How to Burn Your Candle


What causes a candle to smoke, and what can I do to correct it?

At Colorado Wildflower Candles we have spent hours finding the right wick for our candles.  Selecting the correct wick is critical to making a candle that burns cleanly and properly.  A well-made candle will create virtually no smoke when burning properly. However, if the wick becomes too long, or an air current disturbs the flame’s teardrop shape, or the size of the mouth of a jar prevents sufficient air circulation,  a small amount of unburned carbon particles (soot) will escape from the flame as a visible wisp of smoke.

Any candle will emit soot if the flame is disturbed by a draft. A well designed candle will recover as soon as the draft is removed. To avoid this, always trim the wick to 1/4 or 3/8 inch before every use and be sure to place candles away from drafts, vents or air currents. If a candle continually flickers or smokes, it is not burning properly and should be extinguished. Allow the candle to cool, trim the wick, make sure the area is draft free, and then re-light.

How do I keep my candle from burning unevenly or “tunneling”?

This generally occurs when the candle isn’t allowed to form a uniform pool of melted wax on the first burn. “Tunneling” may occur if the candle is lit and extinguished before the pool of wax has formed. Upon the first lighting, let the candle burn for a couple of hours or until you see that the wax is melted all the way across the top of the candle. Some candle waxes seem to have more of a memory than others. What I mean is, if you burn it for a short time, when you relight the candle it will tend to repeat that burn pattern.

How do I get the longest burn from my candle?

To get the best burn from both pillar and container candles, burn the candle long enough the first time until a wax pool forms that covers almost the entire top of the candle. With pillar candles you need to leave a rim of about 1/8″. With container or jar candles the initial burn should create a burn pool that covers the entire top surface of the jar. Extinguish the candle when it reaches this point. Colorado Wildflower Candles pillar candles are designed to create a lantern of light as they burn.  Be sure to extinguish your burning candle when it reaches a rim of 1/8 inch from the edge on the first burn.  This sets the wick pool and allows for the lantern of light to continue as your candle burns.

The burn time depends on the diameter of the candle or container, the wick size, the type of wax, the ambient room temperature, drafts of air around the candle, etc. Each time you light the candle after that, plan to burn it until it reaches the “memory pool” you created with the first burn. Generally this is longer than the first burn. Following these guidelines will ensure a cleaner and longer lasting candle. You must also remember to reduce the wick to 1/4″ before each burn and keep all candles away from drafts as much as possible.

Why do some wicks become mushroom shaped?

When the candle is consuming wax more quickly than the flame can burn completely, carbon deposits may develop. This will most likely occur when the wick needs to be trimmed. Blow out the flame, trim the wick, clean off carbon deposit and relight the candle.

How safe is it to burn Colorado Wildflower Candles?

REMEMBER:  never leave a burning candle unattended. If you light it and leave the room (for any significant period of time), you need to extinguish the candle. So we tell our customers that a candle is as safe as the person lighting it.

What is the best way to extinguish a candle?

The best way to extinguish a candle is with a wick dipper. This is a metal tool designed to push the lit wick into the pool of melted wax to put out the flame. After the flame is extinguished, use the dipper to gently lift the wick back up. It is now wax coated and ready for the next burn. Using a wick dipper to extinguish a flame eliminates the smoke, smell and splattering that may occur when you blow a candle out. Another method is to use any metal tool to press the wick into the liquid wax. Then straighten the wick.

Are there safety rules for burning candles?

Candles are safe when burned properly, responsibly and according to manufactures directions. When burning candles, consumers should follow these basic safety rules:

  • Keep lighted candles in sight.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Never burn candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Keep candles away from drafts and vents.
  • Always use an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat resistant surface.

Leave a Reply


seven − = 4