Surprise! You’re Burning Candles All Wrong

Posted on November 29, 2017 by cbcadmin in How-To-Guide

Chesapeake Bay Candle co-founder and CEO Mei Xu recently shared her candle care tips with Lynya Floyd, Health Director at Family Circle magazine. We are delighted to post Lynya's article on our blog because we believe everyone can get more out of their candles by following Mei's candle etiquette. To read the original version of the article, head over to Family Circle. 

Before you strike your next match, be sure avoid these pitfalls that diminish the aroma, attractiveness and longevity of jar candles.

The Five Ingredients for an Optimal Candle Burn

Whether you’re making the house smell delectable before guests arrive or trying to zen out after a long day, there’s an art to burning and caring for candles that goes beyond just lighting a wick. It’s all about eliminating the sixth element. “There are five ingredients that make getting an optimal burn for a candle difficult,” explains Mei Xu, co-founder and CEO of Chesapeake Bay Candle. “They are: Wick, wax, fragrance, color and vessel.” Candle makers work hard to balance all of these “ingredients” to make the perfect candle. But when you introduce a sixth element (something as simple as a draft), or throw those five out of whack (by, say, not trimming your wick), you get sooted glass, diminished scent, lost wicks and more. Learn how to light your fire the right way by snuffing out these slip-ups.

Milk & Honey Candles from the Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Milk & Honey Candles from the Heritage Collection

Mistake #1: Not Mastering The First Burn

The first time you light a candle, you’ll need the wax to melt all the way to the edge of the jar to create a good “memory burn” that impacts all future burns. So if you don’t have at least two hours, wait for another time. “Most people have lit a candle and blown it out in an hour,” says Fay Pottinger, co-founder of Scentered. “You end up with a tunneling effect that shrinks the size of your candle. You lose out on fragrance and it won’t last as long.”

Joy + Laughter Candles from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection Joy + Laughter Candles from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection

Mistake #2: Not 'Airing' on the Side of Caution

Keep your candle away from fans, ventilation ducts, air conditioning units, windows or any area in your home that might catch a breeze—one of those sixth elements. While you may think you’re circulating the lemon verbena or ocean breeze scent better, you’re actually not. “When you have a draft, it’s less likely you can burn into the pool of wax and that’s where you get the fragrance,” explains Xu. Also leaning flames won’t create an even burn.

Simplicity + Hope Large Jar and Reed Diffuser from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection Simplicity + Hope Large Jar and Reed Diffuser from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection

Mistake #3: Not Trimming the Wick

While you don’t have to snip the wick every single time you burn your candle, there are a few cases when you definitely should. One telltale trimming sign is that your flame has gotten too big—over an inch. Another is that black smoke is forming on the jar of the candle. One more: a “mushroom”-shaped wick. In general, just eyeball it before you light it and clip it to a centimeter if necessary.

Courage + Wisdom Candles from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection Courage + Wisdom Candles from the Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Collection

Mistake #4: Not Watching The Clock

Those wax wonders aren’t designed to go all night (or all day) long. “I’d suggest not burning a candle for more than three hours,” says Xu. “Longer than that and the wick can get buried in a deep pool of wax.” If that does happen, let the wax cool before attempting to find the wick.

Blood Orange Coffee Table Jar Candle from the Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Blood Orange Coffee Table Jar Candle from the Heritage Collection

Mistake #5: Not Realizing Size Matters

“A one-wick candle is more than enough for your normal bathroom or powder room,” explains Xu. “But if you have a very large living room or a multi-floor living room, you may want to consider a multi-wick candle.” That way you get that cranberry apple or sandlewood aroma throughout your entire space.

Fig & Redwood Small Jar Candle from the Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Fig & Redwood Small Jar Candle from the Heritage Collection

 Mistake #6: Not Covering it Up

Don’t let your sixth element be dust. “It actually contains a lot of rubbish you don’t want to be burning,” explains Pottinger. Gently clean off the surface with a tissue before lighting your candle.

Wild Lemongrass Double Wick Tin Candle from the Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Wild Lemongrass Double Wick Tin Candle from the Heritage Collection

Mistake #7 Not Putting It to Use

Maybe you only want the scent of pine or gingerbread when December rolls around. Or someone gave you a candle years ago that you’ve been waiting to re-gift. Either way: The clock is ticking. “Candles don’t have a shelf life like cosmetics, but I’d say three years in its packaging is how long they last,” says Pottinger. “Any longer than that you’d expect deterioration in the fragrance.”

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This story was written by Lynya Floyd, Health Director at Family Circle magazine. The article was published on November 28, 2017. You can read the original version here. 

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