How to Make Your Candles Last Longer

We all have our favorite candle scents, and it’s understandable that you would want to make the most of your candle and burn it for as long as possible. So how can you make your candle last longer? Follow these six candle care tips to maximize your candle burn time:

Burn it for the right amount of time.

You might have noticed candle tunneling before, which occurs when only the center part of the wax burns down. Candle tunneling occurs when the candle isn’t burned for long enough or the wick is too small for the candle. Because not all the wax is being burned, candle tunneling shortens the life of your candle. To prevent candle tunneling, burn the candle until the entire top layer of wax is melted. However, don’t let the candle burn for longer than four hours, as this can cause the wax to superheat.

wick tunneled into candle wax

Source: Su Nitram/

Trim the wick.

Another thing you can do to prevent tunneling is to trim the wick before each burn. Trim it down to ⅛” to ¼”, but not so short that you can’t light the candle. This ensures that your candle has just the right amount of wick to burn, and also that the flame will be evenly shaped. You want to remove the little mushroom curls (black curly shapes) at the top of the wick, as these will result in a lumpy flame. A short, clean wick will promote an even burn and keep your candle looking nice. You can use scissors, nail clippers or a dedicated wick trimmer to keep the candle trimmed.

Avoid drafts.

When lighting a scented candle, you should also avoid drafts, which can cause candle tunneling and even result in the candle being blown out. Watch out for vents, windows, fans and other sources of air. If you notice the candle flame flickering, check for air movement and try moving the candle to a spot that’s not in the path of the vent. However, you also want to make sure the space at large is well-ventilated in case any soot does form–that way, it will disperse. (More on soot in the next section.)

candle holders with soot

Source: roundex/

Clean the glass periodically.

If you follow the other tips on this list, your candle shouldn’t produce too much soot–if much at all. Soot occurs when the candle draws on more fuel than it needs to keep the flame going. Trimming the wick will help keep this under control. However, you might get a little soot here and there, which is nothing to be concerned about. Once the glass container has cooled completely, wipe it off with a wet cloth. If a damp cloth isn’t cutting it, you can put a tiny bit of dish soap on it or use some glass cleaner to wipe off the soot.

Store your candles properly.

When you’re not using your candles, you should keep them free of dust and debris by storing them properly. If the candle came with a lid, let the candle cool completely and then replace the lid. If it didn’t, place the candle in a covered cabinet or box to keep out the dust. You should also keep the candle out of the sun whenever you’re not using it since UV radiation breaks down particles and causes scents and colors to fade. This will further prolong the life of your candle, especially if you don’t burn it that often.

candles burning on table top

Source: Daria Minaeva/

Keep debris out of the candle.

Keeping debris out of the candle is important because it can compromise the structure of the wax and also contribute to an uneven burn. If you get dust or debris on top of the candle, gently wipe it off with a clean, damp cloth before burning. If you get debris inside the melted wax—for example, you accidentally knock off part of the wick when you blow out the candle—then you should fish out the particle with a pair of long- handled tweezers. Be careful as the container will likely be hot.

Follow these six tips to make your candles last longer and get the most burn time from them. If you want to get even more from your candles, check out our guide that explains how to burn a candle all the way down.