People are baffled to find out they've been burning candles wrong their whole lives

There's an art to avoiding the "memory ring" that makes a candle tunnel around the wick.

candle burning

The "tunnel" that often forms around a wick isn't supposed to be there.

The evolution of candles from lighting necessity to scented ambience creator is kind of funny. For thousands of years, people relied on candles and oil lamps for light, but with the invention of the light bulb in 1879, fire was no longer needed for light. At that time, people were probably relieved to not have to set something on fire every time they wanted to see in the dark, and now here we are spending tons of money to do it just for funsies.

We love lighting candles for coziness and romance, relishing their warm, soft light as we shrink from the fluorescent bulb craze of the early 2000s. Many people use candles for adding scent to a room, and there are entire candle companies just for this purpose (Yankee Candles, anyone?). As of 2022, candles were an $11 billion business.

With their widespread use, you'd think we'd know a thing or two about candles, but as a thread on X makes clear, a whole bunch of us have been burning candles wrong our entire lives without knowing it.

A post from @kktweetshaha started the education session: "Just learned that my fiancé, who buys candles all the time and we literally always have candles burning, did not actually know how they work and blew out a medium first burn candle 30 minutes after I lit it when I wasn’t paying attention and ruined it."

Many people had no idea what she was talking about, so she explained.

"If a candle is not burned for long enough on first burn to melt edge to edge it will create a 'memory ring.' Once a candle has a memory ring, it will continue to tunnel and never burn all the way across."

"This is why you should not light a large candle at night, which is unlikely to burn all the way across before you need to blow out to go to bed. Allow at least one hour per inch of candle width," she went on.

So that's why candles always end up with a hole in the middle, making us think the candle companies are just running a scam to make us go through candles faster. Nope. It's user error, and many people were flabbergasted by this realization.

"This is the most useful information I’ve been given my entire adult life," wrote one person.

"This skill should be taught in schools," shared another. "The amount I’ve wasted on half burnt candles is outrageous, the amount of times I’ve used Algebra since leaving school = 0."

"When I worked at Pier 1 in the 90s I got to go to some candle workshop that taught us the correct way to use (and therefore sell) candles and that is probably some of the most useful knowledge I've carried in my head this long life," shared another.

Some people suggested wrapping aluminum foil around the rim of the candle to help recover a candle that's been tunneled or to speed the process of melting the wax across the entire candle. Other suggested melting the candle down in the oven to even it back out again. The original poster pointed out that sometimes candles aren't wicked properly. According to Lone Star Candle Supply, if a candle is more than 4 inches in diameter it may become necessary to have two wicks.

The candle posts also prompted a separate discussion about candles and indoor air quality and the volatile organic compounds that are released when they are burned. Some people equated burning candles with having a small engine running in your living room, though according to the Cleveland Clinic, there's scant evidence that the amount of toxins released by burning candles is actually hazardous to your health, especially if you use high quality candles in a well-ventilated area.

How do you know if a candle is "high quality"? First, check the wick for metal. Lead in wicks is not nearly as common as it used to be, but best not to risk it if you find metal in the wick. Second, choose soy, beeswax, palm or coconut wax candles instead of paraffin, which is petroleum-based product and more likely to put off soot and smoke particles. Everyone reacts differently to different amounts of particulates in the air, so if you find yourself getting headaches or respiratory symptoms when using candles, it's probably best to avoid them. But if you tolerate them, feel free to enjoy as recommended,—just make sure that first burn melts the wax all the way to the edges to avoid the dreaded tunneling.


Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi

Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.

Keep ReadingShow less

Woman learns lesson in kindness after date apologizes.

How you treat people in the service industry is often used as a measure of what kind of person you are. Arguably, the same could be said for how you treat anyone in a customer-facing job, whether it be the sales associate at a department store, the cashier at McDonald's or the janitor in your office building.

While people may think that these jobs are not skilled positions, they do require an immense amount of skill that has to be learned. The skill just isn't as valued by society as a whole, and sadly, that often leads to people treating those in customer-facing jobs poorly. But when a woman recently went on a date with a potential partner, her poor behavior towards the waitstaff caused him to pause.

The story was shared by a woman by the name of Barbara NOT Barb on Twitter with a lengthy thread about her daughter's recent interaction. Though the details were juicy, it quickly became obvious that kindness is the way to go.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image via Amanda Ripley/PopTech.

Map demonstrating scores of the Program for International Student Assessment for each state compared to a country that has similar scores.

This is not news: America does pretty badly when it goes up against other countries academically.

This is true even if we take it one state at a time—no single state, no matter how wealthy or small, matches the top scoring countries. And yet, the U.S. spends more per student than many other countries in the world.

Keep ReadingShow less

How often should you wash your jeans?

Social media has become a fertile breeding ground for conversations about hygiene. Whether it’s celebrities bragging about how little their family bathes or battles over how often people should wash their sheets or bras.

One of the debates that gets the most diverse responses is how often people wash their denim jeans.

Denim atelier Benjamin Talley Smith tells Today that jeans should be washed "as little as possible, if at all.” Laundry expert Patric Richardson adds they should be cleaned “after nine or 10 wearings, like to me, that is the ideal." At that point, they probably have stains and are "a little sweaty by that point, so you need to wash 'em," Richardson says.

Still, some people wash and dry them after every wear while others will hand wash and never hang dry. With all these significant differences of opinion, there must be a correct answer somewhere, right?

Keep ReadingShow less

Couple hilariously realize they've been snuggling an imposter cat

We'd all like to believe that we know our pets. Every pet has their own distinctive look and even if they look like a sibling, they have different personalities making it much easier to identify your pet. But every once in awhile there's a bit of a mixup where you see a cat outside that looks like yours so you find yourself frantically darting out the door while your cat is asleep under your bed.

One couple's cat mixup went in a different direction. They brought their cat inside and piddled around the house for a few hours before settling in for a snuggle session on the couch. It was then that the cat's mom noticed a cat outside that looked exactly like their cuddly little guy.

Instantly you see the confusion and concern register when they look closely at the imposter enjoying all the extra attention while the other stares from outside. Surely the real cat was offended that his own parents didn't know they were snuggling up to a generic version of him.

Keep ReadingShow less

Take pleasure in little things when you're raising kids.

As a parent, it sometimes feels like you're supposed to be fueled entirely by selfless love and a "spiritual connection" to your children.

But you know what? You matter, too! And there's nothing wrong with needing a little soul-nourishment that doesn't end with you on your knees scrubbing barf out of the carpet.

Keep ReadingShow less