It’s Tuesday evening.
You’re about to do a load of whites.
You reach for the bottle of laundry detergent.
And.... it's empty.
[ insert choice word(s) here]
Did someone use the last drop of detergent and put the bottle back on the shelf...? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
No worries, the night is young. You got this. You drive to the nearest big-box department store to replenish your detergent supply. While there, you lose yourself in the retail magic for a bit too long, and you finally leave with the following purchases:
- 1 bottle of dish soap
- 1 bottle of herbal-y hand soap (1 whiff and you were transported to HELLO SPA LOVE!)
- 1 mega-pack of paper towels
- 6 bottles of coconut water
- 1 tub of Greek yogurt
- 1 bag of almonds
- 1 bag of yogurt-covered pretzels from an endcap
- 1 bottle of Cabernet
- 3 pairs of Christmas socks that were so funny you literally laughed out loud (yes, as a matter of fact it IS January, but these babies are hilarious and they were on CLEARANCE!)
- 1 store-brand laundry-scented candle (it was on sale, and for some reason you had laundry on the brain anyway)
You're home. Mission accomplished. Except -- HOLD ON -- not only is your kitchen counter full of items you DON'T need, but you didn’t even purchase the item you went for in the first place.
Okay, people. This is the epitome of a weeknight conundrum. Do you:
A) go back to the store to buy the detergent,
B) pop open the bottle of wine, grab the yogurt-covered pretzels, light the candle (at least it will SMELL like laundry), and hunker down on the sofa?
(Yep. Us too.)
Go ahead: gather your wine & snacks, light your candle, and settle in to catch up on Gilmore Girls (love you, Netflix!). You’re only going to watch one episode, ok? Just ONE.
Two hours, three episodes, and a few glasses of wine later...
Mayyyybe it’s time to call it a night. You peel yourself off the sofa and walk over to blow out the candle. Leaning over the flame, you see this:
See the "wall" of wax around the top of the candle? We call this candle tunneling -- a veritable death sentence for candles. It may not look too bad right now, but this dry, hard ring of wax encircling your candle will likely never melt down. And make no mistake: it WILL GET WORSE. Lighting the candle will become more and more difficult, and eventually the wick will drown itself in the pool of melted wax accumulating in the center of the candle, and you’ll end up with a jar of hollowed, useless wax encircling a lonely little wick drowned and anchored for all eternity at the bottom of this ocean of sadness. (omg, cue the violin.)
Dramatic? Maybe. But this, friends, is a very real problem. One we've all had.
Left: tunneled candle (burned the wrong way)
Right: perfect candle (burned the right way!)
But wait, there’s hope! You don’t have to live a life surrounded by sad, wasted candles. (Spoiler alert: that’s not just “the way candles burn.”) There are ways to prevent it. Here’s how to get the most out of your candles:
- Buy a good quality candle.
Stop buying inexpensive (read: cheap) candles. You know the ones we're talking about. Rule of thumb: don't buy your candles at big-box department stores, craft stores, or *gasp!* hardware stores. A well-crafted candle is made using high-quality wax, as well as the appropriate wick for that particular candle. At Kalamazoo Candle, we have it down to a science: each candle requires its own specific size/style of wick, based on factors like fragrance, type of container, etc. (We test-burn each new fragrance for 3+ months prior to selling it!) A good candle, when burning, will have a healthy layer of melted wax spanning the surface, and the sides of the vessel should be clean & soot-free.
- Burn your candle the right way.
Even high-quality candles require some level of care in order to burn properly. Your candle’s initial burn is incredibly important, and it lays the groundwork for the life of that candle. When you invest in a good-quality candle (which promises a lengthy burn time), you want a solid return on that investment. You want to get the most out of your candle. Bonus: a properly-burned candle just looks nicer, plain and simple. Kalamazoo Candle recommends an initial burn of 4 hours, or until a full melt pool has formed. Subsequent burns should last until the entire surface of the candle is melted (1-2 hours for Kalamazoo Candles).
- Trim the wick.
Trim your wick prior to the initial burn, and k eep the wick trimmed to the appropriate length . Long wicks = smoke & soot. Short wicks = weak flame = partial melting power. If you light the wick and you see any smoke at all, blow out the flame and trim the wick just a bit. Kalamazoo Candle recommends trimming wicks to 1/4" before lighting. Wicks can be trimmed with a bona fide wick trimmer, but you can also use standard scissors to keep your wicks in check.
- Location, location, location.
First and foremost: place your candle in a SAFE spot. Burn your favorite Kalamazoo Candle away from windy areas and items that may catch fire. Candles should always be placed out of the reach of children and pets, and any open flames should never be left unattended. Lastly, avoid burning your candle near a window during the cold months. Cold temperatures can offset all your hard work and leave your candle with a pretty wicked tunnel.
So there you have it: 4 easy steps to a perfect burn, every time! Candles really aren't all that tricky, but (like so many other things in life) they just take a little bit of patience & a whole lot of love. Like we said, your best bet is to start with a high-quality candle. Check out our product page to find your next candle -- and burn it well!