How to burn your candle correctly: Foolproof ways to extend candle life, longevity, and looks

How to burn your candle correctly: Foolproof ways to extend candle life, longevity, and looks


Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @soohyang

Imagine this: after a long day at work, you come home to your tastefully decorated apartment, all set to rest and recharge. You put Netflix on, fluff the pillows, and light a candle or two... only for it to start sputtering black smoke. What a way to kill the mood, huh? Tempting as it is to blame poor manufacturing and design, the fault actually lies in how you're burning your artisanal candles. Lucky for you, I — beauty writer Emily Heng — am a wealth of information, having worked at Yankee Candle during my school days. Here's everything you need to know about candle-burning.

Trim your candle wicks regularly.

This goes for newly-bought candles too, mind. Before lighting up, trim the wick to about 0.6cm using a pair of scissors. Nail clippers work too, or you could go the extra mile and purchase a specialised wick trimmer. This ensures a brighter, cleaner burn without black smoke. Owners of glass jar candles should be extra stringent and trim regularly, too, as extended wicks can cause the formation of dark, smoky stains along the sides and top of the vessel.


Achieve a full melt before blowing your candles out.

Nothing ruins the aesthetic of a gorgeous candle quite like an uneven level of wax. To prevent this, keep candles lit until you've noticed that the top layer of wax has all melted off. Incomplete melting results in a tunnelling syndrome, where the centre of the candle melts faster than the sides, making it harder to light the wick the more you burn it.


Place your candles away from windy places.

Never put your candles anywhere near a window, fan, air-conditioner, or even heavily trafficked areas where people are walking back and forth. Spaces with lots of moving air can lead to uneven burning, smoking, and a diminished scent, essentially wasting your hard-earned moolah. It's best to have them displayed in a cool, dark, or dry location.


Never burn your candle for more than four hours at a time.

Keep your candle to stay in tip-top shape by extinguishing it every four hours. If possible, allow it to cool for two hours, trim the wick, and re-light again to allow for maximum scent throw.


Don't burn your candle to the end.

We're all about maximising our dollar, but not at the expense of our safety. Burning candles to the point where all the wax is gone can cause glass jars to overheat and shatter. A good indication to stop is when you notice that there's about 1cm of wax left.


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