How to burn a candle correctly

Most people don't realise that there is a right way to burn a candle — and most people have no idea what that is.

Follow these guidelines and you'll get way more out of your candles every time with no wasted wax (or scent).

1. Trim the wick. Every. Single. Time.

Each time you want to burn your candle, start by trimming the wick to between 1/8 and 1/4 inches long. You can use scissors, nail clippers (that's my personal favorite), or our wick trimmer (coming soon) but no matter what you do, always trim, every single time.

Why every time? Trimmed wicks will give you a cleaner, brighter burn. Untrimmed wicks are a lot more likely to take on a strange shape that dulls and obscures the flame. Also  excessively long wicks cause nasty smoky stains that end up on your glass jar candles - not a problem with our tin candles however trimming the wick keeps the flame in control. 

2. Let the wax melt all the way across.

Once your candle's lit, DON'T blow it out until the top layer of wax has melted all the way across. This might take several hours  so don't set out to burn a candle at all unless you've got the time to do so. This is also called candle memory.

Whenever you fail to achieve full melt, you're contributing to a process called tunnelling. The wick starts to sink lower and lower, like a tunnel is forming right through the center of the candle. Eventually, the tunnel will grow so deep that it'll be tough to light the wick at all. More importantly, all that unmelted wax on the sides represents hours of lovely fragrance and burn time you bought but won't ever get to utilize.

It takes patience, but if you melt the wax all the way across every time you burn, the surface of the candle will stay flat and the sides of the tin (or jar) will stay clean, all the way down until the candle is spent.

4. Buy multi-wick candles.

At INSTINKS we have changed all our candles to multi wicks. If your like me, it's hard to find enough time for a proper burn. The solution? Buy a candle with two or more wicks. More flames means more heat — which leads to a quicker melt.It also throws more scent.

Be wary of extra-wide candles that only have one wick. If the candle surface has just one wick and a diameter of more than 5-6cm, don't buy it. One wick will never produce enough heat to melt it all the way across, especially within 4 hours..

5. Keep the flame away from moving air.

Do your best to keep your burning candle away from open windows, fans, air conditioners or heavily trafficked areas where people walk back and forth a lot. Moving air can disturb the flame, which can also stain the tin or jar, and can give you tunneling and other issues.

6. Dip your wicks to extinguish the flame.

This is probably one of the most important steps that people miss.
You’ve probably noticed that when you blow out a candle, it smokes – sometimes a lot. That’s because the core of the wick continues to burn for a short time, the inside of the wick can turn to carbon (ash), making it brittle and the candle hard to light the next time.

Then there’s the smell. After allowing a fragrant candle to burn, why wipe out all that beautiful scent with the smell of smoke? It can be dangerous, you could accidentally blow some of the melted wax right off of the candle.

How do you dip a wick? INSTINKS sell ‘wick dippers,’ (coming soon) However, you can use anything from tweezers to a knife. After you extinguish the candle, prop up the wick, pulling it out of the wax so it’s ready to light next time.