10 Ways to Care for a Candle
With Lori Palmer of Uncommon Scents
Written by Amanda Schultz with Lori Palmer | Oct 22, 2022
It’s starting to smell a lot like the holidays! Heyday’s kickoff to the holidays begins with the launch of our top-selling seasonal home fragrances. Each year we do an early release of our top-selling holiday favorites including Frasier Fir, Balsam and Cedar and Winter White. These seasonal candles are sure to fill up your home with the fragrance of the holiday season. Although you might be quick to light your candle right when you get it home, a certain amount of care and attention should go into your candles, both before the first burn and during the life of the candle. These simple, easy maintenance steps will provide you with perfect candle burnings, strong fragrance throws and will ultimately make your candles last longer.
Here's a top 10 list of tips from our very own expert, Lori Palmer of Uncommon Scents, on how to care for your candles for the ultimate burn and life of your favorite scents:
1. Let Your Candle Burn the First Time for a Full Life
When you go to burn your candle for the first time, it’s important to let your wick burn long enough to allow the wax pool to melt all the way to the edges of the candle vessel. This will create an even burn for the duration of the candle’s ‘life.’
2. Fix Tunnled Candles
The burn time of candles varies depending on the vessel and the environment in which the candle is burning in, but as a general rule of thumb every ounce of wax gives approximately 6-7 hours of burn time. If your candle already has a tunnel, try this tip: First, trim your wick (see tip #3 below) to prevent the flame from getting too big. Then, wrap the vessel with aluminum foil, leaving an opening at the top so your flame doesn’t burn out. This will bring heat to the edges and will force the wax pool to reach the edge of the vessel.
3. Trim Your Wick
This is of the utmost importance. After burning your candle for the recommended amount of time, make sure to trim your wick to about a quarter of an inch. Most candlemakers have moved away from metal wicks to paper and/or cotton wicks and this trimming will help keep the heat down, avoid mushrooming and will help prevent soot from building up on your candle vessel. If you trim your wick before each burn, your candle will maintain a nicer look and will experience a longer wick life. Longer, untrimmed wicks burn at a faster and hotter rate and will shorten the life of your candle. Remember to always trim the wick when the wax is fully dry.
4. Try Dipping the Wick
To avoid smoke when extinguishing the flame, try dipping the wick. This is a super-hot tip for making your room continue to smell like the candle fragrance, instead of an extinguished flame or match. It also keeps the vessel clean, will make your candle easier to light the next time you use it, and immediately fills a room with the fragrance of the candle at first light.
Instead of blowing out your candle, take the end of a match, wax dipper, or long skinny tool to dip the wick in the pool of hot wax. Then, use the same tool to immediately lift the wick from the hot wax and pull the wick up to harden. Trim and then you will be ready for your next use. This is more of a tip than a must. A snuffer will also accomplish this task
The process of using a wick dipping tool, dipping the wick in pool of wax, and pulling wick from wax and straightening.
5. Store Your Candles in Controlled Temperatures
When candles are not in use, be sure to store them in a cool, dry environment. Keep away from heat and direct sunlight to avoid the wax from softening or melting. Also, don’t store candles in freezing temperatures – the wax might shrink or crack in the vessel.
6. Clean Candles with Care
To clean a candle, dampen a microfiber cloth and carefully clean the top of the wax, not to disturb the wick. You can also store your candles while not in use under candle lids or a glass cloche which will also protect the candle from collecting dust.
7. Keep Candle Safety in Mind
It is best to usually discontinue use when ¼” – ½” of wax remains in your candle vessel. Most wicks are made to self-extinguish at the bottom; however, always best to keep candle safety-and good ‘ole common sense-in mind. Only burn candles on flat, heat safe surfaces, and of course, always keep away from children and pets. Avoid drafts if possible and never touch or move a hot candle.
8. Repurpose Your Vessel
Want to repurpose the candle vessel? Simply, place your vessel in boiling water until the wax melts enough to wipe clean with a paper towel. You can also freeze the vessel and remove the wax with a butter knife and clean well with soapy water.
9. Refill Your Vessel
A great way to save money on a new candle and repurpose your favorite candle vessel, drop it off at Heyday for a candle refill by Uncommon Scents.
10. Use Tools for Ultimate Candle Care
Invest in good tools for maintaining candle care, like a wick trimmer, which has a flat tip designed to cut at the perfect angle and provides a surface for the piece of old wick to sit on while trimming, which prevents little soot specks from getting stuck in your candle. You can also use small sharp scissors or nail clippers. A snuffer has the same benefits as dipping the wick. Complete your candle collection with a cute, functional match holder with a striker plate.
Not All Candles are Created Equal
Keep in mind that when picking out a candle, not all types of candles are the same. Lori’s favorite type of waxes are soy based, because it’s non-toxic with no carcinogens which results in cleaner burn times which are less likely to trigger allergies and is ultimately better for our environment. Soy wax also has a lower melting point so soy candles can be found to burn slower and longer than paraffin candles. At the end of the burn time, soy wax is also much easier to remove and clean before repurposing the candle vessel. Only use candles made with parabens and phthalates free fragrances.
There have been a lot of advances in candles over the past decade. While moving away from metal candle wicks to paper, many companies have also experimented with different blends of waxes in trying to find the perfect recipe for the cleanest, longest burn and ways to preserve the best possible scent throw. You can find a variety of wax options, but Lori recommends coconut, soybean and beeswax. which all offer a cleaner burn, are better for the environment, and can offer longer burn times and a stronger “scent throw.” Any candle made from beeswax brings a bonus with the natural scent of sweetness and honey.
Meet Our Expert Chandler
Lori Palmer, of Uncommon Scents, has been hand crafting unique, high quality fragranced candles for nearly 30 years. She is both thoughtful and meticulous in her selection of scents, quality of her soy candle wax and unique vessels. Her top-selling candles are a Heyday customer favorite.
Lori feels that candle making is her purpose and has allowed her to have amazing connections with incredible people in capturing memories in scent for people to hold onto and cherish. When she pours a candle it’s not just the action of pouring a candle, there’s a lot of love in that little flicker. Trust us, you’ll feel it when you light it!