We love our blog series here. From our Meet The Maker series to our Shopkeeper Diaries, we have no shortage of things we want to share with y'all. So here is a new series. We'll answer one of the questions we get the most from visitors to our shop: "what is this used for?" We hear this question for various items—and I'm sure some of you wonder but are too bashful to ask us. But that's ok! That's what this series is for. We'll start with one of our favorite items (because we burn through so many candles). Let's look at what a candle snuffer and wick trimmer are used for.
The Short Version
The TL;DR version is that both are meant to keep your candle burning cleaner. Of course, there are some other benefits, but these are the main ones. What do we mean by burning clean? You want to maximize the cleanliness and lovely scent of your candle. So minimal smokiness and minimal debris leftover in your wax after use.
Candle Wick Trimmers
These funny-looking pair of scissors always catch the eye of shop guests. Any candle aficionado will recognize these as wick trimmers. Still, we'll forgive you if you think they're some kind of weird nail clipper. So how will a wick trimmer keep your candle burning cleaner? To answer that, we need to break down how a candle burns.
We all know that a candle is made up of 2 parts, a wick, and wax. But few know that they don't burn at the same rate. A good wick will burn slower than wax, to keep it from drowning in wax, and so you have something to ignite the next time you go to light your candle.
(Image Credit: P.F. Candle Co.)
The drawback is that since the wick burns slower, there's usually more wick than you need after a burn. Check a fresh candle. We bet the wick is short—about 1/4 inch. But you'll notice about 1/2 inch of burnt wick the next time you go to light your candle.
Above: One of our fresh candles. The starting wick is short.
This means you have to burn through (and smell) charred wick before you get to the good smells. A wick trimmer lets you get down into that candle jar and cut the wick down to the 1/8 - 1/4 inch that you actually need. Now you'll get a cleaner burn and a better-smelling experience.
There are a few ways you can extinguish your candle. Most of us go the birthday route and blow out the candle with our breath. This usually ends with the lovely smell of your candle being overtaken by smoke.
Savvier folks will put a lid on the candle. This solution removes the flame by cutting off its oxygen supply—with the added benefit of keeping smoke out of your space.
Here's the catch. That smoke and soot have to go somewhere. Often this results in ash stains on your lid, around your jar, and, yes—even in your candle wax.
Above: Here is a candle in our shop that we've been extinguishing with a lid. Notice the ash on the lid and soot buildup in the jar.
A candle snuffer is a cleaner take on the lid solution. The bell-shaped dome is placed over the wick, just above touching the wax. This will deprive the flame of enough oxygen to keep burning. The flame goes out gently, which produces a wisp instead of full-on smoke. And now, you won't have soot and debris messing up your jar and wax.
We hope this helped you understand these tools better. Now, the next time you stop in, you'll sound like a true candle aficionado!