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Candle Burning Tips

Candle Burning Tips

The first burn is the most important - how to do it right!

 Give your candle enough burning time to develop a melted wax pool that goes all the way to the edge of the container on the first use - this can take up to a few hours, depending on candle size.

Believe it or not, your jar candles have a kind of “wax-memory,” and once a burning pattern has been established, it can be hard to change.

If you don’t allow your candle enough time to form a full melt pool on the first burn, a little depression or “tunnel” may start to form around the wick.

This will make it more difficult for the wax around the edges of the jar to melt, causing the tunneling effect to continue with each burn.

Eventually the tunnel will become too deep for fresh oxygen to flow in, and your candle will have trouble staying lit for more than short periods of time.

To prevent this issue, make sure to give your candle enough time to develop a melted wax pool that goes all the way to the edge of the container the first time you use it.

This is a good practice for all jar candles, not just those with wooden wicks!

This melt pool can take 2 hours or more to form, depending on the candle size, so wait to light up your new candle until you have some time to “burn” … sorry, I couldn’t help it! 

After the first use, you don’t have to let a full wax pool form every single time, but it is ideal if you want to get the most life out of your candle. Just make sure give your jar candles a nice long burn every so often to “reset” the wax memory and prevent any tunneling.

This will keep your candle looking great, smelling great, burning evenly, and all the other great things you want!

* If you’re experiencing the dreaded “tunneling” problem already, you may be able to fix it - see tip #3 below.

Keep your wood wick trimmed short and free of charred bits!

 For optimal burn, keep your wood wick trimmed to about ⅛”, and clean off any burnt wood from previous use.

Other than the tunneling problem, if your wood wick candle won’t stay lit it’s probably because the wick is too long, or it needs to be trimmed clean of charred material.

Remember it’s not the wood fueling your candle’s flame, it’s the wax. The flame is drawing the wax upwards through the wick, so if it’s not trimmed short and clean, the wax can’t make it to the flame.

For optimal burn, keep your wood wick trimmed to about ⅛” - this is shorter than you might think the wick should be - around the width of the metal part of a USB drive. You’ll also want to clean off any charred bits.

For trimming, we’ve always found an old set of nail clippers or wire cutters to work great. In a pinch, you can always use a napkin and your fingers to gently break off the burnt parts of the wick.

Just make sure to let your candle cool before trimming, as you don’t want any bits of ash or wick material left in the wax when you’re done. It’s much easier to clean this up when the wax is hard and cool!

How to fix a candle that’s tunnelling:

 If your wood wick or jar candle has developed some tunneling from shorter burns, you can usually fix it - here’s how:

Before we start, double check if you can light your wick using these tips:

  • Use a long wand candle lighter and hold the flame directly on top of the wick for up to 30 seconds to melt some of the surrounding wax.
  • Try holding the candle upside down as you light it. But don’t do this for more than 10-15 seconds because you don’t want to have wax dripping on your hand. 

If you were able to light the wick, that’s great! Now just let your candle burn and enjoy it for a few hours until the wax on the surface is evenly melted again. 

If not, don’t worry — a buried wick can be easily fixed with stuff you already have at home. Here’s what to do if your candle wick is too short to light.


The first step to fix a wick that’s too short is to soften up the surrounding wax by melting it.  

To do this, you’ll need either a heat gun or blow dryer. If you don’t have either of these, a long wand candle lighter will also work — it’ll just take some more time. 

  • Hold your heat gun or blow dryer (on high heat) over the candle wick to start melting the surrounding wax.
  • If your wick was buried because it’s either tilted, bent, or curled, stop heating the wax once it’s soft and move onto step 2.
  • If your wick was trimmed too short, keep melting the wax until you have an even layer of liquid wax on the surface before moving on to step 2.


The next step is to dig out the wick. The way you do this depends on if the length of the wick is too short (over-trimmed) or if the wick was buried (tilted, bent, or curled into the wax). 

  • If your wick was buried, use a pair of tweezers or a Q-tip to nudge the wick back to an upright position, making sure it sticks out above the surface of the wax. Hold it in this position until the wax cools.  
  • This is easier when the wax is soft but not completely melted, so if you’re having trouble just wait until the wax becomes opaque and try again.  
  • If your wick was too short, you can use a paper towel to dab and soak up the excess wax until there’s about ⅛ to ¼ inch of wick above the surface. 
  • At the end of this step, let the wax cool.


The last step is to light your candle again and reset it’s “memory” by allowing it to evenly melt the entire top layer of wax.  

We do this to even out any marks left behind when we dug out the wick in step 2. It also prevents the candle from tunneling the next time you burn it, which can cause your wick to get buried again. 

This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the size of your candle. Our general rule of thumb is to let the candle burn for 1 hour for every 1 inch of diameter.

These are last resort options though - so no guarantees!

Remember, prevention is better than cure - and if you follow the best practices mentioned above, your wood wick candles should burn nicely!

Especially if they are made with high quality soy wax :)

Happy Candle Burning!! 

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