If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know how to properly burn a candle or that there is a correct way to do it. In fact, apparently, we have been burning our candles all wrong, unless you’re someone lucky who has been gifted with the knowledge of properly burning and caring for your candle ware! Otherwise, most of us do not know there is a method to it. It is very easy to keep up with caring for your candle, but it's important to know how to do it as a start.
So how do you properly burn a candle instead of just lighting it on fire?
To start, invest in the correct tools. I bought a candle care set that included a wick trimmer, a snuffer that puts out the flame, and a dipper that also puts out the flame. Why you need two options to put out the flame is beyond me, but it was included in the kit and gives me options. The dipper puts off less smoke as you dip the wick directly in the wax to put it out. That is the main difference between the two tools. From there, it’s just a matter of fully allowing your wax to burn if possible, to avoid tunneling which is caused when only part of the wax melts and creates a pool.
How to Properly Burn a Candle and Make Them Last Longer
1. Use wick trimmers to trim your wick. I bought a pair of wick trimmers along with a dipper and snuffer in a candle care kit on Amazon.
2. Trim your wick before the first use, then after each use. You will need to trim your wick to ¼ of an inch before your first use. From there, keep it at ¼ of an inch after every burn. Trimming your wick controls the amount of wax that is being melted which helps the candle burn evenly. It also limits the amount of soot that the wick creates when it’s too large in relation to the wax.
3. Burn it evenly. Whenever you burn your candle, it’s best to burn it for 1-2 hours to allow the top layer of the wax to fully melt creating an even surface. If you only burn it for a little while without allowing the top layer to fully burn, you will get that crater-like wax surface with layers of wax at the top. This is also known as tunneling. However, life happens and we don’t always have the time. If that is the case, don’t sweat it, but try to keep your wick trimmed as much as possible. If your candle has tunneled and it’s annoying you, try my How to Fix a Candle post for tips. 3.
4. Don’t burn it for more than 4 hours. Honestly, that is way too long for me. I don’t burn my candles for more than 2-3 hours at a time. While you want to burn them a sufficient amount of time for both an even burn and an enjoyable atmosphere, I prefer not to burn my candles for hours at a time.
5. Don’t blow it out. If you buy a candle kit, it will come with scissors, a candle extinguisher, and a dipper that looks like a pick. The candle extinguisher is used for putting your candle out without blowing to avoid blowing the wax around. To use the candle dipper, you can simply dip the wick into the hot wax to extinguish the flame to avoid smoke.
6. Trim only cooled candles. If you trim the wick while a candle is hot, it can cause debris to fall into the hot wax and harden making your candle look messy.
7. Remove trimmings. Don’t leave any of your trimmed wicks in the candle. It’s best to trim your candle when the wax is hard, but also be sure to remove the trimmed pieces.
8. Clean your candle. Life happens along with soot and smoke. If your candle is showing signs of dark soot marks around the sides, you can easily fix this with coconut oil and a paper towel. Simply wipe around the insides of the candle with the coconut oil towel and remove the soot. It will wipe it clean and look brand new!
9. Use matches. I love the ease of a lighter, but I have noticed they are what cause the sook around the candles sometimes. Matches haven't given me an issue with soot!