Most people don't realise that there is a right way to burn a candle.

Follow these instructions and you'll get more out of your candles every time with no wasted wax (or scent).

1. Trim the wick. Every. Single. Time.

Each time you want to burn your candle, start by trimming the wick to between 3mm and 6mm long. You can use scissors or nail clipper's.

Why every time? Trimmed wicks will give you a cleaner, brighter burn. Untrimmed wicks are a lot more likely to take on a strange shape that dulls and obscures the flame. Also  excessively long wicks cause nasty smoky stains that end up on your glass jar candles. Trimming the wick keeps the flame in control. 

2. Let the wax melt all the way across.

Once your candle is lit, DON'T blow it out until the top layer of wax has melted all the way across. This might take several hours  so don't set out to burn a candle at all unless you've got the time to do so. This is also called candle memory.

Whenever you fail to achieve full melt, you're contributing to a process called tunnelling. The wick starts to sink lower and lower, like a tunnel is forming right through the centre of the candle. Eventually, the tunnel will grow so deep that it'll be tough to light the wick at all. More importantly, all that unmelted wax on the sides represents hours of lovely fragrance and burn time you bought but won't ever get to utilise.


It takes patience, but if you melt the wax all the way across every time you burn, the surface of the candle will stay flat and the sides of the tin (or jar) will stay clean, all the way down until the candle is spent.

3. Only burn your candle for 4 hours at a time.

If you burn your candle for more than 4 hours at a time, carbon will collect on the wick, and your wick will begin to "mushroom." This can cause the wick to become unstable, the flame to get too large, your candle to smoke, and soot to be released into the air and around your candle container.

4. Keep the flame away from moving air.

Do your best to keep your burning candle away from open windows, fans, air conditioners or heavily trafficked areas where people walk back and forth a lot. Moving air can disturb the flame, which can also stain the tin or jar, and can give you tunneling and other issues.

5. Dip your wicks to extinguish the flame.

This is probably one of the most important steps that people miss.

You’ve probably noticed that when you blow out a candle, it smokes – sometimes a lot. That’s because the core of the wick continues to burn for a short time, the inside of the wick can turn to carbon (ash), making it brittle and the candle hard to light the next time.

Then there’s the smell. After allowing a fragrant candle to burn, why wipe out all that beautiful scent with the smell of smoke? It can be dangerous, you could accidentally blow some of the melted wax right off of the candle.

How do you dip a wick? You can use anything from tweezers to a knife. After you extinguish the candle, prop up the wick, pulling it out of the wax so it’s ready to light next time.


From the ember & ash team :)