Updated: May 17, 2021
All Heart of Europe Candles customers receive a candle care card. But how much attention do you actually pay to it?
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There is a reason why candle makers ask their customers to pay attention to their candle care cards: to ensure basic safety measures, to prolong the life of your candle, and to give you the best experience possible. Candles are like other items in your house – the better care you take of them, the better experience you will get longterm.
Basic candle safety measures
Let’s start with a reminder of basic candle safety measures. They are common sense, really, but you’d be surprised how many stories there are in various candle makers’ groups about customers who set their curtains, bed sheets, or furniture on fire. Don’t be that person! Always keep an eye on your burning candles, keep them away from children and pets. Put them on heat resistant surfaces (the bottom of the candle can get very hot once the flame descends low). Keep them away from draughts, and don’t move a candle once it’s lit and has melted wax in it. Do not burn your candles for more than four hours at a time. Stop using the candle once there is only about 8mm of wax left. Do not wait for the candle to go out by itself, extinguish it before all the wax is consumed.
I know that my customers hate to waste wax (well, anything) but remember that by buying Heart of Europe Candles, you’re already supporting a zero-waste approach. You can return leftover wax and jars from our candles in exchange for a discount on your next purchase. (Just send me a message that you will be returning your wax/jars during the next pick up, and I’ll email you a discount code.) You have the option of getting your candle refilled if you live in Brussels. You can be environmentally conscious without risking damaged furniture in your home.
Trim the wick
If there is one thing you’ll take away from this article, it should be this one. Trimming the wick before each new burn should become a habit! Once it does, it won’t cost you any energy. This applies both to rapeseed, and beeswax candles.
Even though part of the wick gets consumed with the flame, the wick will have the tendency to become longer and longer with each burn. Some wicks are designed so that they start curling into a ball, and therefore stay “short” for the life of the candle. In any case, more wick means more flame, and an improper burn. This causes the flame to be higher, and dance and flicker more. The candle may also start sooting, and leave black soot on the jar.
You can prevent this by regularly trimming the wick. Make it a habit to trim the wick before each time you light the candle. You can use any type of scissors, or simply nip it off with your fingers. General rules say trim the wick to about 6-8mm but my experience shows that our Pure rapeseed candles can handle having their wick trimmed to only 4mm long. You can also trim the wick right AFTER you’ve extinguished your candles, but I personally find it much more messy.
First melt pool
For container candles, their first burn is important. The first burn may determine how your candle will burn for the rest of its life cycle. You should let your candle burn for about 3 to 4 hours when you first light it. (This can be about 2 to 3 hours for smaller candles.) Wax has memory, and it will copy the burn pool from when the candle was first lit. So if you don’t let the melt pool reach the wall of your candle container during the first burn, the candle will follow that path, and you will have too much wax left around the side of the container. This leads to tunnelling, and that in turn leads to the flame not getting enough oxygen and being too small and dying out. You don’t want that.
That being said, softer waxes (rapeseed, soy) will give you a bit more of a leeway. I personally believe that it’s ok to not reach a full melt pool for the first few burns with our Pure rapeseed candles. There is one other factor that comes into play. As the flame descends further down the container, the heat gets less dispersed and the flame burns hotter. So the wax residue left around the walls will catch up and melt during subsequent burns. The important thing is that your candle has a big enough flame to burn well, and the flame does not die out.
Dip the wick
Here’s one pro tip! Instead of blowing the candle flame out, you can dip the wick! Use a toothpick, the other end of your matches, a wooden skewer, a chopstick… or a wick dipper from a fancy candle care set. Dip the wick into the melted wax pool, and straighten the wick again. The wick won’t smoke at all, and it will be primed with wax for its next use.
I've also come across this cute bee-shaped wick dipper on Amazon. Maybe a gift with beeswax candles?
Repurpose old candle jars
Do you hate to throw things out? It is important to me waste as little as possible. That’s why I created a tutorial on how to clean your old candle jar. You will find it here on our blog.
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Enjoy your candles, and until next time!