Recently I received a customer complaint. They weren’t happy with their votive candle as it wasn’t burning out to the edge of the glass.
[Ouch. Personal crisis. Need to convince myself that I am not a candle and this is not personal. Head spinning. Defies all logic and experience of burning over 500 votives in my life. Breathe deeply. Think rationally. Ask questions Cate.]
O.K. gathered thoughts and asked away. Turns out they were using the votive candle for their morning meditation. They meditate for around 20 minutes. Candle is lit for only 20 minutes. [Now feeling a little jealous that they manage to make the time to meditate for 20 minutes every morning and succeed in stilling their mind.]
Which brings me to the purpose of this post… about the candle burn times (not the meditation practice).
It is REALLY important when you’re choosing a candle, that you think about what the intended use for the candle is – ie how long you will typically burn it for (and in what conditions).
There are a few general pointers:
1. the wider the candle, the longer you need to burn it for
2. burning guidelines apply to say every second or third burn (ie if you have just lit your Queen B candles one night and you’re invited out to dinner, you don’t need to decline the invitation because you’ve just lit your Queen B candles! Just ensure that the next time you light them, you give them a longer burn… enough time to allow them to burn out to the edges.
3. if you are planning on burning candles outdoors (or in a breezy space) stick to the wider candles (chubbies or drippies in the solid candles and 10cm medium, 15cm medium or 20cm fat in the rolled pillars). Alternatively, invest in a glass hurricane lantern – they will stop the candle smoking and will ensure the candle doesn’t drip.
4. the best way to put out a candle is to push the wick into the pool of wax (and to ensure that it pops back out again). That stops the wick from smouldering and covers it with wax which protects the wick and ensures you don’t get black on your fingers when you trim the wick.
5. always ensure you trim your wick prior to relighting your candle. The wick should be trimmed to around 5 – 7mm. If you’ve dipped your wick to put the candle out prior, the wick should be rigid and coated in wax and you should be able to trim the wick simply by breaking off the top of it with your fingers.
6. it is not usually necessary to trim a wick while a candle is burning (the exception being if you burn candles for long periods of time where the top of the wick will become clogged with dust (and is therefore ‘dead’) as the beeswax candle does it’s thing ionising the air and drawing the dust into the pool of wax). If you do trim the wick while the candle is burning, please do not drop the wick back into the pool of wax… the more debris in the pool of wax, the more difficult it is for the candle to burn well.
7. Yes, keeping your candles in the fridge does give you a longer burn time overall. I personally prefer to keep my fridge for fresh produce and fermented grape juice, but each to their own.
Here’s a general guide on choosing the right candle according to your intended/average burn time
Burn time <30 minutes
Burn time >3hrs
– 15cm solid pillar
- 20cm solid pillar
- Round votives- Square votives
- Squat pillar
- 15cm or 25cm chubbies
- 15cm or 25cm drippies
- 10cm, 15cm or 20cm narrow rolled pillars (any design)
– 10cm or 15cm medium rolled pillars (any design)
– 20cm fat rolled pillars (any design)