The Art of Burning a Candle
Candles are lovely to burn for yourself, for your space, and for others. They exude serenity and a delectable scent. However, enjoying them is not as simple as merely lighting and extinguishing. Like any delicacy, candles should be cared for in order to perfom to their potential.
The first burn is important; let it burn for three to four hours, until the wax pools all the way to the edge.
Do not burn a candle more than once per 24 hours; the wax needs to reset. John Bresler, Founder and Owner of Lafco New York, says, “candles have a memory;” if you do not burn them to the edge each time, they will begin to tunnel.
If your candle tempts to tunnel, trim the excess wax boarder once it softens. This technique is risky: since the trimmed portion was never burned, the candle remembers this and will continue to burn only what has been, causing the tunnel to elongate. Bottom line, let the candle burn the way it needs to; do not let it tunnel.
When it has burned its time, do not blow out the candle; this can cause bacteria and scent to spread. Use a snuffer or the candle lid! Once the candle has reset, clean and dust both the wax and the glass with alcohol; this will remove burnt stains and dirt. Obviously do not clean with alcohol right before lighting. Tune into your inner Walter White; everything will burn! If you are worried about the alcohol affecting the scent, you may use nylon pantyhose instead. They collect dust and leave no residue on the wax.
Before the next burn, trim the wick to 1/4 inch. Skipping this causes the flame to burn too big, which can burn the wax and the glass. If you have a superbly decorated candle, like the Limited Edition Diptyque Rosa Mundi, you will ruin its beauty!
When you begin to see through to the bottom of the candle, it is time to go. You do not, however, need to dispose of it, but can use it decoratively — candles are multi-use! To clean out the jar, cut out remainder of the candle [wax] with a non-serrated knife. Fill the glass with hot water to melt the remaining wax, then clean the jar with alcohol to remove all residue.
Just like that which you care about in life, candles deserve a little TLC, too!
A few of ALB's favorite candles and accoutrements.
From top, left to right, Fornasetti Scimmie Lidded Candle | Sunnylife Watermelon Candle | Diptyque Baies Large Candle | Mizensir Genève Pivione du Matin Candle | Jonathan Adler Muse Noir Ceramic Candle | Jo Malone Basil & Neroli Candle | Fornasetti Flora Ortensia Large Candle | Bella Freud Parfum Loving Tuberose & Sandalwood Candle | Lafco Fresh Cut Gardenia Candle
Header image, ALB's favorite hydrangeas, Lafco Fleurs de Baies Candle, and Buddha.