Myth Buster: Common Candle Calamities

Burning a candle is easy, right? You just light it and let it do its job - but did you know that there are several ways to get the best out of your candle and to avoid common problems, such as "tunnelling" and "sooting"?

Read on to find out how to solve common candle problems...

My candle isn't burning evenly and there's lots of wax left around the edge - what do I do?!


This is one of our most asked questions - this is called "tunnelling" and is where the candle burns right down the middle and there's a ton of wax left at the edges. We'd always recommend burning a candle until the melted wax reaches the edge of the container the candle is in, whether this is a glass jar or a candle tin - depending on the size of the candle, this could take 1 hour, or it could take 4! What better excuse is there to sit down with a good book and several cups of tea? Believe it or not, wax has a memory, so if you burn your candle without the melted wax reaching the edge, the next time you light it, it'll only burn to that point. We create our candles so that tunnelling is avoided as much as possible, by only using high quality wax and select the right wick for each and every candle, but by burning it to the edge from that very first time, you'll be getting the most out of your candle.

My wick keeps giving off black soot and is staining my candle jar - why is this happening?

Sooting is probably the second most asked question about candles - it's as it sounds really, when soot features on the wick of the candle or you can see soot building up on the edges of your candle jar. We always look at what combination of wax and wicks create no, or at least minimal sooting when we're developing our products. There are some types of candles which are prone to sooting, and sometimes that cannot be stopped - our large candle jars for example. It's very hard to stop sooting in these particular candles as when hot air from the candle meets cold air coming into the candle (known as "turbulence" to our in-house experts), a little soot can be created. But fear not, we do our research on each and every candle to keep the chances of this happening to your candle to a minimum.

There's a a ball of black stuff on my wick - what is it?

When we say "clubbing", we don't mean glow paint, cheap alcohol and loud music - we mean that you must be getting a build up of excess carbon on your candle wick! Candle wicks are actually meant to curl in order to help the burning process (yes, really!) but a badly selected wick will be too stiff to do this, and will end up with a big black, club-like build up on the tip. We choose our wax blends, fragrances and wicks very careful so that this doesn't happen, but if you do find this happens to any candle you own, you can rescue it by snipping the nasty bit off (before it's lit, of course!)

My wicks have disappeared and I can't light my candle again - help!

Uh-oh, it seems like your candles are self-extinguishing, and that isn't good! Unless you're at the bottom of your candle, this should never happen. The most common cause of a self-extinguishing candle is that it's been burnt in a draught, meaning the wick is now uneven. Make sure to burn every candle away from a draught, such as a fan or an open window, to get the most out of your candle.

Why can't I burn my candles on polished, painted or synthetic surfaces?

Think about it - you've just upcycled your dream chest of drawers and it looks perfect in your room - you want to light some candles to relax after a hard day's DIY. You place a tealight on your latest pride and joy - can you imagine the damage that would cause?! Candles might be pretty and create a lovely atmosphere in your room, but we can't stress enough that safety always has to come first - we'd much prefer our home to be accident-free, even if it means sacrificing the perfect Instagram photo! There are enough cute and practical candle accessories around that will add to your home decor and will be the finishing touch to any room.

Why do you use paraffin wax, it's not natural!

We're constantly testing our candles to make sure that they're the best that they can be - our tests have shown that paraffin wax is the best type of wax to use for fragrance throw (how strong the scent is), stability and appearance. It's actually an incredibly natural wax, found on leaves and the skin of apples. We look at 5 different areas when producing our candles, and paraffin wax is the best for all of them; appearance, perfume, how it burns, stability and finally, cost.

We hope that this post will help you get the most out of your candles - but before we go, we wanted to give you a quick run down of some other bits that you should know:
1. Never leave a candle burning unattended - it is a naked flame after all!
2. Burn well out of reach of children and pets - be safe, not sorry.
3. Keep well away from flammable items - see above!
4. Observe minimum distance between two burning candles - burning candles should never meet.
5. Only stand on inflammable surfaces – use suitable containers or candleholders - we have a huge selection of candle accessories that look great and will help you to burn your candles safely.
6. Do not expose the candle to draughts or other air flows e.g. radiators - see our 'disappearing wick' section!
7. Keep the burning bowl free of impurities and flammable materials - you don't want anything else burning but your candle!
8. Extinguish sooting, flickering candles – trim the wick and/or rim before re-igniting - see our section on 'sooting'.
9. Do not move the candle so long as the wax in the burning bowl is still liquid - molten wax burns!
10. Never extinguish burning candles with water - wax can splash up and burn you - ouch...

If you have any other burning questions, check out our frequently asked questions.