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How-To: Make Your Candles Last Longer

I am always on a quest to stretch a buck, whether it's through use of multitasking beauty products, or discovering simple ways to make a bar of soap stick around a little longer or prolong the life of a razor. It always seems to me that I burn through candles at a record pace, so I've done my research. If you're looking to make your candles burn longer, cleaner, and more evenly, check out some tips when you

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  • Keep trim: To create a slower, even burn, trim the wick at about 1/4 inch before each lighting. If the wick is too long, it can make the candle burn too quickly. This Wickman Ultimate Wick Trimmer ($12) will do it for you.
  • Through the tunnel: You know that ugly core-like tunneling that can happen near the wick? You can prevent it. The general rule of thumb is to use the diameter as the guide for burning time. For instance, burn a candle that is four inches in diameter for four hours.
  • First time: To ensure a good, clean burn with your candles, the inaugural burn is the most important. Avoid extinguishing the candle until the wax pool that forms close to the wick almost reaches the outer edge of the candle. Then, blow it out and let it set.
  • Tear up: Look for a teardrop shape in the flame. If it flickers or smokes wildly, put it out, let it cool, trim (if needed), and relight.
  • Avoid the draft: Drafts can make candles flicker and wax burn erratically, so it's best to keep them in a less breezy environment.
  • Storage space: It should go without saying, but store candles away from heat and light. Long candles (like the dinner kind) should be laid flat to prevent warping.
  • Warm it up: A candle warmer does just that, working by heating up a scented candle, as opposed to actually lighting it. Of course, you lose some of the ambiance with this method, but your candles will surely last much longer.

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