How to Burn a Candle the Right Way


Photo: Castorly Stock / Pexels

Burning a candle seems easy. You just light it, right? Turns out, most of us are doing it wrong. Read on for some expert-approved tips that will help you prolong the life of your candles and get the cleanest, most fragrant aroma from them.

Trim the wick

Before you light a candle, you should always trim the wick to around ¼ inch long. You can use a wick trimmer, scissors, or even a nail clipper, but remember to do it every time you burn your candle. Properly trimmed wicks burn brighter and cleaner (aka less smoke) and won’t leave black soot stains on the inside of the vessel.

Let the wax melt completely

Now that your candle is burning, don’t put it out until the wax has melted and pooled all the way to the edges of the vessel. In other words, the entire top layer of the candle should be liquid wax. This might take 3-4 hours, depending on your candle, so don’t light it if you’re planning on leaving the house. Letting the top pool helps keep the wax from tunneling and melting unevenly.

Don’t let it burn too long

On the other hand, you don’t want to burn a candle for longer than four to six hours. Burning a candle for too long can cause the wick to lean or float to one side. If you do happen to let it burn longer than you should have, straighten the wick after you extinguish it.

Don’t blow it out

When you blow out a candle, it sends black ash particles flying into the melted wax. Instead, use a candle snuffer or replace the cover of the candle on top to gently extinguish the flame.

Choose the right spot

Place your candle on a level, non-flammable surface that’s away from curtains or any other type of fabric. You should also keep your candle away from moving air caused by fans, open windows, or people walking back and forth frequently—this helps the candle burn evenly.

Never leave a lit candle unattended

This may seem obvious, but seriously—lit candles should stay under your supervision at all times.

Now go forth, and burn your candle like the pros.