Candles add great ambiance to a room no matter what time of year. However, that glowing beauty is never more important than it is added as part of our holiday decor. This year, don’t let those sweet smelling candles ruin your holiday cheer with unsightly soot marks and uneven-burning wax. Here’s how to properly burn a candle every time.

1. Choose soy. 

By choosing a soy candle, you naturally eliminate a lot of common candle problems. No smoke marks on the wall, a cleaner burn inside the glass, and a fast, more even melt overall.

2. Put a candle in a sensible spot. 

Keep candles away from surfaces that are flammable or might experience vibrations like near large speakers or close to curtains — and definitely away from kids and pets!

3. Keep away from air. 

Drafts can cause your flame to dance. While flickering light may look pretty, it can cause your wax to burn unevenly and shorten the lifespan of your candle. 

4. Trim the wick. 

An untrimmed wick puts you a risk for soot marks on nearby walls and other nearby items. Trim the wick about 1/4 inch before each burn.

5. Pay attention to burn time. 

The first burn of a candle matters. Candles have a memory, so on the first burn they need to melt all the way to the edge of the glass or they won’t burn past that point on the second burn and you’ll be left with a tunneling candle. Once you light the wick, you should let the candle burn for at least 3-4 hours before blowing it out.

6. Keep it clean.

Dust, residue, and other debris can build up on top of the candle wax and cause flickering and uneven burning later. If a candle has sat out a while, gently wipe off with a non-shredding, dust-free paper towel before burning. Store brand new candles in a tightly closed container, upside down, or cover with nylon pantyhose to prevent unwanted dust and debris from clinging to the fresh wax.