Candles can enhance a space through their fragrances which evoke nature, childhood memories. But they require some precautions to get the most out of them. Here we provide 5 burning tips to avoid common problems encountered when using scented candles.
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My candle is not burning evenly (it tunnels)
A common problem among candle enthusiasts is “tunneling”, a term that refers to a candle that tunnels, does not burn to the end, forming a hole and leaving a lot of wax around the edges of the container. After a while, the candle becomes almost impossible to burn, because the wick does not get enough air to burn evenly and is drowned by melting the wax above it.
Tunneling should be monitored especially at the start of burning. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to fix it without removing and discarding wax. Because the wick will be too short to burn the excess around the crater. On the other hand, the less wax there is in the candle glass, the more it will heat up. Thus, halfway down the glass, the wax will tend to melt more easily, and naturally slide down the sides of the glass. Avoiding this crater phenomenon even with a wick that is not perfectly centered and vertical.
Avoid burning too short. The first few times you light your scented candle are particularly important. Ideally, burn your candle until its entire surface melts (maximum 4 hours for a standard-size candle). This way, when the wax cools, the surface of the candle remains uniform. However, it is possible to fix your scented candle by simply removing the surrounding wax to help the candle melt completely to its edges.
The wax also has a “memory”, which means it sometimes refuses to melt beyond its last melting and cooling point. It is therefore preferable to burn a candle until the wax melts to its edges, in order to maintain consistent burning throughout the life of the candle.
The wax may also not melt on one edge of the glass. Leaving a crescent shape of unmelted wax. You can fix this while burning by deliberately moving the wick closer to the side where the wax did not melt. Then recenter it once the candle has regained a flat surface. This technique is preferable to scraping the excess wax to the bottom of the glass, as you risk drowning the wick.
If despite this advice, your candle does not burn properly. Or if you want to be able to use it by lighting it for shorter periods, you can invest in a pierced bell (or make one with aluminum foil. Less aesthetic, but effective.). The goal is to retain heat while allowing air to pass through. So that the wax melts more easily.
My candle flame is too big
A flame that burns too high is also a flame that burns too strong. An exaggerated flame has three main disadvantages:
- Aesthetically, it is not very pretty.
- It will unnecessarily produce black smoke and soot.
- It will burn too quickly and waste your precious scented wax.
If you find that your candle’s flame is burning too strongly, the wick is probably too long and needs to be trimmed. The best practice is to trim the wick to 5 mm (10 mm maximum) before each burn.
To trim your wick, you can use a wick trimmer, scissors, or a piece of paper towel between the wick and your fingers. On this subject, we talk in another article about the many techniques to extinguish your candles without making smoke.
My candle smokes
If your candle is smoking, it may be that your wick is too long. As mentioned above, you need to trim it regularly.
Have you placed your candle in a draft?
Assuming your wick is trimmed to the proper height, a draft can cause excessive smoke release while it burns. The air that makes your candle’s flame dance also means that your wick is using the fuel at an irregular rate. As the wick draws oil from the candle wax, this means a buildup occurs inside the wick, because the flame does not burn as much oil as it absorbs. When the flame rises again, it burns too much fuel, leaving smoke behind. A simple solution is to move your candle away from fans, windows, open doors, air conditioners, and vents. This will ensure smooth burning and limit smoke production.
Is this the first time you light your candle?
A new wick can be longer so that it is strong enough to easily burn the entire wax surface on first use. Which is important as you will see in the next point.
My candle doesn’t smell much
To resolve the issue, first try burning your candle in a smaller room, like a bathroom, office, or small bedroom. In case the fragrance is simply more subtle than expected. Also, make sure the room is well-ventilated, so the smell before burning is neutral.
Also, try burning your candle for a longer period, as the fragrance diffusion depends on the size of the “wax pool” (the melted wax surface). This will be maximized after a few hours, allowing maximum fragrance diffusion.
In any case, keep in mind that olfactory sensitivity differs from one person to another. In addition to choosing your favorite scent (woody, floral, green, oriental…), you must assess your preferences in terms of intensity. If you like light scents, a powerful fragrance may seem overpowering. Conversely, if you like strong scents, a more delicate fragrance may seem too light.
If you want to discover our customizable scented candles, but the description does not allow you to get a clear idea of the intensity of a fragrance, do not hesitate to get guidance.
My candle is sweating
There can be several reasons that explain the “sweating” of a scented candle. But the most common is due to the candle’s oil content. Some candles have a higher oil concentration than others, depending on the ingredients that make it up.
Sometimes, it’s simply a phenomenon that occurs during the candle’s first burn and won’t happen again. You can use a paper towel to clean up the excess oil. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, this phenomenon has no impact on the fragrance diffusion quality of a scented candle.
Another factor that can accentuate your candle’s seepage is temperature. If you leave your scented candle near a heat source (radiator, oven, towel warmer, sunlight, etc.) it will have a direct impact on your candle’s surface. It will also tend to sweat more easily in periods of high heat. Waxes can retract and expand depending on temperature. Which can release oils to the surface. So be sure to protect your candles from heat and humidity so they maintain a smooth surface, and the wick keeps its effectiveness.
- Ideally, leave your candle lit until the entire surface is liquid.
- Burn your candle for a maximum of 4 consecutive hours.
- Trim your wick to 5 mm before each burn.
- Recenter your wick after each burn (or during burning if necessary).
- Do not leave your candle near a draft or heat source.