Burn, baby burn

…but I bet you have been doing it wrong this whole time.

I just recently discovered the right way to burn a candle and I wanted to share because it will help you get the most out of your candle. I started researching this topic because I was so annoyed that my candle from Diptyque had black smoky residue all over it and I wanted to repurpose to jar when I was done with it.

There are two key takeaways from my research. It is simple: Trim the wick every time, and burn the candle until it is melted across the diameter. 

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Candle: WoodWick. Scent: Fireside

1. Always trim the wick.

You can use a scissor, a nail clipper or a special wick trimmer. This is important because trimmed wicks will give you a cleaner and brighter burn. An untrimmed wick contains that bulb at the top, which will dull the flame. Also, long wicks create that black smoky rim on the top of the candle jar.

2. Let the wax burn all the way across.

Once you light the candle, it is important to let the wax melt all the way across the top layer. This might take several hours depending on the wick/size of the candle so don’t light a candle unless you know you have the time. Rule of thumb: for every 1-inch of the diameter, that should be 1 hour of burn time. Sometimes finding the time is hard, so I advise buying multi-wick candles because more wicks = more heat = faster burn.

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Example: Non-Trimmed wick (see the bulbs at the top of the wick), but melted all the way across. Breaking rule 1, following rule 2.

If you do not let it melt all the way across, then you are going to create a tunnel where the wick sinks lower and lower into the candle jar. This is called a “memory ring.” The first burn of the candle is the most important because once you create a memory ring then you are going to be in trouble for every burn going forward. Then the candle will be hard to light the candle and all the unmelted wax on the side is wasted.

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Example: Trimmed wick, but with “memory ring.” Following rule 1, breaking rule 2.

There is one way to “reset” the candle if the tunneling process has begun and a memory ring has been created. You can cut out the wax that is above the level of the wick with a butter knife.

If you bought or received an expensive candle, then it is extremely important to trim the wick and let it melt all the way across to get the most out of the candle and to preserve the jar for other uses. It is a waste of money if you do not utilize all the wax in the candle which is why it is important to follow those two rules.


Repurposing the jar: Once you get to the bottom of the candle and there is wax residue left, boil hot water and wash out the candle jar to repurpose the jar. Wipe clean with paper towel.

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Old Diptyque Jar – Size 6.5 oz. used to store Q-Tips

Here are some of my favorite candles:

  1. Diptyque – Baies ($64) This is my absolute all-time favorite scent hands down. It is so clean and very fresh – I am ADDICTED. Even though it is $64, it is worth it for the scent and the candle lasts a LONG time if you are burning it properly.
  2. Volupsa – Baltic Amber ($30) I always burn this candle in my room in the fall/winter. They also have the multi-wick version ($18) that I love, but it burns quickly.
  3. Jo Malone – Red Roses ($65) This is a very fresh scent. I love the smell of rose, although I don’t like the way roses actually look, so having it in candle form is amazing.
  4. Pecksniff’s England – Gardenia & White Peach ($15.99) This is a light but strong scent. I actually discovered this candle in HomeGoods (where I got it for $5.00) and now I am obsessed. They don’t always have it when I go, but if it is there then I buy as many as I can find. When I can’t find it for a while, desperate times call for desperate measures and I order it on Amazon.
  5. Scentsational – White Pumpkin ($16.95) This scent is great for the fall. It makes my whole room smell like pumpkin spice. I also came across this candle in HomeGoods (where I found it for $4.00) but I haven’t seen one in-store since I bought my first one so I have ordered it online.
  6. WoodWick – Fireside or Coconut ($14.95) These candles are great because of the wood wick that they have. It really sounds like a fire is crackling, which I love. They also have very strong scents – I like Fireside for fall/winter and coconut for spring/summer.
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Volupsa – Baltic Amber ($30)

Hope this was useful – happy burning.

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