Candle Burning: How to Properly Burn a Candle

You’ll all ready for a relaxing bath, and you go to light your candle. It seems simple enough, right? Click here to find out the right way to light your candle.

You may think there’s nothing to burning a candle. You just light it up with a match and let it work its magic. Well, there are actually a few things you may be doing wrong; keep reading to find out how to make the most out of your favorite candle.


Trim the Wick

You know those unsightly soot stains making your gorgeous candle so much less appealing? Those can be avoided by simply trimming the wick. Every time you light your candle, trim the wick to about ¼ inch. Wicks that are left long or crooked from burning can cause uneven burning, dripping, flaring, or soot buildup. Trimming the wick will also help prolong the life of your candle! If you trim the wick every couple of hours, your candle should burn up to 25% longer.

How To Trim the Wick

Trimming your candle’s wick doesn’t have to be super fancy or difficult. You can order a decent pair of wick trimmers or simply use a pair of scissors. When you trim the wick, definitely do it before you light your candle, not right after you blow it out.

The First Burn is the Most Important

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: for every inch in diameter, you should burn your candle for at least one hour. As an example, if your candle is three inches wide, the first time you light it, you should keep it lit for three hours. The goal is to get the wax to liquefy across the candle’s entire surface.


Upon first light, the top layer of wax should burn from end to end. The key here is the “memory ring,” which is when a candle isn’t burned from end to end, and from that point forward, the candle remembers that burn pattern and will continue to tunnel through the life of the candle. When a candle tunnels, the wax on the edge of your candle will never burn.

Tunneling can cut your candle’s lifespan in half and become harder and harder to light as the wick goes deeper and deeper down the length of the candle.

Fixing Tunneling

Oops, you lit your candle, but you need to run out of the house with no choice but to blow it out. It’s okay; there’s a hack for that. If your candle has fallen victim to tunneling, give a hairdryer a shot. On the highest heat setting, blow the hairdryer’s hot air on the candle’s surface to melt the wax surrounding the tunnel that hasn’t yet melted. The hot air will smooth and melt the wax, and finger’s crossed - melt the top layer just as you need it.

If this doesn’t work out for you, you could also try sticking the candle in the oven. Heat the oven to about 175 degrees F and put the candle on a cookie sheet to go in for about five minutes. If you’re trying this, pay close attention and keep a constant eye on the candle.

Clean Out Any Debris

Any debris left behind in a candle, like matches, wick trimmings, ash from the wick, or dust, should be wiped out once the wax has cooled and hardened before re-lighting. Anything left in the candle that isn’t supposed to be there can add more fuel than the candle is intended to handle. This can be a fire hazard.

Get Multi-Wick Candles

If you like big candles but can’t see yourself committing to a three to four-hour burn time, opt for a candle with multiple wicks. More wicks mean more flame, therefore, more heat, which means the candle won’t take as long to burn evenly across. Don’t buy a candle that is more than three or four inches wide if it only has one wick because it won’t produce enough heat to melt all the way across, and most of the candle will go to waste.

Keep the Flame Still

Another cause for black soot marks on the inside of your candle is when the flame is disturbed and gets blown about. Keep your candle away from fans, air conditioners, open windows, and places where people are continuously walking by to minimize air movement. If the candle’s flame is subject to wind or air blowing from fans, it can potentially cause a fire hazard.

Storing Your Candle

After use, candles should be sealed with their lid and stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Depending on what kind of wax your candle is made with determines how long it will last, but usually, fragrant candles have a lifespan of between six to 12 months.

Candle Safety

  • Never Leave a Candle Unattended: If you have to leave the room, be sure the candle is completely out and has no burning embers. You can ensure the candle is completely out by using a candle snuffer or putting on the candle lid.
  • Always Burn Candles in a Secure Area: Keep the candle away from hazards like pets, small children, drapes, paper, books, and flammable decorations.
  • Don’t Use a Candle as a Night Light: If you like to light a candle before bed, always be sure you put it out before you get tired. Using a candle as a night light is risky because you can get sleepy and fall asleep while it is still burning.
  • Put the Candle Out if It’s Flame is Too High: If the flame on your candle is flickering and is too big - put the candle out safely and trim the wick before relighting it.
  • Don’t Burn the Candle All the Way Down: Burning the candle down to the very end is dangerous because it can cause the glass candle jar to overheat and shatter. You should dispose of your candle and get a new one once the candle has burned down to a half-inch of wax left at the bottom. Be sure you always have a new candle on hand by signing up for a monthly candle subscription.

If you keep having bad luck with candles, you can try a flame-free candle wax warmer - no fire needed. They are a great alternative to enjoy the luxurious scent of a candle without worrying about safety and proper candle care.

The Candle Experience

Follow these tips and tricks to make the most out of your candle experience. If you are taking the time to pick out the perfect candle for you, you should be able to enjoy your candle in all its glory: safely, securely, and blissfully.


The Right Way to Burn a Candle | INSIDER

Your Foolproof Guide to Burning a Candle Correctly |

Hints From Heloise: Don’t burn your candle to the end | Washington Post

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