choose the right candle for your needs
Different candles are better suited for different situations. For instance, if you're looking for a candle to light during your 60-minute daily meditation, we recommend small votive candles or short taper candles — definitely not pillars. Why? Votives work better for shorter duration burns, tapers even more so. Pillars are thicker and therefore made to burn for longer durations; if you burn a 3" wide pillar for an hour at a time, it'll likely tunnel.
Have a drafty house, or want to burn candles outside? Choose votive candles in glass that will protect it from the wind. Want the most illumination? Burn tapers – the flame is never hidden so it casts the most light.
first of all, be careful with candles
The most basic of recommendations, but always the most important. Don't ever leave a burning candle unattended. Even in the safest environments, a flame can turn into a fire. So be safe and smart with candles — make sure you extinguish them before you leave the house or go to bed.
choose the appropriate holder for your candle
It’s important to always use some sort of holder or base for your candles; never put a candle down directly on your table or furniture. Even a tea light candle, which is already contained in a little tin cup, should be placed in a holder before burning. The little aluminum cup can get quite hot and leave a burn mark on furniture.
These larger cylindrical candles are typically made to be free-standing, so they can be placed on most bases, or even a saucer. We suggest burning our unscented pillar candles on a concave base or one with a lip around the edge to help collect wax in the unfortunate case of a spill or blowout.
There are a lot of great taper holders, aka candlesticks, but not all of them have the same diameter. If our tapered candles are too thick for your candlestick, you can carefully shave a little wax off the base to make them fit. If a taper is a tad too narrow for your holder, you can warm the bottom of the taper with a flame, getting the wax to start melting, and then put it into the holder. The warmed wax will cool and harden and should keep the taper in place.
Votives should be burned in a holder that is just a tad wider than the votive itself. All votive candles are made to go molten, so the wax fills up the glass. If you put a votive candle on a flat pillar base, you'll be cleaning up a pool of wax an hour later. Also, you'll get more light from a glass votive holder than if you put it in an opaque holder where the flame will be hidden as the candle melts down.
don’t put water at the bottom of the votive
This is a classic restaurant move - to add a little bit of water to the votive holder before placing the candle in. For paraffin candles, it helps with removing the leftover wax once the candle is used up. This isn't necessary with GoodLight votive candles and will actually negatively affect the burn quality.
Because of the way the GoodLight votives are made, the water is absorbed by the wick and then the candle becomes difficult to light. Depending on how long the votive is burned and for how many sessions, there shouldn't be too much wax leftover. Loosen the leftover wax with a butter knife and it should pop right out, leaving a pretty clean votive holder.
remember to trim your wicks
Trim your wicks to a quarter-inch before lighting the candle, and during longer multi-hour burns too. This is important for pillars; you rarely need to trim the wicks of our tea lights or votives. When the wick gets long on a pillar, the flame gets bigger and can cause the long wick to curl over, displacing the flame from the center of the candle. As the flame reaches toward one side, its likely to burn a hole in the wall of the candle and cause a blowout - complete with a pool of wax on your base. Likewise, a long, curled wick on a taper candle may cause it to drip.
Also, shorter wicks are simply safer. Again, keeping them to about a quarter inch is ideal. But trim it too short and you might not be able to relight it.
keep pillar candles from tunneling
To avoid tunneling, the rule of thumb is to burn the pillar candle for an hour per inch in diameter. So you'd burn a 2" wide pillar for up to two hours per session, a 3" wide pillar for up to three hours.
You can usually get away with burning it a little longer, but if you burn it for too long, you're risking a sidewall blowout and a mess to clean up.
avoid drafts and stay drip- less
Many of our plant-based candles are dripless, but only if user error is avoided. Keep candles away from drafts, open windows, and fans. A draft will usually increase the size of the flame and blow the flame sideways, causing tapers to drip and pillar walls to breach.
extinguish candles without smoke
Don't like the smoke when you blow out the candle? Then use a snuffer for tapers, or, for other candles, dip the flame into the molten wax to extinguish it. You'll need a designated tool — we use an old butter knife as our official candle extinguisher at our house. Using your tool, gently push the wick over into the molten wax for a second until the flame goes out, and then guide the wick back into an upright position. That last step is important — otherwise, your wick will be buried when the wax dries.
Also, make a habit out of extinguishing a candle before it burns all the way down in its holder. The flame can be very hot, and if the holder is glass or crystal, the heat might crack the glass, even the best crystal.