How To Burn A Candle Properly

Candles add to the ambiance of a room by delivering both fragrance and soft natural light, which makes the room look great.
November 11, 2019

How To Burn A Candle Properly

You just got your subscription candle in the mail and you’re ready to light it.

Do you know how to burn your new candle properly?

Make the wick catch fire, and voila, you did it! Right?


In fact, there’s a lot more to it if you want to get the most out of your candles. Chances are you’ve been doing it wrong your entire life.

But fret not, Vellabox is here to show you how you can correctly burn your candles so that you can get maximum enjoyment from them.

Why Candle Care is Necessary

You may be wondering why it’s necessary to read these steps.

Like all good things in life, candles require care and attention.

Imagine buying a brand-new candle, only to find that it is unusable after 2 or 3 uses. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone. You want to make sure you can keep enjoying all that your candle has to offer, without it getting ruined from improper usage or storage.

You wouldn’t buy a new piece of jewelry only to never give a second thought towards its maintenance. If you do, you’ll end up with something you can’t enjoy more than once.

It’s the same thing with candles. You want to be able to keep enjoying your candles until the last possible moment.

Convinced of the importance of candle care? Excellent.

Now let’s see how to keep those candles looking great.

How to Burn A Candle Properly

Candles add to the ambiance of a room by delivering both fragrance and soft natural light, which makes the room look great. The wax is responsible for the fragrance, and the wick is responsible for the shape of the flame.

In order to get the most use out of your candle, it’s important to tend to both the wax and the wick. These steps will help your candle look awesome while it’s in use, while also increasing the lifespan of the candle.

1. Gather Required Supplies

First, you’re going to need some supplies:

  • Candle: Obviously you’re going to need a candle. Choose high-quality candles made of soy or beeswax to avoid soot. Always be sure to avoid paraffin wax candles, as these are harmful to human health and the environment. In fact, since paraffin is a derivative of petroleum, paraffin wax candles can be compared to running a diesel truck in your living room – don’t expose your lungs or your furniture to that!
  • Wick Trimmer: Scissors won’t cut the wick well and can leave it dull and fraying. This creates excessive smoke and can ruin the wick. Nail clippers work well as a good alternative to a formal wick trimmer.
  • Matches: You’re going to need some matches, as a lighter is not ideal. The longer your matches, the better so that you don’t burn yourself.
  • Snuffer: A snuffer is a tool that will stop the flame, and it is highly recommended.

Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to enjoy your candle.

2. Trim the Wick

Before you light your candle, it’s important to make sure that the wick is trimmed. The wick should be trimmed down to about one eighth to one quarter of an inch long.

A wick of this length is ideal because it allows the flame to stand pretty and upright, rather than being lopsided. The wax will be heated equally in all directions from the center of the wick, which circles the flame and makes it stand up. This contributes to an even burn of the wax and helps to avoid ugly black rings around the candle’s container.

Make sure there are no trimmings left inside the candle or around the wick each time you use your candle.

3. Light Your Candle

When lighting your candle, always use a match. Matches are ideal over lighters because the burst of heat from a lighter igniting will burn the inside edges of the glass, contributing to the black rings appearing on the outer edges.

Light your match, and turn the candle sideways to ensure you don’t burn yourself as you light the wick. Make sure there is no liquid wax before you turn it, though.

Finally, watch the wick for any smoke. Your wick should never smoke or smolder. If it does, there may be wax on it or it may be cut improperly.

4. Let it Burn Evenly

Think of the first time you light your candle like your first kiss – you want to ensure you have plenty of time to enjoy it. The first burn of a candle should last around 2 or 3 hours to allow the candle to evenly melt the entire surface.

If you burn the candle for a shorter amount of time, it may not have a chance to melt the entire surface evenly. Instead, you will end up with a small ring in the middle that is shallower than the rest of the surface. This is known as a memory ring. Like elephants, candles always remember.

The next time you light the candle, the memory ring will melt first, forming a kind of valley in the center as it burns. The valley will always be shallower than the outermost edges, eventually leading to a good portion of the candle being wasted, as the outer edges will never be able to burn. This is known as tunneling.

To avoid tunneling, let your candle burn for a substantial amount of time. Make sure that the candle is level and burning evenly from the center outwards by trimming the wick and avoiding lighting your candle in places with lots of moving air. You also will want to monitor the surface of the candle periodically as it burns to ensure that no uneven surfaces are developing.

5. Snuff it With a Snuffer

When you’re ready to put out your candle, a snuffer is essential to do it properly. Just blowing out your candle may cause it to continue smoldering, which can affect the wick and contribute to smoke rings on the glass. A snuffer creates a nice, firm edge and minimizes the smoke.

6. Store it With a Lid

Before moving your candle, give it a chance to cool down. This allows the melted pool of wax to harden, avoiding the creation of an uneven surface.
Your candles should be stored in a dark, cool, and dry place with a lid on them to keep them clean. A lid helps keep out dust and debris while locking in the fragrance of the wax. Additionally, it helps prevent the wax from drying out or cracking, which will affect the way the candle burns.

Now You’re Set To Burn Your Candles Properly

If you’re a true candle lover, you’re among friends here at Vellabox. We offer a monthly subscription service where we send you the candle of the month in a gift box of your choosing. It’s a perfect way to enjoy a variety of seasonal scents from American artisans, while ensuring you keep your family safe from paraffin wax. Vellabox is the perfect matchmaker to ensure your candles love you back.

Sign up now for your candle subscription. There’s no contract and no obligation, just beautiful, artisanal candles delivered to your door each month.