How Long Should You Burn a Candle? Things You Should Know!

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
15 min read

A candle can be lit in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Fortunately, following the right care and safety guidelines for candles is. Frequently, people wonder things like, “How long should a candle be burned?”

To make your favorite candles last longer, simply follow these simple instructions. Burn candles like a pro with minimal soot and tunneling. To begin, inspect the wick for debris and trim it to the proper length.

In order to get an even burn, trim the wick to at least 14 inches before igniting. Remove the wax pool of any accumulated debris. The candle will consume more fuel than it was intended to if any debris is present.

The flame may flare up unexpectedly if there is too much fuel. Wicks that are overly long or crooked can cause uneven burning, leaking, scorching, and sooting. This will help extend the life of your candle.

In other words, for how long should a candle be lit? You may extend the life of your candles by up to 25% by regularly trimming the wick. Take your time and do it right the first time. Just as the first cut is the deepest, so is the first burn.

How Long Should You Burn a Candle?

In order to ensure the safety of yourself and others, do not burn a candle longer than the manufacturer recommends. When a candle is left burning for a lengthy period of time, carbon can build up on the wick and cause instability. Potentially deadly smoke and soot can come from this.

You should follow the instructions of your candlemaker at all times. In general, candles should not be left burning for longer than four hours. After extinguishing the flame, let the candle cool for two hours before re-igniting it.

How to Prevent Candle Tunneling

Keep the flame at least three feet away from any moving objects. For every inch of candle diameter, aim for an hour of burn time. For example, a 2-inch-wide candle should burn for two hours.

Wax will develop a “memory ring” and continue to tunnel if a candle is not burned long enough to melt it completely. During prolonged burning, carbon builds on the wick, which results in the “mushrooming” of the candle.

Because it makes the wick unsteady, the flame grows dangerously large. As the candle burns, it will produce a foul odor and produce soot. To avoid this, always follow the instructions provided by the product’s manufacturer.

Candles should never be left burning for more than four hours at a time in most cases. Before relighting, allow it to cool for at least two hours. Take care not to touch the flame to any moving air.

Open windows, fans, air conditioners, and other high-traffic areas should be avoided when using a candle. When the flame is disrupted, soot or spots might form on the glass as a result of the movement of the air. Unattended candles can start fires, so keep them covered or far away from combustible materials.

To the greatest extent possible, put out the flame with a snuffer rather than blowing on it. When a flame is extinguished, it produces and disperses irritating black ash. It’s common for it to become stuck in the wax. Snuffers aren’t necessary if you buy candles that come with lids.

How Long Do Candles Take To Smell?

You don’t have to leave the candle burning all day if you want your house to smell good. In just an hour or two, your room will be completely scented by a high-quality candle. Up to 55 hours can be achieved with a typical candle’s burn time.

Set Your Candle’s Memory

When lighting the candle for the first time, a common misstep is to burn it too quickly. The life of a candle is determined by the size of the wax pool at the beginning of the burn. The wax will not be melted any further after the initial burn.

Tunneling may occur if the wax melts too far from the edge of the candle. In other words, it occurs when the wax of a candle melts away, leaving a thick, ineffective mantle or rim behind. To avoid tunneling, make sure the first burn is long enough to melt the candle all the way to the edge.

The First Burn Should Be Timed Strategically

Scented candles are great for evoking memories when relaxing on the couch, but did you know that candle wax has its own memory? When you first light your candle’s wick, all wax melts in the same way. Burn it until the liquified wax coats the jar’s interior, then remove the burner.

By allowing it to burn for one hour every inch of candle diameter, you can get this effect. In order to avoid a “memory ring,” the candle must be extinguished. In other words, the candle’s wax will not burn to its full circumference.

Using this method, you can create a hollowed-out core in the wax, leading to yet another candle puzzle known as “tunneling.” Many methods are available in the event that you end up with a caved-in candle, so long as you avoid tunneling.

Candle tunneling can be prevented, in part, by using tinfoil. Leave an opening above the wick in the middle of the strip you use to wrap your candle’s top. Allow a half-hour of burning time after which you can extinguish your candle.

The candle should be fine to go after you remove the wrapper. An alternative method is to blow dry the top layer of wax until it melts back into place. Alternatively, you can trim the borders of the “tunnel” to even out the wax’s distribution more evenly.

It can also aid you with your candle dilemma. Many waxes are lost during tunneling. To ensure a successful burn, it’s best to fix the problem as soon as you notice it.

Your Foolproof Guide To Burning A Candle Correctly

Candlelighting is simple. There’s a silver lining, though, in that appropriate candle care and safety standards are just as important. By following these basic guidelines, you can extend the life of your favorite candles, avoid unattractive soot and tunneling, and burn candles like a pro.

Always trim the wick and check for debris.

Trim the wick to 14 inch before lighting a candle and remove any wax pool debris, such as wick trimmings or matches, before lighting it. The candle will burn faster if there is any trash in the way. Over-fueling a candle can cause the flame to unexpectedly flare up or possibly ignite a small fire next to the candle. Burning unevenly, dripping, flaring, and sooting can occur if the wick is left long or crooked. Trimming the wicks of your candles will make them last longer. Trimming the wicks of your candles every couple of hours can extend their life by up to 25%.

Love Burning Candles? Here's What You Need to Do to Make Them Last

Get it right the first time.

The first burn, like the first cut, is the most critical. Burning time should be equal to the diameter of the actual candle in inches. For instance, a 2-inch-wide candle should burn for two hours. A “memory ring” is formed when a candle is not lit long enough for the wax to liquefy or melt from the container’s edge to edge. There will be no more tunneling for the candle as long as its “memory ring” is in place.

Don’t keep candles burning for longer than indicated on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Too much time spent burning a candle will eventually lead to the wick “mushrooming.” An unstable and deadly flame will result from this. Additionally, your candle will begin to smoke and spew soot. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can avoid this. Candles should not be left burning for more than four hours at a time, and should be allowed to cool for at least two hours before relighting.

Keep the flame away from moving air.

When lighting a candle, keep it away from moving air such as that produced by fans, air conditioners, and windows that are left open. Moving air might cause the flame to flicker, leaving behind those unsightly black smudges on the window.

Store your candles properly.

With the lid on, store candles in an area that is cool, dark, and dry to keep them free of dust and debris. Highly fragrant candles have a life span of 6 to 12 months, depending on the scent. Make sure to use and change your candles frequently if you appreciate the scents they provide.

7 Ways We’re All Burning Candles Wrong

1. Not Choosing Your Candle Wisely

Keeping candles out of direct sunlight and in an area that is cool, dry, and dust-free is the best way to preserve their wax and smell. Depending on the aroma, really fragrant candles can last anywhere from six months to a year. For those who appreciate the scent of scented candles, be sure to use and replace your candles on a regular basis.

2. Only Trimming Your Wick Once

Heyen recommends trimming the wick to a quarter-inch before burning each time to avoid the candle smoking excessively and leaving soot streaks on the container. However, according to Heyen, this can actually cause uneven burning, flaring, or leaking. A nail clipper or normal scissors can be used to make cuts. There’s no need for a specialized wick trimmer, although it does look nice next to a candle and matchbook on a coffee table. Flat tips, as Heyen points out, aren’t completely useless. Trimming the wick on a flat surface avoids tiny soot flecks from getting lodged in the melted wax. When the wax has dried completely, make sure to cut the wick.

3. Not Burning Your Candle Long Enough the First Time

Lighting a candle for 3 to 4 hours the first time will ensure that it burns evenly and continuously for as long as feasible. We think wax has a muscle memory because it always burns in the same pattern. In other words, if you burn your candle for a long enough period of time the first time, the wax will pool throughout the entire jar, making subsequent burns easier. Instead of generating a full melt pool, tunneling can occur, in which a candle’s flame burns straight down the middle of it. Your candle’s outer wax surface area diminishes as soon as it starts tunneling.

4. Giving Up on an Improperly Burned Candle

Exactly what you think it is. Heyen explains that you have a few methods for reviving a partially tunneled candle. To smooth out the wax surface, either use a low-heat hair drier or place the candle in a 175°F oven for about 5 minutes. There are two ways to melt the wax back to its original level and smoothness. Remove any wax that has accumulated on the wick.

5. Not Watching Your Burn Time

Using a candle for more than four to six hours at a time is discouraged by Heyen. Heyen advises: “You want to keep your candle from overheating.” To avoid unevenly burning candles, “you have to keep it from becoming completely liquid,” she advises. It’s best to maintain a burning candle close by.

6. Blowing Out Your Candles

Seriously. Snuffers have always seemed like a gimmick to me, but it turns out that blowing out a flame actually generates and spreads tiny black ash particles that become embedded in the wax. However, you don’t need to purchase a snuffer. Get a lidded candle and you’ll be able to put out the flame just as effectively. A cover also prevents dust and grime from entering. It’s best to wait until the candle is totally cooled before handling or moving it.

7. Not Reusing Your Vessels

The candles made by Paddywax and many other manufacturers are all designed to be reused. Concrete is superior to ceramic, metal, and glass as planters, makeup brush holders, and pencil cups, among other uses.

Hopefully, you learned a little something here about candle burning. And if you’re in Nashville, go pour a candle. It costs $35 and is a lot of fun. Then there’s the bonus of a one-of-a-kind candle.

Candle Burning Tips - Do You Burn Your Candle The Right Way? | Koch & Co


How long should you let a candle burn?

Hopefully, you learned a little something here about candle burning. And if you’re in Nashville, go pour a candle. It costs $35 and is a lot of fun. Then there’s the bonus of a one-of-a-kind candle.

Should I put the lid on my candle after blowing it out?

To prevent the wax and wick from being contaminated by dust and grime, just blow out the candle and then cover it immediately with the lid. With addition, it aids in smoke containment. To have your entire room suddenly smell like smoke after blowing out your candle before bed is the worst thing that could happen, Raza added.

Why can’t I smell my candle when it’s burning?

In the event that you can no longer detect the aroma of your candle, this does not necessarily mean that the scent has gone away; rather, your brain has simply shut down and you are no longer aware of the scent. After lighting your candle and letting it burn for two hours, take a 15-minute walk outside to refresh your sense of smell before returning.

Conclusion on How Long Should You Burn a Candle

You can’t merely light a candle and wait for it to melt; there’s more to it than that. There are other considerations, such as the length of time that a candle should be left burning. By addressing these issues, you’ll be able to get the most out of your candles.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.