5 Tips For Making Your Favorite Candles Last Longer

Candlelight with a favorite scent thrown in sets a distinct mood, whether you want to relax, make things romantic, or get cozy indoors. Along with soft lighting, scented candles infuse a space with aromas that influence your mood, stress levels, and memory. According to WebMD, scents stimulate the limbic portion of your brain through your nose, creating electric signals that affect mood, thoughts, and memory. Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, which are commonly used in candles, reduce anxiety and encourage relaxation and sleep.

If you can't get enough of the vibe (or limbic activity) your candles give off, things can get pricey quickly. Though scented candles range in price, it's easy to run up your credit card bill if you burn them often. Luckily, there are ways to extend the life of your candles. While some recommended methods, like freezing candles or adding salt to them, are up for debate, there are some solid ways to handle the wax and wick that make candles last longer. If you feel like you're truly burning through your candles and cash, try these handy tips to extend their lifespan.

Make your first burn count

To make your candle last, the first burn is the most important, so heed our upcoming advice. First, before you light it for the first time, straighten the wick, and trim it if it's over ¼ inches long. This will set the candle up for an even burn, via Homesick. After you light the wick, allow the candle to burn until the pool of wax reaches the edges of the container or the full width of the candle. If you don't burn it long enough this first time, it will create a "memory ring" up until where the melted wax stops, Warm Exchange Candle notes. Each time you burn the candle after, it will only burn up until that ring point rather than its entire width, effectively shrinking it.

The best rule is to light your new candle only when you have enough time to let it burn thoroughly. You should plan to burn the candle for one hour for every inch of the candle's diameter — so if the candle is 2 inches wide, make sure you have two hours to keep it lit on that first burn.

Trim the candle wick

Trimming the wick continually is a simple trick for getting your candle to burn longer. Do this before the first time you light the candle if the wick is over ¼ of an inch, and again each time you plan on burning it. A shorter wick will create a smaller flame when you light it, which will, in turn, melt the wax slower. The Candle Barn Company notes a larger flame also burns up the scent quicker, meaning you'll enjoy less fragrance from your candle if the wick is too long. Longer wicks also create smoke, turning candle jars a dark black color.

Along with trimming the wick, tidy it up if you notice it's become frayed or unraveled, as this will also cause the wick to smoke. You can use small, sharp scissors or a nail cutter to get the job done. If you use candles frequently, it might be worth purchasing a wick trimmer. You can see how they work in this handy tutorial from Yankee Candle.

Store your candle in the right place

Candles aren't meant to stay hidden and often have prime visibility in home décor. If your scented candles are out on display, you should still follow a few tips to ensure they last. The most common suggestion is to keep them out of direct sunlight. TLC Candle Co notes that strong light can start to melt the wax, whether you are there to enjoy the scent or not. Candles prefer cool, dark places, so consider this when arranging them around a room. You also want to keep candles away from drafty areas (per Homesick) and out of direct line from vents, fans, and breezes. This will help the candle burn straighter.

If you have a cache of loose or pillar candles that you don't plan on using just yet, Shearer Candles recommends covering them in tissue paper and storing them upright in a dry and cool site. Candles that are encased in jars or tins will hold their scent longer than ones that are exposed. And if your candle is uncovered when you're not using it, brush away dust and particles before lighting it.

Freezing candles will not make them burn longer

A common tip for making candles last longer is to put them in the freezer. The logic behind this is that by making the wax colder, your candle will burn slower. While that may seem reasonable, it's unfortunately not true. Not only has this tip been debunked many times over, but it can also achieve the opposite results by damaging your candles. U.S. Candle Company conducted a test to determine whether frozen wax melted slower than its room-temperature counterpart. After freezing a candle until the wax reached 33 degrees Fahrenheit, they burned it alongside the unfrozen-sized candle. After two hours, the same amount of wax remained once the candles cooled.

According to Kate's Candles Co, there are many reasons not to freeze candles. First, extreme temperature swings cause the wax to crack, and moisture can also collect in the wick at the core of the candle. Fast temperature swings also cause the candlewax to retract, which pushes some of the oil used to scent it to the outside. Once the candle is back at room temperature, the collected oil will begin to drip down the outside, and it will not smell as strongly.

Using salt to keep your candle burning longer

There's debate over whether adding salt to your candle wax will extend its life. The tip you will commonly see is to sprinkle salt on the top of the candle to slow its burn time and essentially burn less wax. Candle Romance conducted a test by mixing salt directly into the wax when they were molding a candle from scratch. After weighing the finished candle alongside a salt-free candle and burning them for two-and-a-half hours, the salted candle burned less wax than the control candle.

While that sounds good, The Candleers conducted a salt test with different results. Since most people will not be creating candles from scratch, they sprinkled salt onto the top of a partially melted candle. After burning it and a control candle (with no salt) for an hour, both burned the same amount of wax. The jury is still out on whether this works, including how much salt to use, when to add the salt, and how long you must burn the candle for it to work, so feel free to test it out and decide if this trick is right for you.