High Performance Candle Care Tips Everyone Needs to Know

The Garden District Collection - A New Orleans Candle Collection by Parish Scents

Taking care of a candle is easy to do, but there are a lot of contradictory and inadequate candle care tips out there about how to properly care for a candle.

When you do not properly take care of a candle, unpleasant things can develop that take away from the overall experience of lighting it up.

When you purchase a Parish Scents candle, I want to make sure that you have the best information available to make the most out of your New Orleans candle.

While these are mostly soy candle care tips, you can apply them to pretty much any kind of container candle (whether it's a soy wax candle or not), including all of the candles that you'll find right here on Parish Scents.

Here are some of the best, proper candle care tips you should follow for your candles:

If your candle has a cover - use it

A scented candle container that comes with a lid will retain its scent for far longer than a candle that does not come with one. Most candle jars will come with a lid that screws on and creates an air tight candle vessel.

If a candle sits uncovered, over time, the exposed layer of wax will dry out, and as more time passes, it will dry out and the fragrance will evaporate and fade out of the candle.

A NOLA Kinda Morning candle with a lid

This candle care tip will help the wax retain moisture and prevent the fragrance from dissipating as quickly as it would without the lid.

If your candle does not come with a lid, there are other ways to help retain the scent such as airtight containers, Ziploc storage bags, wax paper wraps and more.

If you do not plan on using your candle for a while, it's best to put the lid on it and store it away from any significant sources of heat - such as direct sunlight - or extremely dry environments.

Do not burn your candle too long

It's always exciting to get a new candle! It's lovely to get your favorite scent - or maybe a new one - but be careful not to burn it too long!

A 2-3 hour burn is fine with most candles; assuming it's an 8 oz candle or bigger. Every minute you go over 4 hours risks things like smoking, excess soot, wick mushrooming, unnecessary heat risks, excessive melted wax pool, and more.

While this particular candle care tip may seem more like it's related to safety, you'd be surprised what proper burn times can do for the overall performance of your candle!

Trim your candle wick to a 1/4 inch

Of all the candle care tips you've read before, wick trimming is probably the most common one. The reason it's one of the most common ones is because it's so important!

Nearly every candle - soy wax or not - should always be trimmed down to a 1/4-inch height to get the best burn and performance out of the candle.

Carondelet Candle Jar by Parish Scents - A New Orleans Candle Company

This simple candle maintenance trick can make your New Orleans candle last longer, throw the scent more efficiently and eliminate wick mushrooming or smoking.

Never trim the wick when the candle is still hot, or the wax is not solid. Wait until the candle is solidified at room temperature before doing any trimming.

Melt your candle edge to edge

When you first purchase a candle, allow for an initial burn time long enough to develop a "fully melted pool" of wax, from edge to edge.

This "trains" the candle for future burns to burn that way each time you light it up. It's not the end of the world if that doesn't happen on the first burn, but it's best to try!

What can happen with some candles is what's called "tunneling". This is when hard wax is left on one or more sides of the candle, while most of the candle burns down properly.

Eventually, the wax on the sides will also melt as the flame gets lower into the vessel, but this can damper the overall performance of the wick when that happens.

Ideally, you'd like to try to prevent candle tunneling whenever possible so it's best to practice this candle care tip whenever possible.

If, despite your best efforts, the candle still "tunnels", you can try this nifty trick to make the candle burn evenly again.

Do not burn your candle too low

The general consensus on how low is "too low" is 1/2-inch. If your candle has burned down and only 1/2-inch of wax is left, it's time to stop burning it permanently.

It's always better to play it on the safe side when it comes to fire, so you can call it quits if it's higher than 1/2-inch of wax, but never let it go lower than that.

The lower a flame gets into a candle vessel, the hotter the vessel is because the heat becomes trapped and builds up in the walls of the vessel. This can cause a vessel to crack, or even completely shatter, which can cause all kinds of bad things to happen.

Instead of taking that risk - blow the candle out.

Pay attention to the diameter of the candle

A common misconception is that if you have a small 2, 4, 6 or even 8 oz candle, that you won't get a good hot throw if you light it in a larger room.

In reality - while there are certainly many factors in how a candle is made that determine how well it throws a scent - a significant factor regarding hot throw performance is the diameter of the candle and the size of the room you've placed it in.

For example: If the diameter of your candle is only 1" - 3" wide and you are burning it in a 500 square foot room, then sure, you may not have an extraordinarily strong scent in the room.

However, if the vessel is wider and has a 3.5"+ diameter, then the hot throw has a better chance of being significantly stronger than even a larger 20 oz candle that only has a 3" diameter.

In fact - assuming all else is equal - the larger the diameter of the vessel, the higher the likelihood is that the scent will spread far and wide across the room.

So, depending on whether you want a strong scent, or a subtle one, pay attention to the diameter of the candle, and the room you are placing it in for optimum results.

Burn your candle in the proper environment

The performance of a candle can be greatly affected by the environment in which you are trying to burn it. One of the things that can have a significant impact on the performance of a candle is a draft.

If there is a draft in the immediate vicinity of where your candle is burning, it can cause the flame to dance, flicker heavily and burn too hot and too close to the vessel walls. A draft can even cause a candle to produce black smoke and make the wick mushroom.

If you notice any of that happening, try moving the candle away from the draft.

Never touch a hot candle

It doesn't matter how you get them... burns never feel good. And make no mistake, a hot candle vessel can and will burn you if you touch it when it's hot enough.

The best policy is to simply never touch a candle when it's hot. And not just because the vessel might burn you. If the candle is hot, that means that the wax inside of the vessel is a liquid, and liquids splash and spill. And hot candle wax will most certainly burn you.

Aside from safety concerns, moving a candle can also affect the performance of the candle. It can cause the wax to splash or slide up against the walls of the vessel, extinguish the wick with a coating of wax, or even move from a level surface to an uneven one causing the wax to harden at a weird angle.

For both safety and performance reasons, it's best to just never touch a hot candle.

Rotate your candle between burns

Every house and surface is different, and most surfaces that you burn on will not be perfectly level. That means that the melted wax pool may tend to lean to one side, even if it's not super noticeable.

To help the wax pool melt more evenly as the wick burns down further down in the vessel, simply rotate the candle a few degrees between burns. This will ensure a more even burn with the remaining wax!

Candle Safety Tips

In the previous sections, everything that was discussed was primarily focused on the overall performance and care for your candle.

In the following sections, I'm going to cover more safety-related candle tips so that you can avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes that affect thousands of candle-lovers every year in the US.

Always burn on a heat safe, non-flammable surface

Whenever you have a candle flame inside of a vessel, at the very least, you want to make sure that it is on a heat resistant surface, and preferrably a non-flammable surface. Depending on the style of candle vessel that you have, some of them can get extremely hot!

When that happens, you want to make sure that the candle is not sitting on a surface that can become damaged from the heat.

Surfaces like wood, vinyl, cloth, etc, are all examples of surfaces that you should NOT set a candle on top of. Any surface that poses a potential fire hazard is best to avoid entirely when it comes to candles!

Never burn a candle near flammable objects

Along those same lines, it's also important that you never burn a candle near any potentially flammable objects or materials. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, window curtains, bedding, clothing, carpeting, walls, and more.

This candle safety tip is one of the most important ones on this list, especially since FEMA statistics indicate that 23,600 fires in the US each year are due to candles. Over half of those fires are a direct result of the candle being placed too close to combustible materials.

Simple precautions can prevent significant damages.

Never burn candles around pets

One of the lesser-known pieces of advice on candle care is that you should never burn candles near pets. There are multiple reasons for this, including:

1. Just like humans, some pets may be highly sensitive to certain fragrances and essential oils, especially when vaporized or burned. If your pet shows any signs of being bothered by the candle you are burning, do not burn the candle near your pet.

2. Pets may knock over, or play with candles, causing unintended consequences.

Cats, in particular, are able to reach nearly any surface height in a home, so it's important to never leave the area where a candle is lit, ESPECIALLY if you have a pet in the area.

Candles should not be burned around kids

I have three kids and I love candles. Unfortunately, kids and candles don't mix well. Kids are rowdy, they bump into things, they climb stuff, they knock things over... It's best to keep candles and kids separate.

Never leave a candle unattended

Which brings us to the next great piece of advice... Never leave your candle burning unattended. A candle is fire, and fire is unpredictable. Never, ever, ever leave a candle burning unattended. Always make sure that candles are fully blown out and extinguished prior to walking away.

Do not mess with an unusual candle

I lightly touched on this point in a previous section, but it's important enough to dive into it in a little more detail.

A candle is literally a fire, so it's always best to err on the side of caution if you notice your candle doing weird things.

Is the vessel getting hotter than usual? Is the wick not staying in place? Is the wick smoking a lot even when you have trimmed it properly? Are there bubbles on the surface as the wax melts? Is the wax becoming increasingly discolored from intense heat?

These are all signs that something may not be right with the candle. The wick holder may have come unsealed from the bottom of the candle vessel. The fragrance oil may not have properly bonded with the wax when it was mixed and poured. There may be a draft where you're burning the candle and it's causing it to burn too high and too hot.

In the unlikely event that any of those things happen, it may be best to extinguish it.

Candle Care & Candle Safety Wrap Up

Well, I think I covered everything, but you let me know. When it comes to candle care and candle safety, am I missing anything? Comment below!

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