Keep­ing the flame aglow all sea­son long

The Observer (Sarnia) - - HOMES - JURA KONCIUS

There is ac­tu­ally a proper way to burn a can­dle. And there are ways to make them last longer.

The main rule of en­joy­ing can­dles is to never leave a burn­ing can­dle unat­tended. That’s ba­sic safety, af­ter all. We spoke to Laura Slatkin, founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­woman of Nest Fra­grances, about best prac­tices.

• Don’t burn a new can­dle for only a few min­utes. The first time you burn a con­tainer can­dle, you should al­low it to form a com­plete pool of melted wax across the sur­face of its con­tainer, from rim to rim. This is be­cause wax has a mem­ory, and on sub­se­quent light­ings, the wax pool will strug­gle to go be­yond the cir­cum­fer­ence of the pre­vi­ous burn. The can­dle will most likely tun­nel down into the wax from then on. The wick will sink deeper and deeper into the can­dle, and the wax on the sides will never burn, short­en­ing the life of your can­dle.

• Keep wicks trimmed. A trimmed wick will give you a nice bright flame. A long or a crooked wick can re­sult in un­even burn­ing, which can lead to bursts of high flames or smok­ing. Wicks should be about one-fourth-inch high for best burn­ing; don’t trim them lower than that. Slatkin’s method is to wait for the can­dle to cool 100 per cent and turn it up­side down. Take off the charred part with a tis­sue, and your wick will be good to light.

• Avoid putting burn­ing can­dles in the path of vents, fans or

drafts. Cur­rents of air can cause can­dles to burn un­evenly or pro­duce ex­ces­sive smoke or soot that can leave messy black stains on your con­tainer. If a wick be­comes too long or an air cur­rent dis­turbs the flame’s teardrop shape, small amounts of un­burned car­bon par­ti­cles can es­cape.

• Keep the wax pool clear of

any de­bris. Don’t mess up the can­dle pool with pieces of cut-off or charred wicks or used matches. In­tro­duc­ing de­bris into the wax will in­ter­fere with the chem­istry

of the can­dle and may cause it to burn un­evenly. This could clog the wick and pre­vent it from draw­ing up the fra­grance oil and dif­fus­ing the scent.

• Let a can­dle com­pletely cool

be­fore light­ing again. A can­dle in a con­tainer takes about two hours to com­pletely cool down, but it’s worth the wait both for safety and func­tion. It’s much safer to trim the wick when the wax pool has hard­ened. A hot pool of melted wax can burn your fin­gers if you dive in for a wick be­fore it’s cooled and so­lid­i­fied.

DEB LIND­SEY/FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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