Wait...there's a RIGHT WAY to Burn a Candle?????
Have you ever burned a candle that doesn't burn all the way to the sides of the vessel? A ring of hard wax forms as the candle burns. Over time, the candle becomes difficult to light and drowns out from the wax melting down on top of it. We call this tunneling. Before we started our candle business, we thought this was the way candles burned. It's definitely NOT!
The first time a candle is lit, the stage is set for how the candle will behave for the rest of its life. The wax pool that forms during the first burn sets the "memory" for the wax ring for every burn that follows. That means if you light a candle, then blow it out before the wax pool reaches the sides of the vessel, that's the place where your wax pool will stop each time you light your candle.
A well constructed candle with the proper size and type of wick for the wax, fragrance and vessel, should burn evenly and completely. There should be about 1/4" melted wax across the top of the candle with no soot on the glass and no smoke.
How to Prevent Candle Tunneling
- Don't trim the wick the first time you burn a candle. This is the ONLY time you don't trim a candle wick.
- Let the candle burn long enough for the wax pool to reach the sides of the candle vessel. Usually, that means your candle should burn for one hour per inch of diameter of the vessel. If you're burning a candle with a 3" diameter, your first burn should be three hours. If it doesn't burn all the way to the edge, it's okay. Get as close as you can.
- The next time, and every additional time you burn the candle, you MUST trim the wick. Trimming the wick prevents soot on the vessel and smoke as the candle burns. If you trim the wick too short, your burn won't be hot enough. If you trim the wick too long, your candle could smoke or soot and your flame could become too high. There should never ever be any smoke or soot. If your candle is smoking, blow it out and trim the wick a bit. That often solves the problem.
- Try to let the candle burn to the edges or close to the edges of the vessel each time you burn it.
- Candles in tend to get hotter as the wax burns down. STOP burning the candle when 1/2" remains in the bottom of the jar. Burning further than that risks overheating the jar.