The Best Burn! | Candle Dos & Don’ts + The Best Fall Candles

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
woman wearing orange talbots sweater with the best fall candles

I don’t know about you, but at my house, fall is candle season! I’m always looking for the best fall candles to make my house smell cozy and bring a little bit of that crisp fall feeling indoors. I was talking with some of my friends about the fall candles they burn, and I loved hearing everyone’s favorites!

In the photo above: Orleans Creme Brûlée Candle (My Fave Year Round Candle!) | Ribbed Mockneck Sweater (On sale & in 5 other colors) | Pearl Apple Watch Band

As so often happens, one of my friends said, “That would make a good post, Suzy!” (This occurs more than you know! 😂) THEN, the conversation launched into some of the dos and don’ts of candles! 😄 (“What do you mean, you don’t trim the wick before lighting? Doesn’t it make the candle super smokey?”) I love it when women get together and talk! 🤣 Bob can’t believe the things we discuss.

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So today (thanks to my friends), I’m sharing some of the most important dos and don’ts to remember about candles. I’m also sharing tips to handle some common candle dilemmas (!), as well as recommendations for the best fall candles.

As always, click the pink text links or any image (including the collage above) for more information.

Candle Dos & Don’ts

Remember, when you light a candle, you’re literally playing with fire! There are not only some safety precautions you need to take but also things you can do to get the longest burn time out of your candle. Here’s what to remember:

Wax Has “Memory”

Did you know that wax has “memory,” so if it is extinguished with a partial pool, that will prevent a full, even pool from forming in the future? Crazy, right? But it’s true. So the first time you light your candle, allow it to burn until the wax pool melts all the way to the edge.
Suzy’s Pro Tip: The larger the candle, the longer this will take, so make sure you’re going to be home for several hours if you’re lighting a large candle.🕯️

Trim The Wick First Thing

Before burning your candle for the first time, trim the wick to about ¼-½” in length. This will prevent the flame from becoming too robust, causing a potential fire hazard. Also, each time you light the candle, remove the excess from the previous burn. Again, aim for ¼-½” in length before lighting.

Placement Perfection

Make sure you place your candle on a heat-safe surface. Check the surrounding area to make sure the flame (or the heat from the flame) is nowhere near plants, lampshades, drapes, etc.

Keep it Clean

When you trim the wick before lighting, be sure to remove it. To maximize burn time and fragrance, you don’t want to allow dust, wick trimmings, hair, or anything else to accumulate in the wax pool.

Common Candle Problems

Here’s how to solve some of the most common candle “dilemmas” 😂 you may encounter.

Light a Hard-to-Reach Candle

For pillar candles, jar candles that have burned way down, or other hard-to-reach candles, you can light one end of an (uncooked 😏) spaghetti noodle and use it to light the candle.

Secure a Wobbly Taper Candle

Taper candles that don’t stand straight up can not only be a fire hazard, but they can often drip damaging wax on your table or tablecloth! To secure a taper candle that is wobbling, wrap a rubber band around the base of the candle to fill the gap between the taper and the holder.

Fix a Tunneled Jar Candle

cream candle tunneled
Candle Tunneling

Did you know that candle tunneling is one of the most common reasons we fail to get the most out of our candles? “Tunneling” is when only the center of the wax right around the wick melts and burns down, leaving a band of hard wax around the outside of the candle. The problem is that when the wax only melts in the middle of your candle, you lose valuable burn time!

To fix it, wrap a piece of foil around the jar and pinch it into a dome shape that covers the ring of unmelted wax before lighting the candle. Be sure to leave ample space around the wick so the foil doesn’t catch fire! When you light the candle, the foil traps the heat and melts the wall of wax, evening out the candle’s surface. 🙌

Extend Burn Time

After you snuff out your favorite candle, sprinkle a pinch of table salt into the pool of wax, being careful to avoid the wick. Use a wooden toothpick to mix the salt in, and let the wax harden as normal. This slows down the melting rate of the wax and results in a longer burn time.

Repurpose the Candle Container

Raise your hand if you’ve bought a candle because you loved the container! 🙋‍♀️😂 (SO glad I’m not alone!) Once the candle has burned itself out completely, put it in the freezer overnight. The next morning, the remaining wax will pop right out! Then wash the container and repurpose it as a vase or pencil holder, or buy another candle that will fit!

Candle Equipment

Just like anything you do, you need to have the right equipment! I think THIS 3-pc. Candle Accessory Kit is just the best. (Not to mention it’s packaged beautifully and priced right for gifting!) It contains a wick trimmer, snuffer, and a wick dipper.

If you’re not familiar with a “wick dipper,” it simply provides an alternative way to extinguish a candle. By submerging the wick in the liquid wax, the flame is extinguished without the typical puff of smoke and the scattering of soot that can accompany blowing.

The other key candle equipment I would recommend is THIS Flameless Candle Lighter. It’s a rechargeable lighter that produces a small electric current (totally safe!) that lights your candle without a flame. Buh-bye butane lighters! My kids are all getting these in their stockings this year!

If you or a loved one live somewhere that doesn’t allow flames at all, consider a candle warmer. It heats the wax so you can enjoy the scent without lighting it at all. I use one when my candles burn down to the bottom (no wick remains) but there’s still some wax in there!

The Best Fall Candles

After a very scientific poll (Instagram Stories + Suzy’s friends & family! 😂), here are the best fall candles! (At all different price points.) Several of them are on sale! Click through for detailed descriptions, prices, and more.

Do you have a favorite fall candle? I’d love it if you’d share it with our community in the comments! Thank you so much!

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  1. Hello Suzy……………
    Aldi has some good candles too. My favorite is Bath and Body Works – Gardenia!!!

  2. My favorite candle ever is Pumpkin Pecan Waffles from Bath and Body Works.
    When they have a sale I stock up on them.

    I have the flamesless candle lighter. It drives my pets crazy when I use it. They bark and bark. The sound it makes must be some frequency that bothers them. You only need to use it a very short time but they bark until I put it away.

    1. Juliet,

      Thank you for sharing that! I’m so glad to know about that candle!

      Ohhh, so interesting about the flameless lighter! Who knew?

      Thanks for taking the time to clue me in! I need all the help I can get!


    1. Jeanell,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! A wick dipper offers an alternative way to extinguish a candle. By submerging the wick in the liquid wax, the flame is extinguished without the typical puff of smoke and the scattering of soot that can accompany blowing.

      Now you’re SO in the KNOW! I hope that helps!

      Thanks for your comment and question!


  3. Hi Suzy,

    My husband’s running joke is that during the BER months it looks like I’m conducting seances because I go a bit overboard with the candles. Your great post hit on lots of my favorite brands, though I’d add Fredericksburg’s Circle E Candles as another good option, particularly their “Bird of Paradise” as a nice year round scent. I’m enjoying B&BW “Leaves” and “White Pumpkin” right now, then will switch over to “Winter” after Thanksgiving. Both of those are just so reminiscent of the holidays for me. And thanks for the nudge to give that candle warmer a try!


    1. Carrie,

      I am dying at what your husband said!!!! 🤣🤣🤣 So funny.

      Thank you for your great recommendations! I so appreciate those fabulous suggestions!

      Keep those home fires burning (literally)! I appreciate you!


  4. I had no idea I could use my electric mug warmer as a candle warmer/scent releaser! Can’t wait to try this as I love candles but we recently acquired a cat who is (unfortunately) *very* curious about open flames…

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