There’s nothing like opening a candle for the first time. Hearing the *pop* of the lid, smelling the fresh fragrance wafting up to your nose, seeing the fire crackle as you light the wick for the first time — it’s perfection.
While lighting a candle takes only a few seconds, the effects of that quick moment in time are long-lasting, with your favorite scents permeating the air for hours (if you’re using a quality candle set).
But even the best candles need to be taken care of to maximize their effectiveness, specifically, ensuring you’re maximizing your burning time.
Here are a few tips that will help you extend the life of your newest candle in your collection.
1. Take your time on the first burn
When you open your candle for the first time (cue: pop sound and fragrance filling your nose), make sure you will have the time to leave it burning for a while. Experts recommend you allow 2-3 hours of burning time to give the entire surface of the wax time to melt. This will make it, so the candle burns evenly, and you’re not left with a crater around your wick, with the sides never fully melting (which is just sad to see).
2. Limit your burn time
This is essential in ensuring you get the total amount of burning hours out of your candle. Try to limit each burn to 4 hours, maximum. If you let it go over 4 hours, the fragrance will dilute, bringing your candle’s burning life down. Also, it’s imperative to make sure your candle is lit in a safe place. When you leave a candle burning for over 4 hours, it increases the chances that the glass will break, causing a potentially devastating situation for your household.
3. Trim, trim, trim that wick
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I started trimming my candle wicks. My partner informed me one evening that not trimming your wicks can be potentially hazardous, causing the flame to rise much higher than is recommended, billowing in the air in an uncontrolled way. That’s why, between burns, it’s extremely important to trim your candle wick to ¼” before lighting. Not only does it reduce the size of the flame, but it also cuts down on smoke, maximizes burn time, and reduces mushrooming (which is what happens when a buildup of excess materials from the wick appears on the tip of the wick).
4. Keep your candle free of debris
If you have pets, you know how easily their hair clings to everything. Your clothes, couch, banisters, stairs, floors, you could have just vacuumed your entire house, and boom, there’s a hair clump. Candles can also be a breeding ground for excess dog hair, along with dust and the occasional (or not so occasional, depending on where you live) bug who flew too close to the flame. So prior to re-lighting your candle, make sure to check for any debris and clear it out prior to lighting. You want a lavender candle to add ambiance to your soak in the tub, not Buster’s dander.
5. Smother and suffocate your flame, don’t blow it out
My partner should have been a professional candle-maker because this tip is coming straight from him. We blow out candles on birthday cakes, so, naturally, I’ve been blowing out my candles since I was old enough to blow out candles. I mean, that’s what my parents did, so that’s how you’re supposed to extinguish them…right?
Wrong. To extend the burn time on your candle, as well as preserve its fragrance and, most importantly, keep your home safe, it’s best to smother your candle. This means placing the lid back on or using a fancy candle-extinguisher (if you ever attend a church service, you know what I’m talking about, those bells perfectly crafted to place over a flame). Not only does this help with making your candle burn longer, but it will also help prevent your wick from mushrooming.
6. Choose candles with high-quality ingredients
Anyone can make a candle, but only some companies know how to produce the best candles for their customers. I’ve found a blend of soy and vegetable wax coupled with pure cotton wicks helps boost burn time without cutting down on fragrance levels. Be sure you’re shopping for products that are non-toxic and paraffin-free. And hey, if you can find a company that advertises vegan and cruelty-free products, then that’s a bonus.
7. Enjoy your candle
The best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your burn time, is simply to enjoy it. The tips above are practical ways to extend the life of our candle, but all of those tips and tricks mean nothing if you don’t enjoy them! So, whether you’re lighting a candle for a company or some alone time, breathe in deep and enjoy.