Top Candle Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
I remember what it was like when I was first starting out as a candle maker. I went in thinking it seemed so easy, but found out that it’s much more difficult than it seems. I was always getting tripped up by the science and testing that goes into each and every batch. Once I finally figured it all out, I became very passionate about each one of my handcrafted masterpieces. So here I am to let you in on a few candle secrets to get the most out of your candle… Well, maybe not “secrets”, but definitely some good tips to care for your candle.
Mistake #1: Not trimming your wick
Almost everyone I know ends up making this mistake, even I've been prone to forgetting sometimes. It doesn’t seem very important and seems to be more trouble than what it’s worth. But trust me, it isn’t. Have you ever noticed that the wick of your candle turns into a little mushroom or starts to curl in on itself? This can create a larger flame than necessary and cause overburning which is why black smoke and soot may come from your candle. You don’t need to purchase an expensive wick trimmer, most burnt wicks can be trimmed by pinching off the tip otherwise a simple pair of scissors will certainly do the trick!
Mistake #2: Leaving wicks unlit
It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but trust me, it’s better to burn all the wicks in your candle. This means that the candle burns evenly and prevents ‘tunnelling’ which leaves unused wax in the vessel. There’s actually a scientific reason behind why a candle may have multiple wicks. Every wick burns differently; some burn hotter than others which is needed for paraffin or beeswax candles, and the size of the wick correlates to the size of the melt pool. Candlemakers spend a lot of time testing their candles as there are variables that can cause a candle to burn ineffectively. In order to create an ideal melt pool, multiple wicks may be required and positioned in a certain way to create an effective candle.
Mistake #3: Rushing the first burn
Most people don’t even realise they’re making this mistake and think that it’s normal to have remaining wax on the walls of the jar. You can avoid this by burning to the edge each and every time. Doing this during the first burn is most important as it sets the path for the candle to burn evenly for the life of the candle. If you ever experience tunnelling, you can help to reset it by melting the wax pool with a hairdryer or on a low heat in an oven. But NEVER in a microwave.
Mistake #4: Ignoring the warning label
Have you ever actually read the warning label on a candle? There are some fairly obvious ones, like “Keep out of reach from children and pets” and “Never leave a candle unattended”. But have you noticed the instructions that read, “Keep away from drafts and vibrations” or “Place the candle on a stable, heat resistant surface.” Drafts and vibrations can cause the candle to shift and potentially fall over, but they can also cause your candle to burn unevenly. Placing your candle on a heat resistant surface is also important as the heat from your candle can either melt or burn the surface. This can result in the candle overheating and cause the vessel to break or even explode. So it’s extremely important to follow these instructions.
Mistake #5: Not replacing the lid or dust cover
I’ve saved the best for last. That’s because most people throw away their dust cover or lid without a second thought. However, you can completely avoid a major fire hazard simply by replacing the cover once your candle is fully extinguished. If you end up misplacing the dust cover or lid, you can improvise a cover with almost anything, otherwise, ensure that you wipe clean the top of your candle before burning.
In summary, it’s important to take care of your candle to increase its lifespan. Much like anything else in life. So take this newfound knowledge and start making the most of your beloved candles today!