September 5, 2019


Do you want to get the most time and scent out of candles? There are a few simple tips you should know. Our guide on the best way to burn candles has all the tips you will need.

It seems so simple when you decide to burn candles. You get the candle out, find a lighter or match, and you light the wick. Job done. When you are heading out, or going to bed, you blow the candle out. What more could there be? Well, you are about to discover the best way to burn candles.

Short on time? Jump ahead to our cheat sheet.

So what IS the best way to burn candles?

The first thing you should do is make space. There should be at least a 10cm gap between your candle and anything else. The gap protects your other ornaments from the heat. It also allows the heat to dissipate. Which will help the wax to burn evenly.

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Where you place your candle is important. You want to avoid placing it too close to your wall. This can create black sooty marks on walls. Your candle should also be out of the way of air flows. Moving air will cause the flame to move and create uneven wax or worse tunnelling.

You should also place your candle on a heat proof mat. We have a specially designed candle coaster that is perfect for placing under your candles. If you have a long wick, trim it down. There is more on this further down.

Before you burn candles

Before you light your candle, you should know how long to burn it. Yes, there is a limit on how long you should burn your candles. There are dangers of leaving a candle to burn constantly. They include; wax burning faster, becoming nose blind to the scent, and over heating.

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If you burn candles in cycles you will prolong their life. As well as maximising the scent power, and value for your money. Most candle makers will tell you how long the cycle is for their candle.

The guide (by NCA) is 1 hour for each inch in diameter of your candle. For our scented candle jam jars we recommend 2.5 hours each burn cycle.

You can see this in action. As you burn candles the melted wax should form a pool in the jar. The pool should reach a maximum of 1cm deep. Anymore and the power of the scent and life of the candle will decline.

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After the first burn

After you have blown out the candle, leave it for several hours. It will be scorching which could cause burns. You also risk moving the wax, leading to an uneven surface which affects future burns.

Wait for the wax to become solid before you return to your candle. If your candle has a lid, this is when you put it on. Having a lid will seal in the scent. Otherwise it will leak out constantly and you will lose the wow factor when lit.

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When you want to light it again, trim down the wick to 1cm in length. Leave a slightly longer wick for larger candles. This will reduce carbon forming on the wick and that black mushrooming effect you see. Carbon forming causes smoke and the crackling and popping that happens with mushrooming.

All of these things will help stop a tunnel from forming in your candle. A tunnel is when the candle burns and melts a central hole in the wax. While the edges never melt and you end up with a tunnel to your wick.

Fix Candle Tunnelling in our Tips for Burning Candles in Winter

Burn Candles with Different Scents

A tip to maximise your burn time and scent is to switch up your fragrances. After you burn one fragrance select a different one for your next burn. This rotation will renew the wow factor giving you the most out of your candles.

You should also consider burning different scents in different rooms. Find a fresh scent for the bathroom, or a relaxing scent for the bedroom. Jessica (at the Domestic Bliss Squared blog) has some suggestions on scents for different rooms.

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Another reason to switch up scents is that you will instantly recognise the changing aromas. Moving from room to room will be an experience, this is when candles work best.

Linking some seasonal scents in to your rotation amps up the festive value. Mulled Wine and Cinnamon at Christmas or Pumpkin and Spice for Halloween.

After you have finished your candles and the wick will no longer light. It is time to recycle your candle jar. This is easier than you think. We have tips with inspiration on how to reuse your candle jar.

Best Way to Burn Candles Cheat Sheet

  1. Place the candle on a coaster.
  2. Leave 10cm space around it,
  3. Burn candles in 2.5hr – 4hr cycles,
  4. Trim the wick between burns
  5. Have a scent rotation for maximum wow factor.
About the Author

I'm the Chief Candle Maker here at Penseth Company. I also write guides and updates for the blog.

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