Taking care of your candles will help them last longer and smell stronger. Learn the “Do’s & Don’ts” for candle care and teach your customers too! Here are some candle care tips.
How to Care for Candles
Store candles in a cool place preferably with a lid or a dust cover. This keeps debris out of the wax and some natural candles may dry out some. Keep them out of sunlight as some fade from the UV light. Vanillin fragrances discolor candles over time, this is natural.
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Invest in a candle care kit. Candles can be expensive to buy or to make. The 3 tools in this kit are a wick trimmer, wick dipper, and a snuffer.
Before lighting the candle trim the wick to about 1/4″ with wick trimmers. Discard the excess and any matches or debris out of the wax pool. If the wick is too long, it will put off soot and black smoke.
Plan on burning the candle for at least an hour but no more than 4 hours. The wax needs to pool from edge to edge about 1/2″ deep. Not burning the candle until the wax pools to the edges can cause the candle to tunnel and burn incorrectly.
Trim the wax to 1/4″ after each burn. Taking care of the wick will allow your candle to burn properly. Use the wick dipper to straighten the wick upright and re-center in the candle.
Never blow the candle out. You could accidentally blow hot wax or a flame trail nearby.
Extinguish the candle flame by hoovering the candle snuff over the wick just above the wax pool to smother the flame.
Let the wax completely cool and harden before putting the lid back on and storing it or relighting it.
Never burn the candle to the bottom of the container, only to the last 1/2″ of wax. This could result in the container overheating and a fire.
Always burn candles away from things that are flammable, kids, and pets. Keep candles in sight!
Cut this FREE card in thirds and give it to your customers. Help them take care of their candles to get the best experience. (Click on the image to open the PDF file)
Here are some other Candle Care Cards and Candle Care Instructions you may be interested in.
Caring for Natural Soy Candles
If you have purchased or made all-natural soy candles and have noticed changes like frosting or rough surfaces after burning, this is normal. It is a natural product. Most blemishes can be resolved with a heat tool.
Sometimes wood wicks stain the soy wax especially if the wax was left a natural color. This is normal.
Wooden wicks are also trimmed to 1/4″ should they need it. They usually need less maintenance.
Caring for Paraffin Pillar Candles and Tips
Unlike container candles, pillar candles are wrapped in cellophane with nothing to protect them after they have been opened. This type of candle is displayed on a candle holder out in the open and often we come back weeks later to find the tops are covered in dust.
This dust even when wiped with a tissue can clog our wick. The dust mixes with the wax pool and over time the life of the candle and the performance deteriorates. Here are some things that you can do to help you keep candles a little long.
Use candle holders with glass cloches. They add elegance to your room’s décor, and they are a perfect way to store candles.
Pillar candles also need to have the wicks trimmed just like container candles. A wick that is too long overheats the side of the candle and starts to deform the shape or burns through the outer edge sending wax down the side.
If a pillar candle gets out of shape, after it has hardened it can be soaked in hot water to soften and rolled on parchment paper on a flat surface until it is round.
Odd-shaped candles can be reshaped by hand by softening them in hot water. Use caution so as to not put your hands in water hotter than you can manage. Use tongs if needed. You don’t want to melt the wax, just soften it.
I have used a large hole punch from the craft store (2.5” to 3”) to serve as a dust cover for the tops of my pillar candles.
I have also turned my pillar candles upside down after they have cooled and hardened them to store them on the candle holder. The dust collects on the bottom of the candle.
Candles that need to be dusted on the sides or cleaned up can be polished with a nylon stocking to bring back the shine.
Pillar candles that are stored away should be wrapped in cling wrap or cellophane before putting in a box. Storing in any cardboard, paper product, or cloth without a barrier will draw the fragrance oil out of the candle.
Because pillar candles are not in a container, if they do get hot they will not hold their shape. This is also true for any candle decoration above a candle container.
Some candle food look-a-likes with embellishments on top of a container have to be treated like pillar candles.
A more advanced technique or for more decorative candles (like the fancy carved candles) is to dip them in a clear acrylic just below the top to preserve the outer shell and make it easier to clean.
This type of candle is designed to only burn up to the last ¼” edge so the acrylic will not interfere at all.
Again, like the container candle, pillar candles should be snuffed out and the wicks straightened with a wick dipper for the next use. Taking care of your candle will get the most out of it.
If you would like to learn more, I have an article about different types of candle waxes.
Caring for Dinner or Taper Candles and Tips
These are very similar to pillar candles. They do not have the stout figure that a pillar candle has. Leaving them in a candle holder almost always leads to a slightly bowed-looking candle.
In the heat, they can start to lean over. Usually, dinner candles or taper candles burn at the rate of 1 hour per inch.
A standard dinner candle is 12” long. If you burn a candle with every dinner and chit-chat, a set of dinner candles should last a few weeks.
In between uses, taper candles should be stored wrapped in cellophane or cling wrap and stored laying down in a cool place like a side cupboard or drawer.
Tapered candles that have leaned over can be softened by placing them in hot water and rolling them on parchment paper just as pillar candles.
Tapered candles that cannot be reshaped can be twisted to hide imperfections.
It is important to keep the wick trimmed with tapered candles as well. But it is also important to make sure the base of the candle is level and, in the holder, secure.
Trim the base with a paring knife if needed to fit in your candle holder. Burning unevenly will make the candle burn faster or drip where you don’t want the wax to fall.
Snuffing the candle is important here too. Tapered candles don’t have much of a wax pool, but the room filled with candle smoke will drown the fragrance of the candle scent that just filled the room.
These candles are for ambiance and unless burning soot is the tone you are going for, it breaks the mood.
Caring for Beeswax Candles and Tips
Beeswax is a natural material that will not go rancid. Often beeswax has a sweet undertone of honey and is scented with sweeter fragrances like lavender that attract critters.
Beeswax is a very stable and hard wax so it is less likely to deform in warmer weather, but it is still wax. It is more likely to get tacky if not kept in a cool place while stored.
It honestly depends on the filtered quality of the wax and the candle wax blend.
Beeswax candle wicks should be trimmed, centered, and snuffed just as any candle.
I have had better luck making beeswax-covered clothes to wrap my candles in to store for longer periods. This type of candle does not seem to store well in cling wrap.
Beeswax candles can also be wrapped in parchment paper. It is also more fitting for a natural candle presentation when making beeswax candles to sell at craft shows.
Beeswax candles can last for a long time. Dipped candles sold in pairs can be hung from pegs on a board and dusted with regular housework. Because they are tapered the dust does not settle as much as on the flat surfaces of pillars.