How to Burn a Candle like an Expert


Follow these candle-burning tips to get the most mileage and enjoyment out of your favorite candles!

Burning a scented candle may seem simple enough, but there are many factors that can affect how well your candle burns. If you follow these simple rules, you will get a lot more mileage and enjoyment out of your favorite candles!

Tip One: Always trim your wicks!

Trim Your Wicks

Each time you want to burn your candle, you must first trim the wick to 1/4 inches long. I recommend using a specialized wick trimmer (seen here) but you can also use scissors or even nail clippers. Make sure there is no trimming debris left on the surface of your candle, as this can create soot and smoke.

Trimmed wicks will give you a cleaner, brighter burn. Untrimmed wicks are a lot more likely to take on a weird mushroom shape that can make the flame duller. Also, if you let your wicks get too long, they can give off a lot of smoke and soot that can stain your candle jars and even the walls of your house. 

Tip Two: Let your wax melt all the way across the surface!

Burn wax

This is CRUCIAL to enjoying all of your scented wax. Once your candle is lit, don’t blow it out until there is a pool of melted wax that covers the entire surface layer. This may take a couple of hours, so it’s best to enjoy your candle when you have some down time. If you don’t allow it to burn fully across, each subsequent burn will push the wick further down without burning the wax on the sides. This is called “tunneling” in the candle biz and it is one of the saddest things that can happen to a beautifully scented candle.

Tip Three: Burn safely!

Burn safely!

Candle safety is undoubtedly the most important tip. Always burn your candle on a heat-safe surface. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised what some of your tabletops may contain. I once made the mistake of burning a candle on a lacquered table and it burst into flames from the heat and fumes. This was in my candle novice days and thankfully I had a fire extinguisher, but the memory is emblazoned in my mind (no pun intended).

Beware of wind and curtains getting in the way of candle flames, a very dangerous combination. Drafty areas can also move the flame around, creating an uneven burn.

Don’t let your candles burn out! Ideally, you shouldn’t burn your candle for more than four hours at a time. Many candles will extinguish themselves, but if a flame sits at the bottom of the vessel for too long, it can get extremely hot.

Most importantly, never leave your candles unattended or in the way of children or pets.

Tip Four: Enjoy!


Scented candles are a great way to treat yourself, create an ambience, and unwind. If you follow these simple times then you will be a candle-burning pro!

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