Few things have the power to transform a room like candlelight – or to transform it so easily and inexpensively. Add scent to a candle and bang you have insistent atmosphere. Today there are many different candles available and some of the choices can be a bit overwhelming.
Candles consist of wax and a wick, but may also contain colorants, fragrances, and additives. Candles are most often made of paraffin, petroleum by-product. However, beeswax, a natural wax dervied from the hives of honeybees; vegetable waxes, such as soy wax; gels made of mineral oil; and synthectic waxes are also frequently used to manufacture candles.
The cleanest burning candles are those that are undyed and unscented. Soy candles are naturally odorless and do not produce soot; beeswax candles emit a natural honey scent. It’s best to avoid strongly scented candles altogether in the dining room – their fragrance will compete with the delicious aromas of your food. But, all other rooms in your home can benefit. Today you can even find candles for your kitchen with scents such as basil and lemon.
Here’s how to keep candles burning bright and clean.
- Cut wicks to 1/4 inch in length before lighting. The longer the wick, the larger the flame, the more soot.
- Protect candles from drafts, which can create a large flame that can shorten the life of the candle, as well as cause it to melt in a lopsided manner.
- Protect candles from light and heat (sounds funny, since that is what a candle produces). But, placing them on a sunny windowsill or in an overheated room can cause them to soften.
- If a wick is drowning in its own wax, score the candle with a sharp knife all the way around, 1/2″ from the top. Cut the candle through, taking care not to sever the wick.
Removing Wax from Candle-holders
It’s easiest to remove wax when it’s warm. Whenever possible, peel off the fresh drippings as soon as possible after you blow out the candles. if the wax has cooled, try these techniques:
If the candleholders are waterproof, run them under hot tap water and remove the wax by hand.
Wax will shrink after a few hours in the freezer, making this a good technique for cleaning votive holders. The stubborn coating of wax inside the votive should pop right out. A good tip to prevent the wax from sticking in the first place is, fill votive holders with a bit of water before inserting candles. After melting or freezing any remaining residue should come off with a gentle scrubbing.