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Tips to get the most out of your candles

Candles are so popular right now and for good reason. They create a relaxing ambiance and their fragrance can transform a space. Candles make great gifts and many people receive them at Christmas, for birthdays or maybe they give them to themselves (no judgment here). Over the years, I have occasionally heard consumers or even other candle makers complain that they have a hard time with wood wick candles. They love the crackle and unique flame but have said the flame is small or they have a challenge lighting them. Fear not, dear readers, for I am here to help!

There are a lot of different kinds of wood wicks and they vary in their thickness and width. Both are critical to a candle that burns well. It’s a bit of a challenge to parse out the role that width and thickness play but, in general, the wick width is primarily a function of the diameter of the candle container. A wick that is too small won’t allow the wax melt pool reach the sides of the vessel while one that is too large will cause a candle to burn too quickly. The thickness of the wick generally determines the heat produced by the flame and, therefore, the “hot throw” (ie-the amount of scent that is dispersed). A properly wicked candle will have taken into account both of these factors and tested them to find the best combination. It’s not easy, especially when you factor in different types and blends of wax, fragrance combinations, production techniques (pouring temperature, curing, etc).

So, how can you get the best use out of your new candle? Here are four tips to try.

  • Burn it long enough. The first time you light your candle, make sure you have enough time so that it can burn for several hours. The wax pool should melt all the way to the side of the container. Candle wax has a “memory” and if the first few burns are short, it can lead to tunneling where the wax melts down rather than out to the sides.
  • Trim your wick before each use.  A wick that has not been trimmed may have a small or weak flame. This is especially important with wooden wicks. I know this sounds counterintuitive but trust me. If you’ve been burning your candle and find the wick to be small, blow your candle out, give it a small trim and relight it. You can use regular scissors or special wick-trimming scissors if your candle has already burned far down into the container.  You can also just break off the charred bits with your finger.
  • Make sure its the right size for your space. A tiny candle in a big room is no bueno and a huge candle in a little bathroom is a waste!
  • Take a moment for yourself because each day is a gift. It might be a Netflix show, a glass of wine or a quiet moment of reflection on your day (or better yet, all three). Whatever it is, do it!

When you reach the bottom of your candle, use a pair of pliers or scissors to twist and remove the wick clip. You can then pour off the remaining wax (melt in the microwave without the clip, if necessary) and clean your tumbler with soap and water. Soy and plant-based waxes clean up easily (more so than paraffin). Personally, I wipe them out with a paper towel, hand wash, and put in the dishwasher in case I missed anything. Then I use my tumbler for another purpose (remember that glass of wine…?). Cheers!

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