Common ways people ruin candles and how to avoid them

Candles are the perfect way to add a sense of relaxation to your home. However, there is more to burning a candle than simply lighting it. Caring for your candle incorrectly can damage it, shorten its life and spoil the entire experience. 

Five common ways people ruin candles:

1.     Not paying attention to the first burn

Burning your candle correctly the first time is essential. The first burn determines a candle’s success throughout the course of its life. When you initially light a candle, it is important to allow it to burn until a layer of melted wax covers its entire surface. If you don’t, the wax will create a ‘memory ring’. Once a memory ring is in place, your candle will only burn until it reaches that ring, causing the centre of your candle to sink. Eventually, this will lead to candle tunnelling.

2.     Burning candles for too long

Burning a candle for too long can cause the wick to float off centre, become unstable and produce a dangerously large flame. It can also cause soot and carbon to collect on the wick and around the candle. This not only harms the candle itself, but can lead to wax pool fires. 

3.     Not trimming the wick

It is important to trim a candle’s wick after every burn. Extinguish the flame, wait until the wax solidifies, then take a pair of scissors, nail clippers or a wick trimmer, and trim the wick back to 1/8th of an inch long. If a candle’s wick is not trimmed regularly, it will morph into a ‘mushroom’ shape, which dulls its flame and causes the candle to smoke more.

4.     Exposing them to drafts

Leaving a lit candle in moving air will cause it to burn unevenly and become lopsided. This will affect its performance, burn time and dramatically shorten the life of your candle. Before you strike a match, consider your environment. Are there any windows, air conditioners, or doors nearby? If so, it is best to burn your candle elsewhere. 

5.     Improper candle storage

Many people simply leave their candles where they like to burn them, even when they’re not in use. However, keeping them out in the open can lead to fading and discolouration. Storing candles in a cool, dry and dark place, such as a cupboard or dedicated drawer, helps protect their colour, fragrance and candle life. It is also advisable to store candles in a container with a lid to keep them free of dust and other debris.