Scented candles can add a beautiful and welcoming aroma to both your home and garden. The problem is they do not always last as long as you would like.
If you have ever ended up with bent or mushroomed wicks, lopsided wax, or burned out craters, something is not quite right. Thankfully, understanding how to make scented candles last longer can increase their lifetime and save you money too!
How To Make Scented Candles Last Longer – 12 Tips
Scented candles can be an expensive investment, so you want them to last as long as possible. We have 12 quick and easy tips on how to make scented candles last longer.
1. Choose A Candle With A Quality Wax Blend
Let’s start with the most important tip of all. Not all scented candles are created equal, and it is essential to select a candle that has a quality wax blend. Most candles are made from either paraffin wax, beeswax or plant-based wax (or sometimes a combination of all three).
Although manufacturers do not always list the precise ingredients of their wax blend, some like the stunning Tom Ford Tobacco Vanilla scented candle are very helpful and actually provide a ‘burn time’.
Used since ancient pharaoh times, the higher melting point of beeswax means it can last longer than paraffin or plant-based wax. The flame from a pure beeswax candle will appear slightly smaller, but the burn-time is far longer and emissions lower. The downside to beeswax is that the wax itself has a scent that can overpower lighter scented candles.
– Plant-based Wax
There are several different plant-based waxes available, most notably soy wax, rapeseed and coconut wax. Soy wax works well in scented candles as it is a slow-burning wax for enhanced longevity, plus it has almost no scent so does not interfere with the scent added to the candle. Plant-based candles also offer lower emissions than non-plant-based.
Paraffin wax candles burn more brightly, and although they do not last as long as beeswax or plant-based candles, they do provide the best transfer of fragrance when used in scented candles.
The main drawback to paraffin candles is that they have been proven to give off low levels of toxic fumes that are linked to asthma and other breathing difficulties. Personally, I only use paraffin-based scented candles in the garden.
2. The Initial Burn Is The Most Important
Did you know that candles have a memory? Throughout the life of your scented candle, you, of course, want it to burn slow and evenly. The first burn of your new candle triggers the ‘memory’ of how evenly it will burn throughout its life.
The initial burn should last long enough so that the top layer of wax can melt thoroughly and evenly. This usually is 2 hours for a thick candle and perhaps only 30 minutes for the thinner variety.
Once you finally put out your candle after this first burn (check out this awesome candle snuffer on Amazon), the melted wax can set evenly, ready for the next burn.
3. Centre The Candle Wick
After each burn, while the upper wax of your candle is still in liquid form, gently re-centre the wick to its original position. This will ensure that your candle does not burn more and more unevenly each time you use it.
You may want to use a pair of tweezers so you do not accidentally burn your fingers on a hot wick, although the wick will be cool to the touch after a few minutes of being snuffed out. If you see the wick of your burning candle becomes wonky or lopsided, snuff it out, re-centre it, then light it back up again.
4. Keep The Candle Wick Trimmed
The length of the candle wick is a significant factor on how long your scented candle will last. If the wick is too long, there is more wick surface area exposed to the oxygen in the air. This means your candle will burn hotter and faster, reducing how long it will last.
Each time before using your candle, trim the wick to the length that is was when new, usually 3 – 4 mm. You can purchase a rather fancy wick trimmer just for this purpose.
5. Keep Away From Draughts
Oxygen in the air is the lifeblood of any burning candle, however, as with most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing.
A candle will burn far faster if placed in a draughty location as more air will pass over the burning wick. If you see the flame dancing and getting brighter than usual is a sure sign that your candle is overexposed to oxygen, and will in-turn, burn faster.
6. Mix With Salt
Did you know that table salt can slow down the rate at which the wax in the candle burns without affecting the scent?
Either at the end of each burn or once your candle has been burning for long enough to have a pool of melted wax on the surface, blow it out and quickly sprinkle a couple of pinches of table salt into the melted wax. Gently pat the salt crystals into the melted wax with a spoon.
7. The 4 Hours Burn Rule
Burning for no longer than 4 hours at a time is a critical time for increasing overall longevity of the scent contained within your beloved candle. Once your scented candle has been burning for longer than 4 hours, the wax can become so hot that the fragrance contained within the wax can begin to deteriorate.
If you want to enjoy the delightful candle fragrance for a longer duration, having two identical candles and burning each one for 4 hours is the best approach.
8. Before Moving Your Candle
Once you have finished burning your scented candle, for the time being, allow it to harden for at least an hour before moving it. Moving a candle too early while it still has an upper layer of liquid wax can impair the shape of the candle, making future burns uneven.
9. Place It In the Fridge
As crazy as it sounds, storing your candle in the fridge for at least a day can reduce the speed at which it burns, as cold wax burns slower. Considering how expensive some of these scented candles are, this is a trick well worth considering.
You can go one step further and store your candle in the freezer for a few hours. However, you may end up with the candle cracking, so proceed with caution.
10. Keep Out Of Direct Sunlight
If we learnt anything from the story of Icarus, candles and sunlight are not a match made in heaven. Although it is tempting to place your beautiful scented candle on full display on the window sill, direct sunlight will play havoc with its life-span. A combination of heat from direct sunlight and then cold in the evenings can lose precious fragrance from the candle.
11. Do Not Leave Outside
Although its perfectly fine to enjoy your scented candle outside, forgetting to bring it in and store it correctly once it has cooled plays havoc with the efficiency and overall longevity of the wax. The constantly changing temperatures of the great outdoors can allow both moisture and your delightful scent to escape.
12. Store Correctly
When your candle is not in use (and thoroughly cooled), placing it back in its original packaging and storing in a cool/dry place is the perfect environment for the wax to rest without being impacted by the environment. You can even wrap your candle in clingfilm to further lock in moisture.
Thoughts of wandering through floral summer fields, a trip to the coast, or the delicate smell of the forest in fall, scented candles can instantly transport you to another place.
Although, with the high cost of some designer candles, learning how to make scented candles last longer is a skill for life. So the next time you are ready to light up, spend a moment to consider the 12 tips in this guide to prolong the life of your candle!
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Andrew is a fragrance enthusiast, collector, and seasoned writer who has a burning passion for all things fragrance and flavour related. From woody aromatics to green & spicy, I leave no stone unturned in my quest to discover the ultimate scent. Andrew’s Full Bio.