Candles are luxurious decorative accents and knowing how to make candles burn longer can help you enjoy a flickering flame or gentle scent for many hours safely and easily. While candle burn times do vary, different tricks can keep your candles burning efficiently so none of their beauty is wasted.
Tips for a Longer Life for Your Candles
There are several ways to ensure candles burn as long as possible without any wax going to waste.
- Trim Wicks Regularly: Trimming the wick is one of the most effective ways to lengthen a candle's life. The wick should be no more than 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch long and should be trimmed each time before the candle is lit. Longer wicks will smoke, shed debris, and may not provide a steady oxygen flow to the flame which can lead to excessive flickering and uneven heating.
- Limit Burn Time: To burn a candle most efficiently, it should be burned until the pool of melted wax covers the top of the candle, or in the case of pillar candles, until the pool is close to the edge of the pillar without breaking through. For most candles, this can be achieved with burn times of 2-4 hours, though smaller candles may melt much more quickly.
- Limit Drafts: Candles should not be burned near drafty windows, fans, or vents. Drafts will cause the flame to flicker, which results in uneven heating and melting rather than a smooth, even melt pool.
- Choose Multi-Wick Candles: Candles with several evenly spaced wicks will burn more evenly than large candles with a single wick. This is particular true for jar candles, and contrary to popular belief, multi-wick candles will not burn down more quickly - just more evenly so no wax is wasted.
- Choose Efficient Candle Shapes: Circular candles burn more effectively than irregular shapes because all the wax is an even distance from the wick. Square candles and other shapes may melt unevenly and leave much wax for waste.
- Experiment with Candle Composition: If you are making your own candles or purchasing homemade candles, experiment with different types of wax and different additives to find a blend that burns longest. Soy, paraffin, gel, and beeswax candles all burn at different rates depending on how the individual candles are made.
- Burn Cool Candles: Refrigerating a candle for an hour or two prior to burning will chill the wax and help it burn more slowly, therefore helping the candle last longer. Candles should not be frozen, however, because doing so could crack the wax and render the candle unfit to burn.
- Reading Burning Instructions: Many candles come with recommendations for how to make candles burn longer. Follow those instructions to help the candles burn safely and efficiently.
More Ways to Ensure a Longer Burn
In addition to treating candles properly while burning them, there are other ways to make candles burn longer if they are cared for appropriately.
- Proper Storage: Store candles in cool, dark, dry places to ensure they are not contaminated or harmed when they're not being burned. Taper candles should be stored flat to minimize warping.
- Candle Warmers: Using a candle warmer for scented candles will help extend their lifespan significantly and can be safer than an open flame. A candle warmer is also useful for melting down excess wax so it is closer to the wick.
- Hugging Pillars: To keep pillar candles burning longer, "hug" the wax around the lip of the candle by bending it closer to the wick as the flame tunnels down the pillar. This will melt the higher wax and increase the candle's burn time.
- Snuffers: Use a specialized snuffer candle extinguisher instead of blowing candles out. Careless blowing may splash wax or distribute soot that can lower a candle's burn time.
- Substitute Flames: For large jar and pillar candles, it is possible to create a substitute flame. Once the candle has burned a deep enough well, insert a tea light or votive candle into the well instead of continuing to burn the larger candle. Tea lights and votives are less expensive to replace than larger candles.
- Wax Scraps: Save scraps of wax from older, unburnable candles to be recycled into new candles if you make homemade candles. Blend complementary colors and scents from leftover candles to create new and unique fragrances to enjoy.
Knowing how to make candles burn longer can help you extend the burn time of these enjoyable accents to make them efficient and cost effective. One candle can be enjoyed for many hours if it is properly cared for, making it a lovely addition to any home.