Burning Soy Candles

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Winter Holiday Candle — Exclusively at Mireio

Last year, I posted this on my personal blog and I thought Mireio readers might like to see it now. Below you’ll find my whimsical approach to burning soy candles. It’s packed with great tips on how to  get the best burn life from your soy candle. And a solution if you’ve drowned your wick and your candle will no longer light.


Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Did you know that soy wax has a memory? Yep! It’s sentient and while you sleep it schemes ways of exacting its revenge! Apparently, it’s not too keen on being lit afire and being made to melt into viscous pools.  Ok, I exaggerate, but truth be told it does remember its last burn—and if you don’t maintain your candle properly, give it a little attention now and again, it can eventually burn itself out long before the wax is used. It’s a lot like love in this regard. You don’t get to light it and walk away! You have to fan the flames a bit. And now I’ve seriously run amok with a metaphor. Kick the dead horse, Wende, kick it! Ahem.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I thought you might like to know how to help your candle burn to its full potential. As it turns out, burning a soy container candle properly is rocket science.

You know what I said about not being able to light a candle and walk away? Yeah, I meant it. For safety reasons, please, please, please never leave a lit candle unattended. If you do light a candle and get, uh, distracted by that darling man you married and his proffer of champagne and moonlight, make sure that candle is out of kicking distance. Or tipping distance. Or tossing the pillow off the bed distance.  He might want to set the night on fire, but trust me there is nothing sexy about the fire department coming to your house when you’re in your underwear.  So, burn candles when you’re not burning–or make sure they’re out of reach.

And while you’re keeping them out of kicking reach, keep them out of drafts as well. A draft can cause a wick to drift far from center. Left or right, makes no difference—if your wick isn’t centered, it can’t reach its zen potential and that, my friends, will only lead to heartache.

You know what I said about candles and memory? Well, it turns out, soy wax’s memory might be longer than yours. It remembers its first burn. Ok, who forgets their first burn? Nobody, but wax especially remembers. And if it’s not a good burn, then your candle is on its merry way to being cold in no time. To keep that from happening, a first burn means your candle should burn until there is a wax pool across the entire width of the candle.  Get that? Entire width. If you blow that candle out before the entire top has melted, then the next time you light your candle it will burn consistently smaller and smaller circles until it no longer lights. It’s called tunneling, and it can happen to candles from the best of families.

You know what I said about trimming the wick to 1/4″? Ok, now you’re just making stuff up because I didn’t say diddly about trimming wicks. But you should. I’ve personally found that 1/4″ is too short. Make it a generous 1/4″ to keep that wax burning all the way to the edge.  If you find that the wick drifts away from center, gently move it back to center AFTER you blow out the candle. Moving wicks while they’re still burning is courting disaster.  Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll try moving it while it’s lit because you’re the kid who just had to put the key in the light socket. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, what happens if you don’t follow the rules and your candle starts to burn itself out? You’ve neglected to give your candle the proper attention it needs to thrive and it dies from your lack of care? What then, you lament. Whatever can you do?

Get a spoon.

That’s right, you heard me, get a spoon! Turns out, soy wax is very soft and is easily scraped out with an ordinary spoon. Scrape the excess wax along the side of the candle—the edges that you didn’t let completely melt the first time! Scrape it down until a generous 1/4″ of wick is showing and the top is fairly even. Then, grab your hair dryer—position the nozzle just high enough to melt the wax without blowing it and turn the dryer on. Keep heating that top layer of wax until the ENTIRE SURFACE melts to the edge. Why? Because soy wax has a memory. And you’re making a new one!

If that wax pool ends up being too deep, so that it drowns your wick, pour off the pool. Wipe down the inside edge of the candle. You should have an even top, an exposed wick, and a second chance at hot, hot burning love. Wait until the wax has completely cooled before re-lighting.

And this time. . . don’t neglect to keep the home fires burning. The entire surface. To the the edge.

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