Candle Care 101: How To Properly Care for Your Candles?

by Laura C. Jones

Candles are not complicated. You unpackage them, light the wick, and enjoy the beautiful fragrance, right? Not so fast! All candles are not created equal. Many of us have the mindset that candles don’t require too much attention. However, no candle set will last until you learn a few basics on how to properly care for them.

Safety First

The most important thing to know about caring for your candles is safety. Although they are beautiful and fragrant, candles are more than a decoration in your home. They are, after all, an open flame. While it may not be a bonfire in your living room, fire demands some special consideration. Proper use of your candle set will not only guarantee everyone’s safety, but prolong the life of your candle.

Before you begin, locate a safe place to display and light your candle. Keep in mind that we often burn candles for several hours and they are not usually watched continually. Be sure your candle has a flat, non-slippery surface to rest on. Most candles are housed in glass, which can easily slide off a smooth shelf. Make sure the surface is placed high enough away, so pets, small children, and you don’t accidentally knock it over.

Next, be sure there are no surrounding objects that could come in contact with the candle flame-like curtains or loose papers. Avoid drafty areas, and don’t place a lit candle on a closed-in bookshelf. Before lighting, ensure there is no debris (dust/cat hair) in the wax pool. It should go without saying that you should never leave a candle unattended. It is recommended that you never burn a candle for longer than 4 hours.

When you are finished enjoying the candle, be sure to extinguish it by carefully blowing it out, being cautious not to splash the hot wax on yourself or surfaces. Never use the lid to put out the flame. Allow the candle to cool before replacing the lid completely.

Feel the Burn

A lot of candles aren’t made well and are quickly put together for things like the Christmas rush. A good candle, however, is worth a slight investment. When properly used and cared for, a well-made candle like the ones from snif, can last up to 60 hours!

On your first use, you can ensure an even burn by keeping the candle’s surface lit for two to three hours. This allows the wax to melt evenly from the start and get the most life out of your candle. Be sure the surface is level and away for drafts. Not only is that recommended for safety purposes, but drafts and uneven angles make the candle unbalanced.

You should limit your candle burns to four hours, which will also help avoid anything around the candle from getting too hot. In-between burns (or right before each use), trim your candle wick to approximately ¼ inch before lighting it. Be careful, but use sharp scissors for an even cut.

Have you ever seen a large black “cap” develop on your candle wick? That is called mushrooming, which happens when the wick to wax ratio is off. By trimming and maximizing your candle’s burn time, this can be avoided. It also helps lessen the smoke and reduces the soot and carbon build-up.

Another thing you can do to keep your candle burning evenly and looking great, is clean the glass between uses. Spray a paper towel or cloth rag with Windex or another glass cleaner – don’t spray directly onto the candle glass. Be sure the wax pool of the candle is completely cooled. Use the sprayed cloth to wipe away any soot inside or outside of the candle glass.

Keep the lid on your candle when not in use to avoid dust gathering in the wax pool. If your candle isn’t the type with a lid, dust it regularly with a paper towel or cloth. You also want to avoid placing your candle in direct sunlight, so the wax doesn’t melt or go soft.

If a candle is well-made, and properly cared for, it will burn completely down to the end of the glass that it’s in. However, for safety, you should retire your candle when there is about ¼ inch of wax left. Carefully remove the remaining wax; when it’s cooled, you can use a spoon to gently break it into pieces, then wipe the glass clean with a rag. The glass can be recycled or used in your home for other things (don’t forget about the lid!).

Now that you have the knowledge of Candle Care 101, you are sure to maximize the use and life of your candles so that they bring you hours of fragrant joy.

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