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The First Burn: Candle Safety and Wick Trimming Tips

Trim the Candle Wick

The First Burn: Candle Safety and Wick Trimming Tips

The soft glow of a candle has the remarkable ability to turn any space into a warm and inviting sanctuary. However, many people are unaware of the various ways to enhance the performance of their candles. To maintain this enchanting atmosphere safely, it is crucial to pay attention to the finer details of candle care. Within the intimate radiance that fills a room, there lies the potential for unseen dangers if proper candle safety practices are neglected.

The Importance of the First Burn

When you light a candle for the first time, you set the stage for its entire life. An inaugural burn that’s too short can doom your candle to ‘tunneling’ – that dreaded cavity running down the middle of the wax, caused by incomplete melting at the edges.

To prevent this, your candle’s first burn should continue until the melted wax pools out to the edge of the vessel. This might need several hours, so choose a time when you’ll be around to supervise. The candle’s ‘wax memory’ ensures that subsequent burns will mimic this initial one, thus a full and even pool means consistent burns time after time.

Wick Trimming: A Critical Step

Before even lighting your candle, trim the wick to about 1/4 inch. This small act can vastly improve the candle’s life and safety. A shorter wick is less likely to produce unwanted smoke or soot, balancing the flame and ensuring a cleaner burn. Also, keep in mind that a well-maintained wick ensures optimum performance of the candle’s scent throw and burning process. Before every burn — not just the first — get in the habit of trimming the wick to keep your candle burning brightly and safely. To ensure optimal burning, it is advised to avoid trimming the wick too short. If the wick is too short, it may struggle to draw up the wax and burn properly. [Be watching for the launch of the Milkhouse trimmer Fall 2024!]

Candle Safety Tips

Here’s a roundup of essential candle safety practices:

  • Monitor the First Burn: Always allow the wax to pool to the edges on the first burn. This could take a few hours, so plan accordingly.
  • Trim the Wick Regularly: A 1/4 inch wick length is ideal for preventing smoke and ensuring a controlled flame. Be sure the flame is extinguished and the candle is cooled before you trim it.
  • Keep Away from Children and Pets: We don’t want any accidents to happen involving your candles, so ensuring candles are out of reach minimizes risks, especially when the candle is lit.
  • Avoid Drafty Spots: Air currents can cause candles to burn unevenly, create smoke, and potentially spark a fire hazard.
  • Use a Heat-Resistant Surface: Select the location of your candle carefully. Make sure the candle is sitting on a heat-resistant surface. To protect your furniture, it is recommended to use a coaster or candle holder underneath the candle. This will help keep the surface cool, and can contain accidental spills.
  • Don’t Burn Unattended, or While You’re Sleeping: Your candle is an open flame, so never leave a burning candle unattended, and be sure to extinguish it before going to sleep.
  • Don’t Let it Burn to the Bottom: When there’s approximately 1/2 inch of solid wax remaining, it’s time to say goodbye. Continuing to burn beyond this point may damage surfaces or cause glass vessels to crack. [Tip: you can remove the wax from the vessel and use in a wax melter (discard the wicks), or use our 2-in-1 melter that fits our jars so you can maximize every bit of fragrance from your candle.]
  • Cover When Not in Use: If your candle came with a lid, use it to keep dust out and the scent in, preserving the candle’s quality. Store it in a cool dark place. Sunlight can discolor the all-natural wax.

Why These Practices Matter

By sticking to these safety guidelines, you can maximize your enjoyment of your beautiful candles. Proper candle maintenance extends the life of your candle, ensures a better scent throw, prevents tunneling, reduces the chances of smoking, and most importantly, keeps your home safe.

Next time you light a new candle, take the time to nurture the first burn, trim the wick, and create a memory in the wax that will last for many cozy hours to come. Candles bring light and joy to our homes, and with just a little extra care, they can do so safely for a long time.


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