How do I get the most out of my candle?
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Candles, fool-proof...not entirely. You'd think that they would be, but because they can vary so greatly in fragrance, fragrance load, design and environment the variables make for some interesting experiences.. and that's what we'll call them too.. experiences. We love candles as an aid for relaxation, creating a mood and to be honest, their ability to cover pet and house odors! So we definitely want to get the most from the candles we burn, not only from a monetary standpoint but we also want to cut down on wasted materials and ensure we're truly using them to their fullest. We've been asked so many times, 'how do I get the most life out of my candle?' and we're going to attempt to answer that pretty thoroughly here from what we've learned.
The most important piece of advice for getting the most burn time from your candle is to let it burn completely across its entire surface each and every time you light it. We've also found that trimming your wick and avoiding drafts and moisture will help lengthen the life of your candle.
What is a Burn Time?
A candle's 'Burn Time' is the average expected life of that particular candle in a measurement of hours. To get this measurement most candle companies test burn a candle and base their evaluation on several controlled burns of about 1-4 hours per burn. Each time after the flame is extinguished, the wax is allowed to cool completely and the wick is trimmed. So naturally you'd want to burn your candles in this way as well to get all of those hours that your candle is promising you.
Why should I burn my candle to each edge completely?
We've all had those moments where we light a new candle and then almost immediately have to leave the house for an errand and blow the candle out prematurely.
Ensuring that you get an even and complete burn each and every time you light your candle is crucial to the overall enjoyment and value you'll potentially get from it.
When extinguishing your candle prematurely, you'll notice a small circle of wax at a lower elevation closer to the wick. This previous burn pool creates a memory for your candle, on subsequent burns it will favor this area, maybe pull some new wax from outside of that circle, but the burn pool will ultimately not reach to each edge of the vessel if this is the case. A tunneling effect will most likely occur, which may even get worse each time you use your candle. In most cases, this tunnel will result in the flame extinguishing itself by drowning in wax. If you're looking to enjoy your candles to their fullest potential it's so important to ensure an even and complete burn each time to get your money's worth.
When should I trim my wick?
An excess in the length of your wick will create an environment where it needs more fuel to survive and thus eats more wax at a quicker rate.
Trimming your wick at regular intervals while the wax has cooled will keep it at a manageable size for your candle. Larger, mismanaged wicks will also emit more smoke when they've become too tall for the needs of the candle.
When your candle is extinguished and has had a chance to cool, with a pair of scissors, wick trimming shears, or your fingers and carefully break off a portion of the wick at about 1/4" above the level surface of your candle (and remove this debris from the candle). Usually this part of the wick is especially brittle or has a bulbous top and is easy to break off with your fingers.