The Biggest Mistakes You Make When Buying or Burning A Candle - Part 4 - Clare Makes

The Biggest Mistakes You Make When Buying or Burning A Candle - Part 4

At the risk of sounding like your mother, let’s get something out of the way: burning a candle is not going to bring you good luck or make you appear more attractive. The belief that lighting a single flame will somehow have magical properties is simply not true.

However, there are benefits to using them in your home, car, or any other space you occupy on a regular basis. With so many different types and scents available today, it can be hard to know which one (or ones) are right for you. Keep reading for helpful tips on how to buy or burn a candle safely and successfully!


Burn your candle for the scent, not to provide light.

Many people mistakenly think that the main benefit of a candle is that it provides light in a room where there may be a lack of electricity. However, a candle’s primary function is scenting a room. Candles work best to remove odors or create a scent in a room with a good amount of ventilation (like a window open just a crack). When a candle is burning and hot, the aroma molecules are actually drawn up the wick and into the air, where they can fill the room with fragrance. If you’re looking for light, a lamp, candle, or other light source would be a better choice. If you’re looking to fill a room with fragrance, a candle (or maybe a few) is your best bet.

Check your wicks regularly and don’t use old candles.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when burning candles is letting them go too long. While this may seem like a good way to save money, it’s actually a fire hazard. The best way to check if a candle is ready to be burned is by examining the wick. When you first light the candle, the wick will have a curly shape and be covered by a black coating. This is normal and means that the wick is burning off the coating. Every time the candle is lit, the wick will burn lower until it reaches the bottom of the candle. When you notice the wick is only partially covered in a black coating, it’s time to replace the candle. It’s also smart to discard any candle with a broken or dirty wick as this can cause the candle to burn unevenly, which can lead to a fire hazard.

Don’t buy a candle based only on smell.

While it may be tempting to buy the candle with the strongest fragrance (there are scents for every season and mood), it’s important to make sure you buy one that’s actually made well. If you buy a candle from a gas station or dollar store, chances are it’s made with low-quality materials and will produce little to no scent. A good candle is one that is made with high-quality materials and has been tested. These tests ensure the candle will not be a fire hazard and will burn cleanly, emitting a fragrance that is pleasing to the nose. The best way to find a high-quality candle is  that specializes in candles. Buyers in these places will almost always have their merchandise tested and will have a good idea what scents are popular right now. They’ll also be able to help you navigate the wide variety of options and find a candle that will smell great and not break the bank.

Don’t burn a candle in an enclosed space, lantern or box.

This is a safety tip that many people ignore. While it may seem like a good idea to light a candle and surround yourself in a bubble of fragrance, you’re actually only going to make the scent fill the room less effectively. In an enclosed space, the scent molecules are largely trapped by the walls around them and don’t get the chance to fill the rest of the room. This can be particularly problematic in a very small room, where the enclosed space can cause the scent to become overwhelming and even potentially cause a safety hazard by filling the room with smoke and too many scent molecules. Opening doors can help ventilate the space so that the scent can fill the room and surrounding areas more effectively.

Also, never place your candle inside a lantern, box or other container. Candle lanterns or candle holders as they are sometimes known, are only for use with LED tea lights (with a battery) and are never safe for use with a container candle. Using a container candle inside a candle lantern (especially if it has a rope or other flammable item attached to it) is a fire hazard and we specifically advise against it.

Don’t burn candles all the way down.

This might seem like common sense, but it’s important to resist the urge to light a candle that is almost down to the very last inch. Many candle-related fires begin with someone trying to get a few more hours of burning time out of a candle that is almost done. As a candle burns down, it begins to get very hot and can cause the wax around it to melt. This can lead to a fire hazard if the candle is too close to something flammable. If you notice that your candle is getting low, it’s best to put it out, even if you have a few more hours of burning time left. Put the candle out by covering it with a lid or by blowing out the flame with a long breath.

Candle safety tips for particular circumstances.

If you’re burning a candle in a home setting, make sure you only use candles that are suitable for indoor use. Check labels for proper warnings and instructions for use. The best placement for a candle in an indoor setting is an end table next to a couch or chair. If you’re burning a candle in a bedroom, make sure there are no items or furniture nearby that could catch fire easily if the candle were to be knocked over.


At the end of the day, burning a candle is all about creating a mood or scent in a room and enjoying the benefits of that without the drawbacks of scented candles. It’s important to remember that candles produce light by burning, so they may not be the best choice if you need light in a room where there’s not a lot of natural light. If you’re looking for an easy, cost-effective way to make a room smell great, there’s no better option than a good old-fashioned candle.

Photo by Krzysztof Maksimiuk on Unsplash
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