There's a lot that can go wrong with a cheap candle. Good candles can be pricey, so make sure your getting the most out of yours. Here are five tips for burning candles the right way.
It's not uncommon for a lower quality candle to be wicked improperly. If it drowns itself out, it's probably under-wicked (the wick is too small for the wax type and/or the jar size).
So, it's a dud. There's not much you can do, except perhaps set the jar on a wax warmer to gently melt the wax and release it's fragrance.
An over-wicked candle is actually much worse, and can be dangerous. The too-large wick makes the flame too big, the jar too hot to handle (or even crack) and it may flicker wildly, creating a mess of black soot. Always keep an eye on your candles, especially if you're trying one for the very first time!
Like most other things, candles are rarely "perfect", but hopefully, you've found a pretty good one. Here are five tips to give you the best results from any candle:
- Trim the wick to 1/4" every time you re-light your candle, and you'll enjoy a like-new burn. Already combusted wick material does not burn well, and can make a sooty mess of even the best candles. A metal wick trimmer lasts forever, it's a great investment for any candle lover.
- Don't light it and forget it! Hours on end power burning is a safety-testing measure, but not recommended for the consumer. For best results, burn your candle in four hour increments.
- If you don't have enough time to let the candle form a full melt pool, (the melted wax reaches all edges of the jar) wait until you do. A full melt pool prevents tunneling, while releasing maximum scent.
Most candles melt at about an inch (in diameter) per hour. This means a candle that measures 3 inches across should take about 3 hours to form a full melt pool. The melted wax should be about 1/4" and 1/2" deep.
- Look for a steady, compact flame. If the flame becomes tall or flickers excessively, extinguish it, trim the wick and re-light.
5. Blowing out the flame can introduce wick debris into the wax. Instead, extinguish your candle with a wick snuffer, or briefly rest the lid on the jar. When the flame dies, remove the lid to release the trapped smoke and heat.
Proper candle care makes a huge difference in the performance of the candle, and also in how long the candle will last. I never knew any of this before I started making my own candles, I hope you found it helpful!