Welcome to the 1803 Candles' Guide to Candle Maintenance and Burn Times!
Well, that sounds official, doesn't it?
For those of you wondering about our pure soy wax candle burn times, or how to provide the right kind of maintenance for your favorite scented candle, you can always find a quick snapshot on each soy candle page or in our FAQ’s.
But, maybe you want to know just a little bit more about how to get the highest burn times out of our candles.
If so, today is your lucky day!
There are a few important factors that play into a candle’s burn time. So, I’ll just go down the list…
Candle maintenance is a simple, but important, factor in enjoying any candle.
Just like any item in your home that you enjoy and use frequently, a candle must be given just a couple of minutes of your time before, and after, lighting it.
Prior to lighting your candle, make sure the wick has been trimmed.
A simple pair of scissors will do the trick, but using these may leave a bit of wax or black marks on them, or be too cumbersome to try to reach far enough into the jar.
If you use a pair of scissors, I would suggest using a pair that you will not use on clothing or food, etc.
There is also a nifty tool called a wick trimmer. We sell some in our “Sundries” shop here, on our site.
A wick trimmer is typically a long, slender pair tongs with a scissors or blades at the end that are sharp enough to cut through any type of wick.
The brand we sell has a neat little pocket around the blades to hold onto the bit of wick that was cut off.
When you trim the wick, always try to trim it so it stands about ¼” above the wax. This allows enough of the wick remaining to be successfully lit while keeping it close enough to the wax so it won’t cause any tunneling of your candle.
When extinguishing your candle, the best way to prepare it for its next lighting is to use the “bend and dip” method.
To use this method, you can use the same pair of scissors, a long piece of hooked wire, or a “wick dipper”.
A wick dipper is a long, thin piece of metal that typically has a handle on one end and a hook at the other end. This design allows you to be able to reach into the jar past the flame and into the hot wax without burning yourself. Simply use the hooked end to bend the flaming wick into the liquid wax.
Once the flame is extinguished, use the hook to gently lift the charred wick back out of the wax and into a standing upright position. Really, what you are doing here is moving the extinguished wick back into place to prepare it for next time as well as priming it for future use.
The “bend and dip” method will eliminate any smokiness to come from your newly extinguished candle.
Using the "bend and dip" method also allows you the opportunity to re-center the wick to an extent if, for some reason, the wick seems to be a bit off-kilter.
Having a centered wick is very important. If the wick in your candle doesn’t look like it’s in the center of the wax, you can expect your candle to not use all of its wax.
While shopping for a candle, this is something you will want to look for. If the wick isn’t in the center, it won’t melt the wax on the opposite side.
In the pictures below you will see a candle that didn't pass inspection. Notice the wick is off-center and is not melting all of the wax as it burns.
It’s not worth your time or money to purchase a candle, no matter what brand, with an off-centered wick.
Because we hand-pour our candles, we take the time throughout various stages of each candle’s creation to ensure that the wick is centered in the jar.
We do not allow a candle to pass inspection if the wick seems to be off-center even just the slightest bit.
Below is a photo of a beautifully hand-poured jar candle with a properly centered wick.
The length of time your candle remains lit also makes a difference in the ultimate burn time. We suggest keeping your soy wax candle lit no more than 3-4 hours per use. This will vary with each size of candle.
Just keep in mind that the melted wax should be covering the top layer of the candle.
If you extinguish a candle before there is an even layer of melted wax, "tunneling" could occur. If this happens, the wax will remember (yes, strangely, wax has a memory!) where it melted before and will continue to melt unevenly.
Notice the even layer of melted wax on the candle below. Extinguishing the candle at this point will prevent "tunneling".
Where you place your candle isn’t just about aesthetics!
Placing your candle in the right kind of area in your home will make a difference in how many hours of burn time you can get out of your candle.
Make sure to keep your candle out of a drafty location as any draft blowing past your candle flame will cause it to flicker.
I’m not talking about the natural flicker a candle flame will perform, I’m referring to the wild, bouncy flame that seems as if it will jump right out of the jar!
When this type of flickering happens, so does uneven melting of your candle. You may notice your wax has burned too much on one side or has pooled down into the middle only.
The black bucket candle below shows a flame in a drafty location, causing improper burning of the wick and black smoke to occur. Drafty locations also cause uneven wax melting.
You want to make sure that your candle wax melts as evenly as possible. Keeping your candle out of the way of a drafty window or fan will not only be safer, but will ensure you get the most enjoyment out of your 1803 candle.
There are so many reasons to love soy wax. It’s because of these reasons that we created our company on soy wax candles, not just candles.
Soy wax flakes
While we won’t get into all of the great attributes soy wax has to offer in this blog post, we will touch on one interesting point here….
Soy wax candles burn at a slower rate than paraffin candles.
This allows for a longer, slower, burn time with your candle giving you more time to enjoy our Scents Reminiscent of Simpler Times™ !
Because our soy candles burn slower, this gives all of the wax ample time to melt evenly, leaving minimal residue in your jar or red or black tin bucket. This is especially helpful when you want to reuse the Kerr Mason jar or tin bucket.
So, there you have it!
I hope this basic guide to candle maintenance and burn times gives you a little insight on how to get the most out of your favorite 1803 candle!
For quick reference, I made this handy chart to compare the burn times on each of our soy wax candles based on size.