The Art of Burning Candles

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8716711When you first start living with candles on a day-to-day basis, you probably don’t expect you’ll be doing much more than just striking a match, then sitting back to enjoy the candlelight. Well, there is a bit more to burning candles. For a few of us it’s a science; for most all of us, it’s definitely an art—indeed, a lost art.

The good news is that the benefits of incorporating candlelight in your daily life far outweigh the few easy things you need to do to take care of them. And, there’s really not so much “to do” as there is to be aware of— only a very few things you really have to do (see “Burn your candles mindfully” below).

The greater your awareness of living with and caring for your candles, the better they’ll perform, and the richer your experience.

Discover the secrets for living by candlelight.

Some of these tips and tricks you may already know. Some you may not. They’re all very, very useful:

  1. Burn your pillar candle one hour for every inch of its diameter the first time you light it. This will allow the pool of wax to extend to the outside rim and prevent your candle from forming a “canyon” in its center.
  2. Burning your candle this way will also set its memory. Each time you re-light the candle it will “remember” to burn out to the rim.
  3. Trim the wick of any candle— canister candle, pillar, taper, tealight or votive—to one-quarter inch every time you light the candle. This will ensure clean, smoke-free burning.
  4. Be sure to remove any wick debris that has fallen into the candle.
  5. If in the unlikely event that your candle is smoking, and you’ve already trimmed the wick to one-quarter inch, extinguish the candle immediately. Pinch or trim the wick just a bit more and the smoking will stop.
  6. If you’ve bought a superior-quality candle, you shouldn’t have problems with smoking. Fine quality candles are virtually smokeless.
  7. In addition, scented candles will smoke more than unscented candles. Therefore, the scent in the candle needs to be of the highest quality as well.
  8. Candles need oxygen. If you burn a candle in a small, confined area it will smoke. So consider the size of the room when you arrange your candles.
  9. The most effective way to extinguish the flame of a candle is to use a candle snuffer. The snuffer helps prevent the wax from spraying, and keeps the wick centered as well.
  10. If you don’t have a snuffer, here’s an effective way to extinguish a candle: Position your forefinger between the candle and your mouth, aligning it with the flame. When you blow at the candle, the “air” will circle around your finger, and hit the flame from both sides, rather than approaching it directly. It’s a clever trick. Try it!
  11. You can keep your candles smooth and silky-looking by gently rubbing them with ordinary nylon stockings. This will remove scratches, and will also rub off the “bloom” that forms on a beeswax candle.
  12. To guard your candles against fading, avoid placing them in direct sunlight.
  13. Store your candles in a dry, cool, dark place.
  14. Before you slip a votive candle into a votive cup or holder, drop a teaspoon of water into the cup. This way, when you want to remove the votive candle to replace it with another, the candle should slide out easily. Plus, you won’t have to struggle, or run the risk of damaging the holder.
  15. Check periodically to make sure there is ample water remaining in the holder.
  16. Special tip: To sample a scented candle, breathe the fragrance in from the bottom of the candle rather than the top or side. Undisturbed by circulating air, the aroma will be intensely concentrated there, more so than on any other part of the candle.

Important! Burn your candles mindfully.

While all of the above ideas offer suggestions to enhance your candlelight experience, the following advice includes absolute “musts.” We strongly recommend your following these important steps for using your candles safely.

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Always place your candles on sturdy, non-flammable holders, in sizes appropriate for the candles.
  • Always light candles in draft-free areas, to prevent dripping and smoking. If a draft cannot be avoided, turn the candle 180 degrees every hour.
  • Never burn a candle completely. Dispose of it when it burns to within one inch of the base or holder.
  • Remember to remove the labels on your candles before you light them.

To paraphrase the old saying, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. From those of us who live by candlelight every single day of the year—the folks who work at Escents Candle Company—we hope the lessons we’ve learned about candle care will be helpful for you. And as we discover more secrets to the art of burning candles, we’ll continue to pass them along to you.

Meanwhile, welcome to the world of candlelight. It is an honor to share our experiences with you!