To most of us, burning a candle is a no-brainer. All you need to do is light it up and let it burn for as long as you want to. Easy-peasy.
As it turns out, there’s a proper way to do this. Correct candle care ensures the brightest flames, the longest burn times, and the easiest re-lights. Because we are dedicated to creating high-quality, healthy candles, we are also invested in your use and enjoyment of them.
Whether you are a life-long candle lover or a new collector, you may find that a simple habit shift or small addition of knowledge could help you get the most out of your favorite candles. So please accept our invitation to review the most efficient way of burning a candle, and getting more mileage out of your favorite ones.
Always trim your wicks!
Each time you want to burn your candle, you must first trim the wick to 1/4 inches long. I recommend using a specialized wick trimmer (seen here) but you can also use scissors or even nail clippers. Make sure there is no trimming debris left on the surface of your candle, as this can create soot and smoke.
Trimmed wicks will give you a cleaner, brighter burn. Untrimmed wicks are a lot more likely to take on a weird mushroom shape that can make the flame duller. Also, if you let your wicks get too long, they can give off a lot of smoke and soot that can stain your candle jars and even the walls of your house.
Let your wax melt all the way across the surface!
This is CRUCIAL to enjoying all of your scented wax. Once your candle is lit, don’t blow it out until there is a pool of melted wax that covers the entire surface layer. This may take a couple of hours, so it’s best to enjoy your candle when you have some downtime. If you don’t allow it to burn fully across, each subsequent burn will push the wick further down without burning the wax on the sides. This is called “tunneling” in the candle biz and it is one of the saddest things that can happen to a beautifully scented candle.
Candle safety is undoubtedly the most important tip. Always burn your candle on a heat-safe surface. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised what some of your tabletops may contain. I once made the mistake of burning a candle on a lacquered table and it burst into flames from the heat and fumes. This was in my candle novice days and thankfully I had a fire extinguisher, but the memory is emblazoned in my mind (no pun intended).
Beware of wind and curtains getting in the way of candle flames, a very dangerous combination. Drafty areas can also move the flame around, creating an uneven burn.
Don’t let your candles burn out! Ideally, you shouldn’t burn your candle for more than four hours at a time. Many candles will extinguish themselves, but if a flame sits at the bottom of the vessel for too long, it can get extremely hot.
Most importantly, never leave your candles unattended or in the way of children or pets.
Stop Burning Before the Bottom
It’s tempting to want to get every single minute out of your candle, but you shouldn’t let the wax burn to the very bottom. “Always stop burning your candle when about ¼ of an inch to ½ of an inch of wax remains to prevent your candle vessel from overheating,” Mayne says.
Extinguish With a Candle Snuffer
I’ll admit it. Every time I want to put out my flame, I blow it out. “Blowing out candles is, unfortunately, not the ideal way to extinguish a candle,” Mayne explains. “[This] causes the wax to spray onto your face and smoke to fill the room. Blowing out candles can also bury the wick in the wax making it hard for you to light your candle the next time. Ideally, you should use a candle snuffer to extinguish the flame,” she adds.
Scented candles are a great way to treat yourself, create an amnd unwind. If you follow these simple tips then you will be a candle-burning pro!