candle care tips

6 Essential Candle Care Tips For Beginners

Master the art of candle care with 6 essential tips for beginners. Trim wicks, extinguish properly, choose scents wisely, and enhance your ambiance.

This will be tough to hear, but you've probably been breaking some fundamental candle-burning rules. We know what you're thinking: "I know how to burn a candle—don't you just light your candle and walk away?" 

The simple answer is no! Most people unknowingly sabotage their candles with every burn, especially those who blow them out (eek!)

Are you feeling aghast at your lack of candle-burning etiquette thus far? Don't panic—follow these bonafide Kalamazoo Candle-approved candle care instructions to get the most out of your favorite home decor item.

candle care instructions

6 Candle Care Tips: Get The Most Out Of Your Candles

Before you go butchering any more innocent candles, here's what you need to know about how to burn a candle properly. 

1. Trim the wick before lighting your candle.

What's the biggest mistake you're making? Not trimming your wicks.

Keeping a candle wick properly trimmed helps control the amount of melted wax the candle can reach, which will help reduce the amount of soot it creates. Properly trimming your wick will also help your candle to burn longer and emit a more potent scent (and who doesn't want that?) Trim the wick to ¼ inch before lighting the candle to ensure a controlled flame.

2. Use a candle wick dipper to put out your candle.

This is not a birthday party, people. Quit blowing out those candles when you're done! And don't even think about pouring water on your candle to put it out—water can cause the hot wax to splatter!

When you simply *poof* out a candle, the core of the wick (both wood and cotton) will continue to burn, creating a carbon-based ash that is both messy and problematic when you decide to relight.

Instead, use a wick dipper to dip your wick into the melted wax of the candle surrounding it to completely snuff out the flame and keep the nasty ash residue at bay.

how to care for a candle

3. Use the proper candle ratio to fill the room with fragrance.

Have you ever heard of the candle burning golden rule? (Okay, we may have made that up, but it's still important). For every 10 square feet of your home, you need at least 8 ounces of a candle.

Small living spaces can be filled with scent by one or two small candles without an issue. However, if you have a large room or an area with tall ceilings, you'll need three or four small candles (or one to two large ones) to really fill the space with fragrance.

4. Avoid drafty areas.

Something that many people don't consider is the location of their candles. For instance, air vents can diffuse that lovely fragrance into oblivion. So be sure to place your candle in a space away from air vents or any breezes flowing through the home (like by open windows or a fan).

5. Right fragrance, right time, right place. 

Yes, there is a science to the scents you should choose for each area of your home. The right fragrance in the room can set the correct vibe in that space. 

For example, fresh, bright scents (like citrus or clean linen) are perfect for areas where freshness is essential— like the bathroom. Keeping a space like this smelling tidy will help impress upon occupants its overall cleanliness outside of just the smell.

For areas like the bedroom, look for scents that promote a sense of calm and peace, like herbal fragrances (lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, etc.). Rich aromas like these can help entice sleep and keep your room smelling fresh yet cozy. For communal, larger living spaces, the fragrance world is your oyster—try something seasonal, like floral-scented candles or pumpkin spice candles.

6. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room. 

Make it a habit to put out candles before leaving the room, even if it's just for a short period. Seriously–never leave a burning candle unattended, as it can easily ignite nearby objects.

Oh, and be thoughtful if little humans or animals share your home. Place candles in areas where children and pets cannot reach them. When they're old enough, teach children about the dangers of playing with candles and the importance of fire safety.

Common Candle Care Tools 

From wick dippers to wick trimmers, from candle warmers to electric candle lighters (and obviously, the candles themselves), we've got everything you need to enhance your candle experience. Check out our candle Accessories Page or shop any of our Classic Fragrances to wow visitors with all your candle-burning knowledge. 

how long to burn a candle

Candle Care Frequently Asked Questions 

How long should you burn a candle?

The appropriate burn time for a candle depends on its size and wax type. Generally, it's recommended you don't burn a candle for longer than 4 hours at a time. This allows the wax to melt evenly and prevents tunneling. Prolonged burning can lead to uneven melting and safety concerns.

When do you stop burning a candle?

Cease burning a candle when about 1/2 inch of wax remains at the bottom. Continuing to burn beyond this point might overheat the container and cause it to crack. Also, never leave a candle burning unattended, and extinguish it before leaving the room or sleeping.

Why do my candles keep going out?

Candles may be extinguished repeatedly due to drafts, improperly trimmed wicks, incorrect wax pool depth, low-quality materials, or soot buildup. To prevent this, place candles away from air currents, trim the wick properly, allow the wax pool to reach the edges, choose high-quality candles, and regularly trim away soot.

How do you properly light a candle?

To ensure a steady and even burn, follow these steps when lighting a candle:

  • Trim the wick to about 1/4 inch before lighting to prevent excessive flickering and soot formation.
  • Put the candle on a flat, heat-resistant surface, away from drafts, flammable items, and direct sunlight.
  • Keep the candle away from strong drafts that can lead to uneven burning and extinguishing.
  • Use a long lighter or a matchstick to light the candle. Hold the flame at the base of the wick until it catches fire.
  • Allow the melted wax pool to reach the container's edges during the first burn. This prevents tunneling and ensures even burning throughout the candle's life.