1. Always Trim the Wick(s) Before Burning. With the exception of the very first burn - we've done that one for you. Wicks should be 1/4" or 1/8" inch tall. Start with 1/4" and if your flame is too high, dancing, or producing soot (wisps of black smoke when the flame moves), trim the wick to 1/8" and you will be good. The absolute best wick trimmer I have found is regular toe nail clippers. They are compact and small enough to fit inside deep candle jars, they are sharp, and get the job done!
2. Achieve Full Melt Pool - Try to let your candle burn until it reaches a full melt pool (when the top layer of wax has melted all the way to the sides - See Pictures Below. Traditional candle sellers will warn you to not burn your candle longer than 4 hours - ours are better - you can safely burn your candles many hours longer than 4 hours. You don't have to babysit our candles. They will burn long and clean for as long as you like, but always try to burn it long enough for the top layer of wax to reach the sides. Doing this helps you burn all of the wax and this helps you get your money's worth!
3. Eliminating Cling - If you cannot let your candle burn until it reaches a full melt pool, that's ok! You're probably going to experience "cling" and that's ok too! Cling is wax that builds up along the side of the glass - See Picture Below. This is easily remedied. As you continue to burn your candle the heat from the flame will eventually melt this off as your candle burns down. Just try to make sure you can get a full melt pool most of the time.
4. Combat Mushrooming - This term is used when your wick begins to grow little, weird, black balls of soot on it. Minor mushrooming is normal, but too much mushrooming is bad - See Picture Below. This is caused when the wick is getting more wax than it can burn off (meaning there is too much wick). Too much mushrooming can cause soot (explained below). This is also an easy fix - Just Trim the Wick! If you're burning your candle and notice mushrooming or soot, extinguish the flame, trim the wick and relight. You should be good!
5. Battling Soot - Minor wisps of soot when the flame encounters a breeze is normal - and not hazardous! If you notice minor sooting, check to see if the candle might be in the line of a breeze (air conditioning/heat vent, cold air exchange, open window, etc.). If it is in the line of any of these, simply relocate your candle to another spot. If it is not, a quick trim of the wick ought to solve the problem. If you notice major sooting - See Picture Below - this is not good. However, again, this is easily remedied - Trim the Wick! Extinguish the flame, trim the wick, wipe the soot off with a dry paper towel, relight and your candle will be beautiful once more.
6. Wet Spots & Air Bubbles- Arrgh! - Wet spots - See Pictures Below - drive me insane! In no way does it effect the way the candle burns, but it is an esthetic thing for me. Wet spots aren't really wet, they are the result of what happens when the wax contracts (pulls away from the glass) and expands (fills in those contractions) with temperature change - exactly the way wood does. So, as we go through the seasons here in Illinois (and other parts of the United States), the likelihood of this occurring is, sadly, very good. The good news is, as you burn your candle, the wax will expand and fill in those wet spots and tackle those air bubbles!