How to burn a pillar candle correctly
To get the most out of your candle you should know how to burn it correctly. Following these guidelines will ensure you get the maximum burn time out of your candle.
Trim The Wick
Before burning a candle you should trim the wick. This applies every time you burn the candle.
Ideally it should be somewhere around 5mm in length from the top of the candle. This ensures the candle burns evenly with a clean flame. Too long and it is likely to smoke. Too short and the candle won't burn properly and is likely to go out.
Did you know candle wax has a memory. Not the kind we do but it will remember where it was burnt too across previously and tend to only burn to that position again. If not left long enough after the first burn it is likely to tunnel.
In order to avoid tunnelling of your nice new candle you should plan ahead when burning your candle for the first time. If possible you should let the candle burn right to the edges which, depending on the diameter of the candle, could take several hours. Our 140 hour pillar candles will take around 3-4 hours to reach the edges.
The next time you burn your candle is shouldn't take as long to reach the edge but you should still burn it long enough to ensure this happens, again to prevent tunnelling. Lighting a candle on a whim and blowing it out again an hour later really isn't going to give you the most from your candle.
Don't burn your candle for more than 4 hours at a time. Usually after this time the wick will have started to gather soot (even on a soy candle). This will result in the candle flame burning unevenly, potentially too high and will cause uneven melting of your candle, possibly even causing it to drip wax over the edge. This is also why we trim the wick after every use.
Where you burn your candle is just as important as how.
We had somebody complain that their candle melted down one side not long after lighting. They sent us a photograph of the candle sitting on the side of their fireplace, with a large real fire blazing away. Tip number 1. Don't burn your candle next to a massive heat source! Wax gets soft when it is warm. The softer the wax, the more likely the candle will collapse causing wax to pour out down the side!
This also applies to burning candles outside in summer. We have had occassions where people have used our Citronella Pillar Candles outside, in the midday sun, on the hottest day of the year, with the candle in a candle glass jar, and wonder why it melted after around 12 hours. It's because you effectively put it into a greenhouse! The temperature inside that glass must have been pushing 80 Celsius at times. Pillar candle wax melts around 56 Celsius. If you really have to burn a candle in the midday sun at least put it in shade, out of direct sunlight.
Draughts will cause your candle to burn unevenly. The flame will be blowing to one side which will cause that side to melt quicker than the other, causeing an uneven melt which could result in one side of the candle collapsing and spilling wax down the side. To burn correctly a candle flame should be even and upright to ensure even melting.
Blowing Out Your Candle
Don't blow out your candle!
Blowing out your candle causes several problems.
Firstly, have you noticed the wick still smoulders after blowing it out? This is the cotton wick smouldering and turning to ash, which won't help produce a clean flame the next time you light it. Plus it stinks. If you've just been burning a lovely scented candle the last thing you want is to replace that fragrance with burning cotton.
Secondly, you can potentially blow very hot wax all over the place. The wick is sitting in a pool of molten wax which you are not blowing. If you really do have to blow it out then at least put a finger in front of the wick while you blow. This will cause the air to move around your finger to extinguish the flame without directly blowing the molten wax all over your table or furniture.
In order to correctly, and safely extinguish a candle you should push the wick into the molten wax and then lift it out again. This extinquishes the flame completely and also ensures the wick is pre-waxed again ready for it's next lighting.
You can purchase proper wick dippers but you can use a knife, tweezers, a toothpick (making sure it doesn't catch fire) , etc. Just make sure that you lift the wick back out of the molten wax after it is extinguished otherwise you'll be digging it out the next time you want to light the candle!