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5 min read / 22 June 2023 / Laura Garvin Gomez

How to Make Candles Last Longer

Discover expert tips and tricks to extend the burn time of your candles and create a more lasting ambiance.

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The moment you light a candle, the whole room is transformed, especially when daylight has faded, and nighttime has started to descend.

There are few things more welcoming than the warm, flickering glow of a candle, and when infused with an essential oil, your home can soon be filled with a delightful fragrance that can influence your mood for hours at a time. Naturally, you’ll want to get as much as possible from each one, so here are 10 helpful tips on how to make candles last longer.

How to make candles last longer

Some suggestions on making your candle last longer include:

  • Pick the right sized candle for the room
  • Reduce the burn time
  • Clean your candles of dust
  • Freeze the candles after use
  • Choose the right location
  • Add a little salt to the wax
  • Use some foil to avoid tunneling
  • Trim the wick
  • Straighten the wick
  • Reuse the wax once the wick is spent

Read on below for a more in depth look into how you can achieve these suggestions.

 Two thick pillar candles that have just been put out with delicate smoke drifting up from the wicks

1. Pick the right sized candle

The size of the candle should be of the appropriate size for the room it is being burnt in. For example, if you have high ceilings, a small candle will struggle to get the scent across the room. Similarly, you do not want to burn a large candle in a small room as it will prove to be too overpowering, and the wax will also melt too quickly.

2. Reduce the burn time

When you light a candle for the first time, it’s a good idea to light it for about 4 hours before extinguishing the flame. This should be enough for the top layer of wax to fully melt so it can burn more evenly the next time. In general, candles should only be lit for 3-4 hours at a time as it allows them to burn property and helps to avoid tunnelling (which is when the candle develops a tunnel effect with the wick disappearing down further into the middle of the wax).

3. Clean your candles

You won’t need to get a duster and cleaning spray out to clean your candle, but there are some things you can do to keep it in good condition. Once the candle was cooled (which usually takes a couple of hours), remove any soot or charred flakes with a wet cotton pad. If you have a lid for the candle, place this over the top to prevent dust from getting onto the wax when not in use.

Candle in an amber glass container being lit with a long match

4. Freeze the candles

Freezing your candles may not be the first thing you may think of when it comes to making them last longer, but it can help. Leaving them to cool for a couple of hours hardens the wax, so once they are lit, the flame will burn at a slower pace. 

5. Choose the right location

When thinking about how to make candle scent last longer, think about where you position your candle, as it will affect how well it burns once ignited. Ideally, you want to keep candles away from areas that let in air currents, such air vents, windows, fans or external doorways. This will lead to constant movement of the flame, which creates an uneven burn, shortening the lifespan of the candle. Also think about the surface the candle is being placed onto, as it needs to be flat and stable enough to allow the flame to burn evenly all the way down.

6. Add a little salt

Another slightly unorthodox method for making your candle last longer is to add a pinch of table salt to the wax. This is best done when the candle has been in use for a while as the salt will extend the lifespan of the burn. You won’t need to add a lot, just a little pinch of regular table salt will be enough, helping you to get more out of your candles and the money you spend on them.

Overhead view of a lit candle in a glass container

7. Use some foil

If you are burning a candle in a jar and the wax has started to tunnel, a neat little hack to use is to wrap some aluminium foil over the flame. Tear some foil and fold it three or four times over itself to form a rectangular shape that you can wrap around the outside, covering the flame and making sure you leave a large enough gap above the flame. You can leave it for about 2-3 hours until the excess wax burns down before taking it off and you should have a nice even candle surface once again.

8. Trim the wick

Figuring out how to make candle wicks last longer can sometimes be tricky, but the solution is relatively simple. The wick tends to be slightly longer than it needs to be after a candle has been lit for the first time. This creates a larger flame and more heat that burns through the wax at a faster rate, so you end up replacing it sooner than expected. Keep an eye on the wick as the candle burns and trim using a pair of scissors or nail clippers when the candle has cooled after use, with about a quarter of an inch being the ideal height to maintain.

9. Straighten the wick

Not only should you keep the wick shortened to a certain height, but you should also ensure it is kept straight so it produces a stable flame. Once you have extinguished the candle (it is better to use a metal spoon rather than blowing it out) let it cool enough so you are not at risk of being burnt. If the wick is leaning to one side, give It a little adjustment to straighten it up so it hardens in the ideal position for the next session.

10. Reuse the wax

Whether the wax is in a container or burning in a holder, you will often be left with some wax that cannot be burnt. Rather than throwing it away you can scrap it up, keep it in a safe place and reuse when you have enough to make your own candle. It’s an easy process that doesn’t take long and allows you to save money in the long run.

Black and white illustration of a candle

We hope you can use our tips on how to make candles last longer to get more from each one and save a little money along the way. Some of the suggestions, like freezing the candle or adding a little salt, may not be something you’ve come across before, but we’re confident it can produce the results you want to see. Every candle comes to an end after a while, but with a few simple adjustments, there’s no reason why you can’t extend their lifespan. 

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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