Candles not only make a home smell good but also add an element of warmth and coziness. However, maximizing a candle’s lifespan is not easy, and it’s a real bummer when you reach the end of your favorite candle. While burning a candle seems simple, there are actually many ways to ruin a candle, from tunneling and crooked wicks to soot build-up and uneven burns. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to fix these issues and keep your candles glowing longer.
Fix Tunneled Candles With a Hair Dryer
Allowing a candle to continue tunneling will ruin it quickly. To fix memory rings or tunnels, use a hairdryer to melt the top layers of wax and even it out. (Make sure the candle isn’t lit when you do this.) Another method is placing the candle in a warm oven and letting it sit at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for around five minutes. This should create a smooth, even surface that will burn evenly again.
Trim the Wicks
According to the National Candle Association, candles burn 25% longer if the wick is trimmed for every few hours of burning. This should be the first thing you do before burning a new candle. Trim it to around one-quarter of an inch to ensure a long burn, and repeat this before every burn. A wick that is too long creates too much heat, resulting in dripping, uneven burning, dangerously large flames, and sooting.
Don’t Underburn Candles
Blowing out a candle too soon can damage it, causing a tunnel or “memory ring” because it did not burn evenly across the surface. These rings are difficult to get rid of. To avoid this, burn the candle for about one hour per one-inch diameter of candle size. For example, a four-inch wide candle should burn for at least four hours every time you light it. This is one of the most common candle faux-pas. Nearly three-fourths of candle users burn candles for four hours or less per sitting. Of course, use your best judgment and don't leave a candle burning if you have to leave your home.
Don’t Overburn Candles
Letting a candle burn for too long causes carbon to collect on the wick, releasing lots of soot. It can also wholly liquify the candle, causing the wick to shift and become off-center. Aim to burn candles between four to six hours. Allow the candle to cool and solidify entirely before relighting it. Some manufacturers list the maximum burn time per session on the bottom label of candles, while others list the maximum burn time for the entire life of the candle.
Use a Snuffer
If you burn candles often, a snuffer is an excellent investment. It smothers the flame without much air movement so that soot, particles, and wax don’t fly all over the candle or surface, keeping the candle neat and prolonging its life.
Store With the Lid On
When you’re done using your candle, store it with the lid on in a cool, dry place, such as a dark cupboard. This preserves the wax and oils, which keeps it smelling nice for longer. The lid also prevents dust from collecting on the top of the wax, which causes sooty burns. Most candles can be stored for six to 12 months, depending on size, quality, and ingredients.
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