Back in January, I made a resolution for the year: “More candles. More candles at the breakfast table, more light in winter, more settling in, more slow mornings, more romance in design, more making more of small moments.”

I’ve been thinking about that urge a lot these last weeks, in these uncertain and isolated and anxious times, with long stretches spent indoors, one day blurring into the next. I’ve found myself taking comfort in simple moments and in tiny tasks to care for my space: making the bed up with clean sheets, taking a shower, putting on (sort of) real clothes in the morning and softer ones at the end of the workday, sitting down for dinner at night. And lighting candles, too.

Our friends at Brooklyn-based shop The Primary Essentials feel the same. “Any sort of daily ritual can be helpful, especially when our lives seem all out of sorts,” read a recent newsletter. “To mark the beginning of evening, we like the ritual of lighting a nightly candle.”

But how best to care for candles when you can’t (or shouldn’t) get out to the store to get more—and when you want to keep your indoor air as clear as possible?

We asked Lauren Snyder, owner of The Primary Essentials, if we could share their candle-care tips. Here, via the newsletter, are four pointers.

Photography by Casey Zhang, courtesy of The Primary Essentials.

Gathering a supply.
Above: Gathering a supply.

1. Ensure evenness

“The first burn should be long enough to let the wax burn across the entire candle. This will ensure an even burn for the duration of the candle’s life.”

Above: Preparing the candles.

2. Trim wicks

“Before each burn, trim your wick and remove any debris left in the wax pool. Trimming wicks to 1/4″ avoids unnecessary soot and controls the size of your flame so that you get the most out of your candle.”

Ready for lighting.
Above: Ready for lighting.

3. Use sparingly

“Check the manufacturer’s label for how long your candle should burn at a time (generally two to four hours). This will help to avoid the candle ‘mushrooming’ and making a large flame that will create soot.”

4. Don’t burn too low

“Never burn a candle when there is less than 1/4″ of wax at the base. This will avoid the vessel overheating.”

To see Lauren’s own place in Brooklyn, see In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a Renovated Brownstone with Inspired Solutions. And head to The Primary Essentials, where the online shop is still open. They’re offering free shipping on orders over $150, and local, scheduled pickup for those nearby.



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