January 4, 2013

Candle Care

Over these past few weeks, I’ve been burning a lot of scented candles, especially my favourite Thymes Frasier Fir candles, which makes the house smell so Christmassy without being fake or overbearing. imageI’d love to get one of the classic candles like Diptyque or Cire Trudon, but honestly, I can’t fathom paying that much for something I am going to burn!

The one thing I detest about all candles, from birthday candles, to elegant white tapers in silver candelabra, and even lovely scented candles, is the smell of the smoke when you extinguish the flame. That ruins the whole experience for me. imageSo, when I read an article in the WSJ’s Off Duty section and saw some candle hints, I paid attention. Julien Pruvost, the Executive Director of Cire Trudon, France’s oldest candle maker, gave a little Candle Burning 101 seminar in three paragraphs.

The worst habit is to burn a new candle for 30 minutes and put it out. Wait about two hours, until the surface has melted. What releases fragrance is not the flame but the melted wax.

To put out a candle, use a non-flammable metal utensil like a wick dipper (or a bent paper clip if you’re like me!) to push the wick in the wax, then wait a few seconds and pull it out. The wick will be coated in wax, so the smoke will not interfere with the scent.

A common mistake is to leave a candle burning all day. The ideal time is two hours, no longer than three.

imageIf you learn one new trick this year, this is the best one. It really makes such a huge difference when you put the candle out – you smell the lingering scent of the candle, not the sooty smoke.


  1. Thank you for posting this...I never thought about the wick dipper method!

  2. guilty here -i spend WAY too much on candles -it's my one luxury where I splurge. I'm such a deal hunter otherwise. Here's the trick for scanted candles in jars - I extinguish the candle by placing a saucer over the jar -it burns out in about 3 seconds after the oxygen burns. The saucer traps in any smoke! I typically have a saucer next to the candle anyway to hold a book of matches. In 5 minutes you can remove the saucer if you like or just leave it till the next time you light the candle!

  3. I never heard about the wick dipper + a grand post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  4. I'm one of those oddballs who loves the smell of gasoline when it's being pumped, the smell of just-blown-out candle wicks, and matches that have just been struck. I love the smell of modeling clay, nail polish remover, and Sharpie markers, too. Not to mention rubber cement, and the smell of a hot motorcycle engine, and motor oil.

    In other news, I only use incense for smell. I use candles for their romantic light. Most scented candles smell like crap to me. Way too perfumey. If I'm desperate for a scented candle, a few drops of my favorite essential oil in the melted wax of a burning candle and voila... a scented candle that smells exactly the way I want it to!

  5. Good to know! I love burning candles and I've learned a few important things from this. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  6. Great tip!....I am getting ready to paint my powder room ceiling after noticing that it had turned and ugly shade of gray....nope, just smoke residue from hurriedly blown out candles. At least it will not happen again! k

  7. This is fascinating! I had to add a $450 Cire Trudon candle to my Amazon wish list after clicking through on your link to Barney's. Why? Because I can't WAIT for my husbad to get that wild look in his eyes and tell me that I'M the one who's gone mad... ;-)

    Love the trick about wick dipping. I'll try that next time!


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