Candle Care & Safety


Northern Lights  have listed some important guidance notes on safety and burning of candles and other products available on the website where appropriate which  have been written to assist the end user in obtaining the best possible results from their purchase. It is assumed by purchasing any of our products that this information has been read and understood.


1.                   PLACEMENT - Place your candle on a level surface.  Candles that are not level will burn unevenly causing spillage (runs).  This is wasted wax and is the main cause of complaint from customers who expect a longer burn from a given candle size.  It can frequently amount to over HALF of a candles wax capacity and burn time.  The use of decorative candle sand can provide a surface for candles to be correctly levelled. Keep away from drafts which can cause the same problem if the flame bends over the edge of the candle accelerating the burn time and making the candle more dangerous.  Never leave your candle unattended and use a suitable container/holder for it.


1a           Pillar candles on a mantle piece particularly over a wood-burner stove or fire will drip and burn unevenly very quickly in the warm draft.    Use container candles for these locations such as t lights, candle tins, and jars. 


1b          BURN TIMES - Candles which offer/indicate an approximate Burn time, are based on and calculated on the safe and correct use of the product, and will vary if the notes and guides given herein are not followed.


1c         CANDLES WITH WRAP AROUND DESIGNS - keep wick trimmed very short when burning, cut the transfer down as it burns if it starts to curl towards the wick, which can happen in area's with a draught flow, if this happens put the candle out immediately and trim the design transfer by cutting it back,   particularly with dinner/stick candles.  Pillar candles the candle will usually burrow down creating a lantern like affect. But in all candle with printed designs keep an eye on the transfer and cut if it gets too close the the flames the environment it is burning in is usually the issue here a bent over flame can catch it alight



2.               LOCATION - Do not expose your candle to unnecessary draughts – this can result in the same effect as above i.e. the flame will burn in the direction of the breeze causing the edge of the candle to melt and resulting in spillage.



2a           Never move a lit candle.  This can cause the flame to accelerate, or the wick to move out of centre causing the side of the holder to burn or crack.  Or the surface of the molten wax to splash or ignite. When a candle is near the bottom take particular care with this.


3.                   MAINTENANCE - Keep the wick trimmed.  Wicks that are allowed to burn without trimming will invariably curl and lean to one side.  Wicks can also build up a ball of soot causing the candle to die down, keep the wick clean to improve burn quality by  gently knocking off the excess soot. The wick can be trimmed whilst the candle is cold using ordinary scissors or using our candle trimming tool.  Remove only the carbonised part of the wick (i.e. the bit that will disintegrate in your fingers).  A properly trimmed wick should be about half-an-inch (12 mm) tall., or less.  If the wick should appear to be moving away from the centre of the candle then CAREFULLY (as you need to do this whilst it is still burning) . You can check for a non-centred wick since the candle rim will start to lose its level and sag to one side (assuming this is not being caused by a breeze).  Do not allow carbonised parts of the wick to fall into the wax pool.  This is not only unsightly but will eventually interfere with the burning path and result in spillage. Drafts will also cause uneven burning.  Always put out your candle using a snuffer, blowing out a candle is very dangerous and can cause a burning bit of wick to dislodge from the candle and set fire to something else and splash hot wax about.  If you have to blow out a candle do it gently. 


4.                   FIRST LIGHT and the MELT POOL - Always allow larger candles to burn for a given amount of time after they are first lit as you need to develop a melt pool.  A rule of thumb is to allow a candle to burn for ONE HOUR for every inch of its diameter i.e. a 3-inch diameter candle should, on its first burn, continue for THREE HOURS before being extinguished.  This will form a pool of melted wax that, as the candle burns for the FIRST time, spreads across the width of the candle.  Extinguish the candle before the melt pool exceeds the width of the candle or, if you wish for a ‘lantern effect then do not allow the melt pool to get within one quarter of an inch (6 mm) of the edge.  Forming a correct melt pool will allow your candle to burn to this same diameter at each subsequent relighting thereby utilising the maximum amount of wax.  Failure to form a proper melt pool will result in the candle burning a deep, narrow hole through its centre making it difficult to maintain (trim the wick) and almost impossible to relight. 


5.                   DINNER CANDLES – This type of candle, in particular, suffers the most from incorrect positioning.  Try to ensure the candle is absolutely vertical.  Dripping wax is an immediate indication that the candle is not ‘true’ and this has a huge effect on burn time (can lessen it by half or more). Always trim the wick before each lighting. Keep wick trimmed. Printed and coloured versions take care the wick does not touch the print film or design.


6.                   VOTIVE'S – These should be burned in an appropriate holder.  Failure to do so will result in the candle rapidly spreading and forming a wide, melted lump.  In its correct container a votive candle will still melt but its shape will be maintained by the holder.  Keep an eye on the wick position.  If the wick should move off-centre the votive may not keep its melt pool centred and can result in the wick being drowned (flooded).  Off-centred wicks may also cause the votive holder to crack!   Using an appropriate container will also get you maximum burn time from the candle more easily.


7.                 PILLAR CANDLES – Often the most frustrating type of candle these are more appreciative of the ‘FIRST LIGHT and ‘MELT POOL considerations as mentioned above.  If a pillar candle is burned properly then, at the end of its life, it can be resurrected by placing a tea light candle in the ‘hole that is burned through its middle.  This is particularly effective on coloured (over-dipped) or our picture candles.


8.                   LARGE CANDLES  -  To get the best from your large candle see tip 4.   If the melt pool spills over  the edge of the candle put the candle out and allow the candle to cool for at least 4 hours before re-lighting. 


9.            Metallic candles -  sometimes form a think metal skin around the surface, this is the metal content of the colouring which can not burn.  If this skin effects the wick gentle remove the skin away from the wick and melt pool to allow the candle to burn freely.  When the candle is finished the metal skin will be left behind this is normal.


10.          Hurricane wax shells.  Only burn them for 4 hours at a time or the outer shell may soften and warp.


11.          Burrowing Candles -  In most cases this is caused by not burning the candle long enough on its first burn, refer to tip 4.  If your candle does burrow you can re-set it by carving away the excess wax until the top of the candle is flat again, and start again using the 1 hour per 1 inch diameter rule in point 4. Or you can put a t light inside the shell and use the candle as a lantern. 


12.          Gel Candles -  These burn at a much higher temperature than standard wax candles, great care should be taken when burning these candles, always place on a flame proof  dish, make sure any decoration supplied in the candle does not touch the flame, scented candles and candles with decoration within the wax such as leaves,sticks etc will crackle and may spark a bit if allowed to touch the flame.


13.         Scented candles if you have any unburned candle left when the candle is more or less finished break up the bits a

               and use them in an oil burner.


14.         Jars & Container Candles Handle with care, glass containers are fragile, avoid glass to glass contact when removing the lid,  Do not use if cracked, chipped or scratched.   Do not lift by the lid.   Do not allow the flame to touch the side of the container, adjust wick position if necessary to keep flame from touching sides of your container. The container may become hot handle with care.  To minimize wax left on the sides  burn the candle until a melt pool has formed on the entire surface of the container before putting it out each time. It is normal for some wax to be left, the amount will vary depending on colour, and fragrances used in the candle, and also external influences such as drafts.   Prevent possible heat damage to counter/surface by discontinuing use when 1/2 inches of was remains.   Extinguish carefully before replacing lid.Put the candle out when the wick reaches the bottom of the container i.e do not allow the actual flame to touch the container directly. Recycled containers if you have purchased a candle made in one take care of sharp edges such as in tin cans and jar lids etc they are by their nature rustic whilst every care is taken to minimize rough and sharp edges on these products they are by their very nature waste products recycled from scrap materials.


15.          Tins -  Tins can become very very hot when in use, always place on a heat resistant surface.   The flames will heat the sides of the tin as burning progresses making sure most of the wax is used.   Burn tins long enough each time so that a large melt pool forms this will prevent the flame burrowing thus wasting a lot of your candle. 


16.           FLOATING CANDLES -  Floating candles generally sit level or just above the surface of the water.  They will rise up as the candle burns thus burning most of the candle completely to the end.  There will be a hollow shell left when they are finished with most types.  Never allow the floating candle flame to be under a glass or decorative over hang.  You can burn floating candles out of the water but as with candles in general always use a flame proof dish.  Note that pool candles whilst designed to float in pools will not work efficiently in strong breezes or rain.   For breezy conditions we recommend our Candle swimmers with t lights inside them.  


17.          Storage - store   candles in a cool and dark place to maintain colour and scent until use.  This is particularly important for candles coloured to order for a special event, colour can be affected by long exposure to bright sunlight/light.


18.           Burntimes issued on candles are based on the candle being lit and burned continuously if a candle is put out

                and on again during its life this will reduce the burn time stated this is particularly relevant to container candles such as jars, t lights and votive's.


19.       Dripping Candles – Whilst there are some candles which are described as non drip it is important to note

               that even non drip candles can drip in the wrong conditions.  Events in large function rooms and halls etc with air conditioning will make candles burn much quicker than they should due to the high oxygen content from the air conditioning meaning that the candles are accelerated beyond their wick capacity and will therefore drip the is the most common cause of dripping candles.  Drafts, from air movement will also cause a candle to drip, such as people moving around, fans, drafts etc.   Candles placed at an angle even if the angle is very slight will cause the wax to run down the candle instead of burning evenly.  Many of our products are non drip  which helps prevent this problem particularly in large hotels and functions but it is important to note there are no guarantees therefore always place your candles correctly within its holder, and allow for  possible dripping to avoid damage to table cloths by using appropriate protection such as extra disposable cloths or dishes under the holder.


20.          Spilt Wax  - Using candles will often  leave spilt wax on surfaces.   See below for some tips for for removal


            a) Wax On fabric, carpets, cloths -  Take some blotting, or tissue paper, (newspaper will also work but can leave ink stains)  Place the paper over the wax , apply a warm iron over the paper  the wax will lift out onto the paper, don’t forget to wipe your iron several times over clean paper to remove wax residue from the iron itself before storage.  Do not leave the iron on the paper for long or the paper and wax may burn.  You may have to do this several times with several fresh sheets of paper to lift out all the wax.


            b) Containers, and holders with wax on them.  If your holder can stand it plunge the containers, holders etc into a basin of boiling hot water from a kettle, this should lift the wax off the surface of your containers.  Leave the water to stand until cold, the wax should now be on the surface of the water in solid bits which can be removed and put in the bin.  Note never put wax down your drains it will block your drains.  You may have to do this several times to remove all the wax from your containers/holders.  Make sure also that the said holder/container can stand the heat before doing this. See note 21 about not using solvents to clean.


21.       Printed candles - Gillen's printed candles will burn as any other candle, the image will melt down slowly with the candle.  Sometimes the image will remain as a shell around the burning candle, particularly if the melt pool is not allowed to get to close to the edge. The image will not burn entirely and should be disposed of with the spent candle and will appear as a coloured melted blob at the end of the candle life.  For example on an average size candle of 140 x 80 the image will stay true and illuminated from the candle for aprox 6 -10 hours before it begins to shrivel down with the candle, if you wish to retain the image for longer do not allow the melt pool to reach the outer edge of the candle (put candle out before melt pool reaches the edge, allow candle to go cold before re-lighting) this will allow the candle to burn down the middle creating a thin shell around the flame with the image held intact within the shell wall creating a lantern effect.  Printed dinner candles in particular should always be burnt in a draft free area and have the wick kept very short.  If the print film does ignite put out immediately and peel away the print film from the wick and candle before attempting to relight after candle has cooled.


22.       Printed and coloured glass holders, these are often not suitable for washing using solvents, such as washing up liquid which may damage or destroy the printing and or colouring on holders we always advise do not wash candle holders, wipe out gently with a bit of kitchen town or similar only.  Always test holders before washing the whole thing.  Most candle holders are inexpensive and do not cope with washing.


23.          Wax Tapers-  These are designed to light multiple candles such as pillar candles, or dinner stick candles, they are not suitable for deep holders where you have to hold the taper down to reach the candle, this will cause the wax to catch fire and drip hot wax everywhere.  For deep candles in deep holders use an electronic lighter or long match. 









 FURTHER ADVICE – If you require any additional advice or information on the correct use of candles please do not hesitate to send us an email with your query.  We aim to respond to all email queries within 24 hours.

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