Your Candle Burning Guide

Nothing beats a burning candle. Candles create wonderful lighting, calm the atmosphere, and leave fabulous fragrances that transport the candle enthusiast to any place they want to go.
So, you've picked out your scented soy candle and you're ready to burn. Now what do you do? Just light it and walk away? Well, not exactly.

Candles really are a wonderful edition to any home however, a candle is an open flame. It needs to be taken care of and just like your stove, microwave, or hair dryer, there are a few simple habits that you need to develop in order to maximum the life and safety of your candle. Don't worry. Taking care of a candle isn't too complicated.


Habit #1 - Wick Trimming

One of the most important steps of candle care, possibly even the most important step of candle care, is wick trimming. The length of your wick determines how large the flame will be. If the flame is to big, your candle will burn down too quickly. Additionally, an excessively large flame can be a burn or fire hazard. You will want to trim your candle wick to 1/4 inch. You can use a pair of scissors, nail clippers or a wick trimmer.


Habit #2 - Maintain the wick at 1/4 inch throughout the life of your candle

Do not only trim the wick when you first get your candle. As candles begin to burn down deeper inside the jar they begin to burn hotter. To lower the temperature you will want to keep your wick trimmed at 1/4 inch. I trim my wick every time I light any candle.

For Bridge the Gap Shop's candles, you can generally allow the wick to be a little bit longer when you first get your candle (no longer than 1/2 inch), but as the candle begins to burn down into the jar, you will want to maintain that 1/4 inch wick length.


Habit #3 - Burn until you reach a nearly full melt pool

A melt pool is the pool of melted wax that collects around the candle flame. You will want to ensure you burn your candle long enough that almost all of the wax melts inside the pool.
If you blow out the candle too soon after lighting you may get tunneling. Tunneling is when the flame burns down deep inside a narrow tunnel, leaving a lot of unmelted wax around the rim of the jar. For Bridge the Gap Shop's candles, you should reach a nearly full melt pool after 2 - 3 hours.


I say a "nearly full" melt pool as it is common for a tiny amount of unmelted wax (approximately 1/4 inch) to remain around the rim of the jar. This is entirely normal and will melt down with future burns.



Habit #4 - Do not burn longer than 4 hours

The longer a candle burns the longer the wick becomes, and the more carbon builds up on the wick. You will want to eventually trim off that extra length and extra carbon. After 4 hours blow out the candle. Once the candle cools trim the wick back down to 1/4 inch.


Habit #5 - Burn in appropriately sized room

This step is usually not mentioned very much with candle companies but I feel it deserves more attention. A melt pool can only release so much fragrance. If you try to use one of those tiny cute votive candles in a gigantic family room with vaulted ceilings, you probably will not get much fragrance. Generally, smaller candles are burned in smaller rooms and larger candles are burned in larger rooms.

For our popular 9 oz candles, burn in small to medium sized rooms such as bathrooms and bedrooms. For larger rooms, you can place one 9 oz candle every ten feet.


Habit #6 - Keep candle away from drafts and air currents

A draft can greatly affect how a candle burns. If your candle is sitting next to an open window with a cold draft, you could get tunneling. Place your candle away from drafts and rushing air to ensure it can produce an even, clean burn.


Habit #7 - Do not use the wooden lid to extinguish the flame

The wooden lids that come with the candles are made of, well, wood and wood burns. If you try to snuff out the candle by placing the wooden lid over it, you will scorch the underside of the lid. Blow out the candle or use a candle snuffer or wax dipper to put out the flame.


Candle Safety Tips

Follow these general safety tips for your best candle burning experience.

  1. Keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Keep those kiddies safe and burn where they cannot reach.
  2. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Burn the candle within eyesight and blow it out before you leave the house.
  3. Blow out the candle after 4 hours. Blow out the candle before you go to bed too.
  4. Do not burn a candle on or near a hot surface or around combustible materials. Keep away from paper, curtains, fabric and do not burn the candle on flammable materials such as wood. Place a fire resistant metal or ceramic layer between the candle and your wood table.