Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All About Candles


It is now unofficially Fall so I felt it was the prefect time to talk abut candles. Most of us will begin burning them sometime this month if we are not already.

I bet you are like I used to be. You probably think a candle is a candle, a ball of wax, big deal. How complicated can it be to burn a candle?
Well, years ago I discovered a love for candles and learned that there really IS a proper way to care for your candles so that you get maximum enjoyment out of them.

I remember being invited to my first candle party
(I wont mention years, but to give you a hint I still lived in my parents basement at that time and was in you know how long ago THAT was!)
and how I was mesmerized at the many different types of candles there are, and to learn that there is really a proper way to care for your candles so that you get the maximum use and enjoyment out of them.

And to think.....all this time I would just burn them and blow them out. End of story. And if they didn't burn evenly I would just toss out the leftover wax and glass jar, or votive cup, and didn't give it a second thought.

What a waste!!!!  Had I known THEN what I know NOW I would have burned my candles with a little more care to make sure I used every inch of those suckers!
Today I am going to share with you some tips to help YOU burn your candles longer in an effort to save money AND get full enjoyment out of your favorite candles.
 (click on images to go to owning site)

NEVER burn your candles in a room while the ceiling fan is blowing.
The breeze may sound like a good idea to move the fragrance around the room, but it will cause your wick to lean, like the picture below, or the flame to flicker, and both of these will cause uneven burning and leave you with a half burned candle and lots of left over wax!

Trim your wick.
Maybe this is a no-brainer to some of you but before I got into candles I would let my candles burn and burn to the point that the wick would get so long that it would curl! 
That my friend is a candle no-no.
The curled wick will make it difficult for the air to circulate around it therefore it may not stay lit and it will produce a lot of soot.
Remember, fire needs oxygen in order to keep burning, so if the wick is curled under it can not get proper air flow and will not burn steadily.
Also, if you trim your wick, it should be cut to about
1/4-1/2 inch.

If the wick is too short it may not stay lit or if it does it may  have a weak flame and not burn properly.
Which again, will result in left over wax or a candle that you can't burn because the wick is drowning deep inside the wax.
They also make special scissors like these to specifically for trimming candle wicks, or you can simply use your own scissors....just be sure to keep the wick trimmed!

Tip #3
Always burn your candles until the wax has full melted across the top.
This is my second favorite candle tip.
I previously was notorious for burning a candle for 15 minutes while I took a quick bath, or while I was watching a TV show, etc. not realizing that I did not give the candle enough time to fully burn across the top. 
This was the main reason that my candles burned
right down the center.
Do you have the same problem?!
To prevent this from happening, make sure you let your candle fully burn across the top.
I personally like it to burn about a half inch down and fully across the top to keep it burning evenly all the way down.
This prevents the left over candle residue too so if you have a nice glass jar or votive holder it is easy to clean out and use once your candle is fully burned.

Do NOT blow your candles out!
When you are done burning your candle you should use a snuffer to put out the flame.
I know, this one is a tough one as most of us are inclined to blow it out when we are done burning it.
When we blow out the candle, it blows the wax and wick to the side and can make your wick lean which causes uneven burning and more soot.  
So what is a snuffer you ask?
This is a typical candle snuffer-
 Flickler Candle Snuffer
A snuffer is a bell shaped instrument like above that you hold over a burning wick to put out the candle.
It "snuffs" out the flame by closing off the oxygen that the candle needs to keep burning.

Tip #5
To remove soot from the rim of a candle jar, use a dry paper towel or cloth.
A dry cloth works much better than a wet one!
But you can buy candle wipes if you want to, I just prefer a dry paper towel over anything I have ever used.

Tip #6
My favorite tip of all.........
This primarily applies to non-jar candles like pillars and three wicks.

As the candle burns, gently cup the top of the candle and lightly squeeze it like a "hugging" motion just enough to keep the sides pushed in ever so slightly so that you get an even burn all the way down.

Hugging candle

My last three wick candle lasted me TWO full winters and I lit it a couple times a week. I used every inch of that candle and it burned down to a flat pancake like shape until it was fully burned up.
I was not a blogger then so I do not have a picture to show you of my candle, but this is what it looked like:
If you follow these six tips you can make your candles burn better and last longer.
And for even more great tips, here are two Youtube videos that I found to be fabulous resources for candle care!

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*Never leave burning candles unattended or in arms reach of children.  

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