P.S… Scented Candles… And How To Get The Most Out Of Your Candles

November 5, 2012

Do you have any tricks to make your scented candles burn well and last longer? After the weekend’s conversation I was thinking that I should have mentioned how to care for scented candles…There are certain ways to ensure that they they burn well and last the longest…

I trim the wick before lighting the candle …if it’s too long, the candle will smoke and the glass will become covered in soot… too short and the candle will burn out… I leave about half a centimetre of wick above the wax line… Diptyque and Cire Trudon have excellent wicks… as do the Astier de Villatte range of scented candles.

The first lighting should only be for one hour… this will start the wax melting in an even fashion… Blow them out after the hour and let the wax solidify… Once the candle has set… light it again for a little longer… two hours… This prepares the candles to burn evenly and to burn right to the bottom of the glass…

After each burning I trim the wick… just a little to remove the softened/burnt end… not too much or it will be hard to re-light…

I try not to leave scented candles in a draft… a direct flow of air can make them burn unevenly…

This does seem like a lot of fuss for a scented candle … but…these steps work and your candles will last longer… significantly longer… There is nothing more frustrating than wicks that won’t burn or a candle that burns unevenly, leaving half the wax on the side of the glass…

Any steps I am missing?

I read with interest about the Paddywax range of candles… they came highly recommended by several of my readers… I haven’t tried them … but I am certainly going to…  In case you would like to … xv

Paddywax Library Collection

Jane Austen… here

Walt Whitman… here

Oscar Wilde… here

Leo Tolstoy… here

Edgar Allen Poe… here

I like the sound of this one… Pomegranate and Current… here

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44 Comments

  • Anita Rivera says:

    Good morning, Vicki! This is great advice, for I had never had luck with my larger pillar candles! I never know why I could never enjoy them to the end because I would end up with a smoking wick and a large candle only to put it in the trash! THANK YOU! Anita

  • Merci pour ces quelques astuces qui me permettront de conserver plus longtemps mes bougies qui me sont indispensables à l’atelier…
    Gros bisous

    • Vicki says:

      Martine,
      Essayez ces moyens de préserver tes bougies … et dites-moi ce que vous pensez … Je trouve cela m’aide vraiment ..

  • Marsi says:

    I had a Paddywax and found it had zero throw. They’re one of those things that’re much better in theory than in practice. Now I stick to Cire Trudon and Diptyque, though I also think Pacifica are quite good, especially for the price.

    • Vicki says:

      I will try them but I know what you mean… I gasp at the price of these others but I know that they burn well and last so much longer… so in the end it all works out… I do think Durance are good for a cheaper candle.. although, again the scent is weaker… Who would think we could talk about candles for so long…:)

    • david terry says:

      Dear Marsi, What is “throw”? I’m guessing that a cnadle’s “throw” is the extent to which it scents the entire room. If that’s the case, then I’d almost always prefer a candle with minimal “throw”, but that’s (as usual) just another indication of my markedly timid/unadventurous tastes & preferences. I DID, by the way just chuckle a bit over your writing that the “Library Authors” line of Paddywax candles are “better in theory than in practice”—-For what it’s worth, I’ve got me-self five degrees in Literature (this is indeed, if rather absurdly, possible), and I can assure you that (with the exception of the very-practical-minded Miss Austen)you’re instincts are good…. all of the writers “honored” in the collection are, in fact, inevitably better in theory than in practice.

      Level best as Ever,

      David Terry
      http://www.davidterryart.com

      • david terry says:

        P.S….just to clarify?…..Dickens (the saint of Victorian Domestic and Familial Bliss) had the most grindingly-wretched marriage imaginable)…Thoreau, for all his rhapsodizing over the virtues of a simple life in the woods, managed to last out only about three months on Walden Pond (no one seems to recall this fact)…Whitman wrote for decades about leaves-of-grass and “natural” impulses, but he spent almost the entirety of his long life in busy-Brooklyn….and I expect we all know how Oscar Wilde ended up after following, all too literally and constantly, his own advice.

        So, you’re quite right….all better in theory than in practice.

        —-david terry

        • david terry says:

          P.S. (2)….don’t even get me started on the circumstances of Leo “I Think We Should all Cultivate SIMPLE lives like the peasants” Tolstoy’s final years, or (for that matter)the decidedly un-romantic results of Poe’s reading too much of his own writings.

          —-david terry.

      • Vicki says:

        That’s a bold comment David… :))))

        • david terry says:

          Oh, Vicki….my previous comments simply mean that it took me about three decades of formally studying and/or teaching literature & linguistics before I realized that my East Tennessee grandmother was entirely correcty when she told me, at age five, to not believe everything I read in a book.

          —-david

  • Mary Jo says:

    I am a bit lazy about trimming my candles and really need to take your advice as I’ve been going through diptyque candles like candy this month. Love the concept of the Paddywax candles, the Wilde one sounds like me. Hope your November is off to a wonderful start Vicki!
    xo Mary Jo

  • Karena says:

    I have an obsession with candles as well, This is the time of year I particularly love them; the Autumn and Winter seasons!

    Great tips to remember..

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena
    2012 Artists Series

  • Anissa says:

    I absolutely love your blog and love the topics you discuss, the photos you share, and the glimpses of your amazing life and journeys. I, too, love candles. They make all the difference in a home and create such ambiance. I believe a fragrance is the one thing that you long remember. I love all the candles that you recommended, but I also love Christian Tortu’s candles, especially Forte’. They are one of the most fragrant candles that I have purchased. They are fabulous! I also love for Christmas, Jo Malone’s Roasted Chestnut. Amazing and definitely sets the Christmas mood! From Dallas, have a happy day!

  • I for one will trim the wicks! Happy Nov. Hot in S Ca today. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  • All that fuss is worth it to make the candles last longer. My candle budget is tight, yet I can’t imagine not having them, so I welcome any tips! I always trim my wicks and keep the candles away from drafts, and now I will try the one-hour first burning tip. Thanks, Vicki!

    P.S. I was relieved to see that Jane Austen was the exception for David Terry!

  • I love the Diptyque Ambre and Aveda candles…
    scent and lighting add so much ambiance.

    I must remember to trim the wicks.

  • Bonjour Vicki. De bons conseils. If I am going to spend $60+ on a scented candle, you’d better believe I will take a few seconds to trim the wicks to make it last longer… :-) I guess I, too, am “practical minded,” a la Jane Austen, according to David’s comment above. I so enjoyed his excellent commentary about the authors honored recently by Paddywax candles (I am an English Major too :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  • Great tips, Vicki, thank you! I had know idea about the one-hour first burn. Love my scented candles so want them to last and last. Happy Monday!

  • Hallie says:

    I love all this talk about candles and wicks and throws and thanks David Terry for the little history lesson, that was great.
    I’m just so happy to have power back after seven days that everything is making me happier though my heartaches for my fellow downtown New Yorkers who have to get water from a fire hydrant.

    • Vicki says:

      I can imagine the relief hHllie… but to think of all those others who have lost their homes or who are not yet back with power is heart breaking. I still cannot believe that ‘Sandy’ happened… it all seems so unreal.. so quick and so much devastation…

  • Vicki,
    I knew about keeping the wick short but had no idea I should burn a new candle for one and then two hours before letting it burn for more time. Thanks.
    Karen

  • I may need to print this off to put with our fabulous line of Lafco candles that we sell! They are quite popular because of how long they last and their fabulous scents! As well as their cute names as they are named after every room in a house you could possibly think of! Try one out if you haven’t! I would love to send you one! Hope you are doing well!

  • Gina says:

    Vicki thanks for the great candle tips

  • jlonit says:

    I was addicted to scented candles but sadly had to stop using them. I miss them enormously but found that they were the cause of my recurring sinus infections.

    On a happier note, I finally bought your French Essence book at Dymocks, PItt St, Sydney on the weekend.

  • J. says:

    No! I had no idea about these things, so this really helps! :)

  • Oh I’m so glad you asked. Yes, I have some tricks to keep my candles burning longer. Being a shop owner for almost ten years I have my short cuts. First, keep the wick very short. Burn your candle at least one to two hours so that the candle develops a well of wax/oil. If you don’t burn it long enough, it won’t burn down the sides and you’ll have wasted wax. Buy candles with a lot of scent. I love soy candles but some of them aren’t strong enough for my big living room. Buy the best quality you can afford. You don’t need to spend $50 on a little candle but $30 isn’t unreasonable. If for some reason the sides don’t melt down evenly you can “cheat” and push the wax down with your finger. Scrape excess off your finger into candle. My current fave is an apricot coconut scent. Shiree’

  • Karen says:

    Since there are so many great tips here for burning the candle properly, I will offer a suggestion to those who may have not heeded the advice or just had bad luck with their candle. If the candle is “ruined” you can use a warmer to melt the wax and disperse the scent without lighting it (I use a tiny plug-in warmer intended to keep your coffee cup warm.) This allows you to enjoy the scent without flame until it’s gone.

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