out by other means or, in the right circumstance (e.g. in a farmers hay barn), grow into a much larger fire.

As a general point to remember: There are no secret rules, if a spell does not state that the fire will go out or re-light after an hour then it wont.

As a final point, the last part of the spell states:

If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have up to three of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action.

This provides further confirmation that the instantaneous effects are separate from the ongoing effects (with duration of 1 hour) as they do not count towards the maximum number of effects you can have active at one time.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I would address the fact that the text he is quoting (such as the "Duration: Instantaneous/ 1 hour" language) does not actually match the official text of the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Aug 7 '18 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point! I will edit now. \$\endgroup\$ – shadydave Aug 7 '18 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Got it, thanks. I was lacking understanding of the duration "Instantaneous" which actually is mutually exclusive with other durations. \$\endgroup\$ – Kreakdude Aug 7 '18 at 18:02

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