The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.

NPI Marketing Team
NPI Marketing Team


How to Use a Candle: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

 October 3, 2018 |  Home Decor, Safety |  entertaining, kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom

No matter what you think of them, you have to admit scented candles are kind of amazing. Nothing’s better at creating ambience and a relaxing atmosphere in your home than a few well-placed candles, but you should know how to use them to get the best effect. It also helps to be aware of the hazards that come with having an open flame in the house. Believe it or not, it’s more than just knowing how to wield a lighter.

1. Lighting and Forgetting About It
We’ll start with one of the worst things you can do—lighting a candle and just walking away. Directions for use on most candles advise only burning under direct supervision, for a number of really good reasons. If you have curious toddlers or pets, for example, a candle can lead to burned fingers or singed whiskers. Candles can also become dangerously hot if they’re left burning for too long, which is why you should only keep them lit for two hours at a time.

2. Not Leaving It Lit Long Enough
Have you ever had to throw a candle out because the wax around the outside didn’t melt? It could be a poorly designed candle, but what’s more common is an effect called “tunneling.” That’s when you see the candle level lowering just around the wick, and it’s caused by not leaving your candle lit long enough. When you light a candle, you want to leave it burning long enough for the entire top layer of wax to melt, forming a pool from one end of the container to the other. This usually takes about an hour of burning. If you blow the candle out too fast, you’ll end up with a hole in the middle of your candle that’s hard to fix.

3. Forgetting What Season You’re In
There aren’t too many things more subtly offputting than a scent that’s at odds with the time of year. Picture pumpkin pie in the height of summer, or pina colada when it’s 20 below. Of course, you may not care about these things when you’re alone, but when you’re entertaining it’s best to keep seasonal scents in mind. For the fall and winter months, lean toward warm, spicy aromas like gingerbread or cinnamon. In spring and summer, light floral scents are best.

4. Going Overboard
When you light a candle, your sense of smell adapts quickly, which can lead you to want to light more and more. Resist this urge. To make the most of a scented candle, you’ll want to mix scents as little as possible, and avoid lighting more than two or three at a time. Walking past a candle shop can be a little headache-inducing, and you don’t want to replicate that experience in your home.

5. Choosing the Wrong Scent for the Room
This is a little like choosing the wrong candle for the season—some scents just don’t work well in certain rooms. Here are the aromas to stick to for every room:

  • Kitchen: It’s always better to be baking real cookies, but in a pinch, a candle scented like baked goods or spices can make your kitchen more homey.
  • Bedroom: This is your sanctuary, so encourage relaxation in this space with scents like lavender that help you drift off to dreamland.
  • Living Room: The living room is a versatile space, but whatever you use it for, it helps to have a scent that inspires conversation, friendliness and warmth. Try sandalwood, vanilla or coffee.
  • Bathroom: A bright citrus like lemon or grapefruit is best for the bathroom, or you can experiment with herbal notes like basil.

6. Using a Candle to Cover Up Odors
Lots of us have been guilty of this one—you might think a candle is your best bet for getting rid of odors, but scented candles aren’t designed for that. Instead of neutralizing bad smells, scented candles mask other odors without eliminating them, so you get the scent you want with an unmistakable undernote of funk. For those times when you need to get rid of a smell, it’s better to open a window or use a product that’s specifically formulated to neutralize odors.


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