The dull, early days of January are the perfect time to snuggle up with a scented candle. If you’ve just splashed out on a gorgeous new pillar candle – or maybe received one as a holiday gift – here’s how to make sure it lasts as long as possible.
These are all tried-and-tested tips to make candles burn for longer. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and take reasonable fire safety precautions.
Start off right
According to the experts, the first time you light a candle is the most important. This is when you establish the speed of the burn and make sure the wick is in the right position.
When you first light the candle, make sure it burns until all the wax on the top has melted. There shouldn’t be any solid wax around the edge. If your candle is “tunnelling” (melting in the middle but not at the sides), try wrapping some aluminum foil around it until the wax has melted properly.
Watch the wick
The quality of the wick, and the number of wicks in a candle, make a big difference to how well it burns. Larger candles should have more than one wicks and big pillar candles should have four.
Most high-quality candles use cotton wicks, which don’t need to be trimmed. But if you have a wick made of another material, or the wick seems very long, you can trim it shorter. This will make sure that it doesn’t burn down too fast.
Don’t burn out
Once your candle is lit, you want to encourage a smooth, steady burn. So first of all, make sure that your candle is on a level surface and away from any draughts. If there are breezes blowing through the room, then your candle will flicker more and the wick will get used up faster.
Keep the candle burning until the top layer of wax has melted properly. As a general rule, you should burn candles for one hour per inch across. So a four-inch diameter candle should burn for four hours before you snuff it out.
Chilled wax takes longer to burn, which makes your candle last longer. So you should always let a candle cool completely before you try to light it again. If you really want to extend your candle’s burn time, try keeping it in the refrigerator!