Candle Burning Tips

Does it annoy you as much as it does me when wax clings to the sides of your jar candle? Or when your pillar candle burns crooked and uneven? Or worse, springs a leak causing melted wax to flow onto your table?

Although there will always be a little bit of unpredictability when you burn a candle, a few candle burning tips should help overcome some of the common complaints.

Ideally pillar candles should burn evenly down the center. Likewise container candles should burn evenly with no wax left around the sides of the jar. It doesn’t always work that way though.

I hope these candle burning tips help.

One tip to maximize the use of your candle is burn time. So you might ask “How long should I let my candle burn?” The answer depends on whether it’s a container or pillar candle, the size of the candle and the type of wax.

A general rule of thumb is to let your candle burn one hour for each inch of diameter. For example if your jar or pillar is three inches in diameter, let the candle burn for three hours. But that is only a general rule.

Try to burn your container candles until the wax melts all the way to the sides of the jar. That could take from one to three hours, depending on the size of the jar. I wouldn’t recommend letting the candle burn for more than four hours though, unless it’s a larger candle, four or more inches in diameter.

Candles made from soy wax have what you might call ‘memory’. The candle ‘remembers’ the size of the melt pool and will tend to always burn to that spot. If the soy candle doesn’t burn all the way to the sides of the jar, it will continue to burn out to the same spot and you could end up with wax clinging to the sides and a well down the middle of your candle.

Air currents and drafts will affect the evenness of the burn. So will slightly uneven surfaces. I know I have a hard time finding perfectly level spots in my home. Another factor, which you have no control over, is that the wrong size wick could have been used, or the wick might be off center.

If your candles burn unevenly, with wax clinging to one side of the jar or pillars that look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, try these tips.

The simplest trick is to turn the candle, especially if the surface isn’t completely level. I do this all the time and it works. If I notice that my candle is burning unevenly, I’ll rotate it 1/4 to 1/2 turn. This works pretty well with both pillars and containers.

Sometimes I’ll take a tiny piece of cardboard and stick it under the candle to level it off. I’ve even placed a small piece of toothpick under one side of the candle. Unless you’re looking, you can’t even see it.

Unfortunately, if the candle maker used the wrong size wick, and you end up with a little pool of melted wax that won’t reach the sides of the jars, no matter how long you let it burn, you might just have to try a different candle.

If there’s a noticeable draft, with the flame flickering all over the place, move the candle to another location.

To get the maximum enjoyment from your candle, always remember to keep the wick trimmed to about 1/4″. A properly trimmed wick reduces smoke and soot, and makes for a more even burn. If you light your candle and it starts to smoke, or the flame is too large, put it out and wait for it to cool. Then trim the wick and light it again.

Oops . . . what if you trim the wick too close and can’t get the candle lit? Try digging a little well around the wick with a screwdriver or knife (working very carefully, of course).

Always remember, safety first. I hope these candle burning tips will help you to get the most enjoyment out of your perfect candle.


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