Burning a candle is very easy — after all, you don’t need to do anything more than light it up and let it burn until you decide to blow it out. However, there is a right way to burn a candle, and sadly, most people don’t know anything about it. Still, correct candle care guarantees long burn times, bright flames, and most importantly, easy relights.
Sounds intriguing? Then you’ve come to the right place! This article will take a look at the anatomy of candles and teach you how to properly burn a candle. That way, you will be able to make the most out of your favorite candle.
How to Properly Burn a Candle: 4 Essential Tips
Although it might seem complicated, learning how to properly burn a candle is pretty simple. It involves a few easy-to-do techniques and safety precautions that will only take you a couple of minutes. And best of all, once you master these guidelines, you’ll have no trouble with poorly burning candles, no matter which type you are dealing with.
1. Always Trim the Wick
Each time you light a candle, make sure to trim the wick to anywhere between ⅛ and ¼ inches long. To do that, you can use nail clippers, scissors or get yourself a special wick trimmer. It doesn’t really matter which tool you use, as long as you remember to take care of the excess wick.
Why is trimming the wick important? Because that way you ensure that you get a brighter and cleaner burn. In fact, the untrimmed wick will allow the wax to drip and form around it in a mushroom-like shape that dulls and obscures the flame. In addition, allowing the candlewick to become too long can cause smoky stains on the glass container of your candle.
Furthermore, too long of a wick can cause dripping, uneven burning, sooting, and flaring. Therefore, by trimming the wick each time you burn the candle, you prolong its lifespan. Some users even reported that candles that were constantly trimmed tended to burn up to 25% longer.
2. Remove Debris and Dirt
Another thing you can do is check for dirt and debris, as they can add more fuel to the candle, which often results in flare-ups or small fires near the candlewick. Therefore, always scrape any debris or dirt away before lighting the candle.
3. The First Burn Is Important
Generally speaking, candles should burn one hour for every inch in diameter. As an example, if your candle is three inches across, you should let it burn for three hours before blowing it out. Otherwise, the wax on the edges of the candle won’t melt completely, creating what’s known as a memory ring. Once a memory ring appears, it will allow the wick to sink deeper into the candle and cause the surrounding wax to tunnel.
However, if a memory ring has already appeared on your candle, you can use a hairdryer to even out the wax surface. Just make sure that the dryer is set on low heat and that you don’t use it for more than a couple of minutes. If that doesn’t work, you can put the candle in an oven at 175 degrees for five minutes. No matter which method you choose, your candle will be smooth and easy to burn once again.
4. Keep the Flame Away From Any Moving Air
The position of your candle is extremely important, as you need to keep the flame away from any moving air. In other words, you should avoid placing it near open windows, air conditioners, fans, or busy areas of your house. The main reason behind this measure is that moving air can disrupt the flame and cause stains on the glass container.
How Long Should You Burn a Candle Before Blowing It Out?
As previously noted, when you first burn a candle, you should let it burn until the wax smooths naturally. That usually means a couple of hours or so, depending on its shape and size. Furthermore, by blowing the candle out too early, you can cause memory rings or tunneling, which will reduce its lifespan.
However, you also shouldn’t burn your candle for more than four to six hours at a time. Why? Because you can cause it to overheat, allowing the wick to float to the side and burn unevenly. Additionally, the flame will heat the container and make the bottom of the jar too hot. As a rule of thumb, you should blow your candle out after the wax level drops below ¼ inches.
And lastly, keep in mind that manufacturers have their own specifications regarding their candles. These specifications contain safety precautions and information about the burning time of the candle. So make sure to read them in order to find out exactly how long you should burn a candle before blowing it out.