Lookout Candle in Black Container

Lookout Candle

Burning a candle can create a cozy and relaxing ambiance, filling your space with a warm and inviting glow. However, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it's essential to know how to properly burn a candle. It has been a popular practice for centuries, whether for relaxation, meditation, or simply adding a touch of ambiance to a room. However, it's crucial to handle and burn candles with care to prevent accidents and ensure optimal performance.

It seems easy, right? Well, it turns out there are a TON of ways to burn a candle incorrectly. And if you burn a candle the wrong way, you’re left with unusable wax from tunneling (when your candle burns hollow), soot, or even damage to your space. By following a few simple steps, you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility that candles offer while keeping safety in mind.

Lighting a trimmed wick on a Ritual Candle

Handling the First Burn of a New Candle

The first burn of a new candle is crucial in ensuring an even and clean burn throughout its lifespan. Here's how to handle the first candle burn well:

  1. Prepare the Candle: Before lighting the new candle for the first time, ensure it is free from any dust or debris. Wipe the surface gently with a clean cloth to remove any impurities.

  2. Trim the Wick: Trim the wick to approximately ¼ inch (0.6 cm) before lighting the candle. A shorter wick helps promote a steady and controlled flame, preventing excessive flickering or soot.

  3. Time and Patience: The first burn of a new candle should be long enough for the entire surface of the wax to melt. This process helps establish a "memory burn," where the candle will continue to follow the melted wax pool during subsequent burns.

  4. Burn Duration: Allow the candle to burn for 2-4 hours the first time, or until the wax pool reaches the edges of the container. This promotes an even melt and prevents tunneling, where the candle burns only in the center, leaving unmelted wax around the edges.

  5. Avoid Extinguishing Too Soon: It's important not to extinguish the candle too soon during its first use. If the wax pool doesn't reach the edges, it can create a memory ring, leading to uneven burning in future uses. Yes, candle memory is a real thing!

  6. Patience for Larger Candles: Larger candles may require longer first burns to achieve a complete melt pool. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for burn duration based on the candle's size.

Remember, the first burn of your candle sets the foundation for the candle's performance throughout its lifespan. By allowing the wax to melt evenly during this initial burn, you can enjoy a longer-lasting and more efficient candle overall.

Now that you know how to handle burning a new candle, you can ensure optimal performance and maximize your enjoyment of its fragrance and ambiance. Now you can use the following tips to burn your candle properly with each use!

A candle's burning process starts with selection

Choosing the Right Candle

Selecting the right candle sets the foundation for a pleasant and safe burning experience. Here are a few factors to consider:

Candle Material

When choosing a candle, opt for high-quality materials such as soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax. These natural waxes burn cleaner and produce less soot than paraffin wax.

Candle Size and Shape

Consider the size and shape of the candle based on your preferences and the intended use. Pillar candles, votives, and container candles are popular choices, each offering unique aesthetic and burning characteristics.

Fragrance or Unscented

Decide whether you prefer scented or unscented candles. Scented candles can create an inviting atmosphere, but make sure the fragrance is not overpowering or irritating.


Crystal Topped Ritual Candles

Preparing the Candle

Before lighting the candle, it's important to prepare it properly. These steps ensure optimal burning conditions:

Trim the Wick

Trim the wick to approximately ¼ inch (0.6 cm) before each use. This helps maintain a clean and even burn, prevents excessive flickering, and reduces the risk of soot and smoke.

Clear the Area

Ensure the candle is placed on a heat-resistant surface away from flammable objects, drafts, and pets. Clear the surrounding area to prevent any accidents or hazards.

Candle Holders and Containers

For pillar or taper candles, use stable and non-flammable holders that can catch any dripping wax. For container candles, ensure the container is suitable for the candle's heat and size.

Lighting the Candle

Now that your candle is prepared, it's time to light it. Follow these steps for a safe and successful lighting process:

Use a Long-Handled Lighter or Matches

To avoid burning your fingers, use a long-handled lighter or matches when lighting the candle. Keep your hand steady and guide the flame towards the candle wick, until it catches fire.

Avoid Blowing Out the Flame

Blowing out the candle flame itself can cause the hot wax to splatter and increase the risk of accidental fires. Instead, use a candle snuffer or gently place the lid or a non-flammable object over the flame to extinguish it.


Multiple Candles on a table - Seasonal Candle Line

Monitoring the Burn

While the candle is burning, it's essential to keep an eye on it to ensure safety and optimal performance. Here's what you need to do:

Never Leave a Burning Candle Unattended

It's crucial to never leave a burning candle unattended. Always extinguish the candle before leaving the room or going to bed. Accidents can happen quickly, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Keep Away from Children and Pets

Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets. Curious little hands and wagging tails can easily knock over a candle, leading to accidents or injuries.

Avoid Drafty Areas

Candles placed in drafty areas can burn unevenly or create a larger flame, increasing the risk of accidents. Ensure the candle is placed in a stable and draft-free location.

Burn in Intervals

For longer-lasting candles, it's recommended to burn them in intervals. Allow the candle to burn for a few hours at a time, ensuring the wax pool reaches the edges of the container, preventing tunneling and allowing the candle to burn evenly.

Extinguishing the Candle

Once you're ready to extinguish the candle, do it safely with these steps:

Use a Candle Snuffer or Lid

Instead of blowing out the flame, use a candle snuffer or place a lid over the candle container, to extinguish it. This method minimizes the risk of hot wax splattering or embers flying.

Double-Check the Flame

Ensure that the flame is completely extinguished and there are no smoldering embers before leaving the candle unattended. A residual flame can reignite and cause a fire.

Candle Safety Tips

Here are some additional candles burning safety tips to keep in mind when burning candles:

Avoid Moving Candles While Lit

Moving a lit candle can be dangerous. Always extinguish the flame and allow the wax to solidify before moving the candle to a different location.

Store Candles Properly

When not in use, store candles in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This helps maintain their integrity and prevents them from melting or warping.

Keep the Candle Clean

Regularly clean the candle's container or holder to remove any debris, dust, or leftover wax. This keeps the candle looking fresh and ensures a clean burn.

Now You're Ready to Burn Your Candle!

Properly burning a candle enhances your experience and maintains a safe environment. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere and soothing glow of a candle while minimizing any risks. Remember to choose the right candle, prepare it adequately, monitor the burn, and extinguish it safely. Happy candle burning!

Shop Candles at Almanac Supply Co.

  • Full Candle Collection
  • Spring Candle
  • Summer Candle
  • Autumn Candle
  • Winter Candle
  • Lookout Candle
  • Ritual Candle - Unscented

    Meri is the business manager of Almanac Supply Co. and a freelance illustrator. Her favorite season is late fall, when it's finally cold enough in the southeast to wear sweaters and drink hot toddies. 

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