Candles are awesome – here’s how to use them correctly.
First things first – let’s talk safety.
- Never leave a lit candle burning unattended.
- Keep burning candles away from children, pets and anything that can catch fire.
- To avoid a hazard and to prevent the glass from breaking, always discontinue use and discard your candle when ½” wax remains.
- Always use a candle holder or plate specifically designed for candle use. It should be heat resistant, sturdy and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
- Never burn a candle for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time
- Never move or handle a burning candle. The wax and the container get hot when in use. Extinguish and allow to fully cool after or in between use.
- Place the candle and candle holder on a stable, flat surface.
- Trim wicks to ¼” or less before each use. Extinguish immediately, allow to cool, and trim wick further if black smoke appears.
- Do not burn candles where there is a draft, as it may cause sooting (and uneven burning).
- Burn candles in well-ventilated rooms.
- Never burn a candle when the wick is not in the center of the candle wax.
- Keep the melt pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
- For more information on candle safety, visit the National Candle Association at: http://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/
Now that we’re safe – let’s talk enjoyment!
- Always try to burn your candles for about 2 hours at a time. This allows a nice, warm wax pool to develop that fully releases the fragrance. It sounds counter intuitive, but it also acts to lengthen the life of the candle; repeated lighting and then extinguishing before a large melt pool develops can cause the wick to "tunnel" down into the wax, starving the wick of oxygen and causing it to self-extinguish or under perform!
- If you’re burning a nice candle, you’re going to see a mushroom-like ball form from time to time on the top of the wick. When that happens, don’t become alarmed – just trim it off as part of the normal trimming process (or carefully pinch it off using a tissue). That mushroom-like shape is made up of the remnants of the complex blends of fragrance oils and/or essential oils that are being gently drawn up through the wick to scent the room.
- The more concentrated the oils are that are used to make the candle, the more this occurs. So it's a good thing, not a bad thing. And then, some fragrance oils – like natural Patchouli, Sandalwood or Oud – that tend to be a little thicker and heavier than, say a citrus essential oil, tend to leave a little more of those carbon deposits behind than the others.
- Look for fragrances that suit you, the room and the time of day. Some fragrances and essential oils can easily overpower a small room, while others are much more subtle. Citrus and floral fragrances are good for open, airy, and large rooms, and typically take less candles to create the desired fragrance level. Wood notes and resins are amazing, but often require more than one candle to be burning at a time. Meditative scents are good for quiet or personal spaces. Gourmand scents naturally lend themselves to dinner parties. Experiment with home fragrance, and pick scents that fit your lifestyle and personality.
- Always light your candles a full two hours before your guests arrive. The goal of home fragrance is to create an unmistakable ambiance that subtly, if not subconsciously envelops and welcomes your guests the moment that they enter into your space.
- Watch for allergies or sensitivity, and switch up your fragrance selection if it becomes a problem. It doesn’t happen often, but even natural and essential oils can become problematic for people who have certain allergies. And if you do have allergies, try to stay away from cheap, synthetic fragrances of all kinds – including those that are used in some candle products on the market.
- Mix and match your scents, search for complex fragrance blends that you like, and increase or decrease the number of candles in the room to satisfy your preference and personality. Like the colors of your walls or the furniture you choose, use home fragrance as a personal expression of discerning style.
Diffusers – the flameless alternative for home fragrance.
First things first – let’s talk safety.
- Keep your diffusers away from children and pets.
- Do not ingest fragrance oil. Contact your physician or poison control immediately if accidental ingestion occurs.
- Place diffusers on a stable, flat surface – in an area where it will not get knocked over or disturbed
- Never place a diffuser directly on a finished surface or allow the fragrance oil to come in contact with a finished surface; the diffuser oils can and will cause permanent damage to many furnished surfaces, fabrics or materials. Use a plate, a coaster and extreme care.
- Never light the ends of diffuser reeds
- Keep diffusers away from open flames and heat
Now that we covered those bases, let’s discuss how room diffusers can make the room amazing.
- Place your diffusers out in the room a day or more before your guests arrive. The complex fragrance oils and/or essential oils saturate the reeds or delivery system, and deliver continuous fragrance to the room.
- If you are the type that likes more fragrance in the room, discreetly place more than one diffuser in the room, or CAREFULLY remove and reverse the direction of the reeds. However, be careful – if you drip or fling that oil onto a finished surface, it could cause damage; best to do that (carefully) over a sink or some other place away from the table or piano.
- Look for fragrances that suit you, the room and the time of day. Some fragrances and essential oils can easily overpower a small room, while others are much more subtle. Citrus and floral fragrances are good for open, airy and large rooms, and typically take less reeds to create the desired effect; so don’t be afraid to remove a reed or two if you find that to be the case. Wood notes and resins on the other hand are amazing, but often require more reeds or diffusers dispersed through the room to create the ambiance that you are looking for.
- Refill and replenish the fragrance oil levels when the bottle becomes half empty. Replace reed sticks every six months.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match fragrances to match your personal style.
- Use a fragrance diffusers on a side table or in a book shelf to give height near photo frames, books and other items. Like a flower vase, the varying heights can add interest to the space.
- Unlike a candle, look for areas where subtle drafts can carry the fragrance and waft it across the room. A ceiling fan or an open window often provide the perfect opportunities to propel the fragrance to the far corners of the room.
- Use fragrance diffusers when it just isn’t practical to have an open flame.