How Do You Make Tea Light Candles Last Longer?

Tea light candles are small, often unscented candles held in a thin metal or glass holder. They are meant to provide ambient light for a short period of time. However, many people wish their tea light candles would last longer to extend their usefulness. Some tips to extend the burn time for tea light candles include checking the wick, adding beeswax, using a warmer plate, refrigerating the candles, and more.

Check the Wick

One of the most important factors in controlling the burn rate of a tea light candle is the wick. According to research, the size and length of the wick directly impacts how quickly the candle burns through the wax. Specifically, longer wicks tend to burn wax at a faster rate because the flame is larger (source:

To help tea light candles last longer, it is recommended to trim the wick to 1⁄4 inch before lighting. This helps control the size of the flame and prevents excess burning of the wax. The ideal flame for a tea light candle is about 1⁄2 inch high when first lit. Trimming the wick regularly as the candle burns down will maintain the proper flame size. With a shorter, controlled wick, the candle will burn slower and the wax will last longer (source:

Use a Tea Light Cup

One way to help a tea light candle last longer is by putting it in a tea light cup or holder. The small metal or glass cups that tea lights often come in serve an important purpose beyond just holding the candle. These cups help insulate the candle and contain the heat from the flame (1). This causes the wax to melt and burn more slowly, allowing the candle to last longer before all the wax is used up. Tea light cups also prevent drafts from blowing out the flame. By providing a protective barrier around the candle, a tea light holder allows the candle to burn for a consistent 3-5 hours compared to just 1-2 hours burning on its own.

Some studies have shown tea lights can burn over 50% longer when placed in a tea light cup versus burning by themselves (2). The cup keeps the melted wax pooled around the wick, allowing for sustained burning. So next time you light a tea light, make sure to put it in a proper tea light cup or holder to maximize burn time.

a person using a tea light candle holder to extend the burn time of the candle

Add Beeswax

One of the most effective ways to make tea light candles last longer is to add beeswax. Beeswax has a higher melting point than paraffin wax, which is commonly used in tea lights. This allows the candle to burn longer before the wax pool reaches the wick.

You can add beeswax by directly replacing some of the paraffin wax with beeswax, or you can create your own homemade tea lights with beeswax. When making your own tea lights, a blend of around 70% beeswax and 30% oil like coconut oil or olive oil will create a firm candle that burns for up to 5 hours (source).

Pre-made beeswax tea lights also burn significantly longer than regular tea lights. Pure beeswax tea lights can burn for up to 5 hours, compared to just 1-2 hours for paraffin tea lights (source). This makes beeswax an excellent way to extend the life of your tea light candles.

Use a Warmer Plate

Using a candle warmer plate is an effective way to make tea light candles last longer. Warmer plates regulate heat to the candle by providing a consistent, lower temperature heat source. This allows the wax to melt and release fragrance, without burning through the wax as quickly as an open flame would. Studies have found that tea lights can last over twice as long on a warmer plate compared to burning them conventionally [1]. The lower temperature prevents the wax from evaporating as rapidly. Additionally, since there is no open flame, less soot is produced which can clog the candle wick and lead to tunneling.

Warmer plates come in electric and nonelectric styles. Electric warmers use a low wattage bulb or heating element to warm the plate to the ideal temperature for melting wax. Nonelectric styles often use a tea light underneath to gently heat the plate. Both methods allow you to safely enjoy candle scents for longer without rapidly burning through candle wax.

Lower the Flame

One effective way to extend the burn time of tea light candles is to lower the size of the flame. The flame produces heat that melts the wax fuel of the candle. A larger flame melts the wax more quickly, using up the fuel supply faster. By lowering the flame, less heat is generated so the wax melts at a slower rate. This slower burn translates directly into a longer lasting candle. Tea light candles are designed to be used in holders, which helps control the flame size. Make sure not to trim the wick too short or the flame could be choked off completely. Find the right wick length that produces a small, steady flame. The lower heat output will keep the candle burning longer.


Refrigerate Candles

One method to help tea light candles last longer is to refrigerate them before lighting. The colder wax requires more heat energy to melt and vaporize, slowing the rate at which the candle burns ( According to candle making experts, cooling tea light candles in the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to lighting can extend their burn time by up to 50%. The optimal temperature is around 35-40°F. Any colder and the wax may become too hard to properly melt and release fragrance when lit. Be sure to allow refrigerated candles to come mostly to room temperature before lighting to avoid thermal shock cracks. With this simple trick of chilling tea light candles beforehand, you can maximize burn time and enjoyment.

Avoid Drafts

One of the biggest factors that impacts candle burn time is air flow. Drafts or breezes around a burning candle can cause the flame to flicker and burn unevenly, which will shorten its lifespan. According to Thompson Ferrier [1], drafts can cause a candle to burn irregularly, leading to a shorter burn time. Similarly, Nomad Noe [2] states that drafts or breezes cause candles to burn unevenly and decrease longevity.

When a candle burns in still air, the melted wax can pool evenly around the wick, allowing for an even burn. But in a drafty environment, the flame will sway back and forth, melting more wax on one side versus the other. This leads to tunneling, or an uneven melt pool, which makes the candle burn down faster. The key is finding a sheltered, draft-free spot for your candle to allow it to burn as long as possible.




Use a Cover

One way to make tea light candles last longer is to cover them with a small glass, metal lid, or candle cover while they’re burning. Using a cover traps the heat, which helps the candle wax to pool and melt more efficiently instead of dissipating into the air. This allows the wax to burn slower and more evenly, extending the burn time. As The Candlemakers Store explains, “Trapping the heat with an enclosed tea light candle holder will allow the wax pool to spread out instead of up the sides of the candle.” They recommend using a cover to optimize burn time whenever possible.

For example, one Reddit user in r/tea found covering their tea while steeping helped it last longer and retain more flavor and heat compared to leaving it uncovered: “Removing the cover helps if you’re steeping a tea that’s detrimentally affected by high temperatures such as green tea. Keeping the cover on helps the tea retain heat and continue steeping” (source). The same principle applies to candles. Using some type of cover can significantly extend a tea light’s burn time.


In summary, there are several effective methods to help make tea light candles last longer and give off light for a more extended period of time:

Checking the wick to make sure it is centered and trimmed to 1⁄4 inch can help the candle burn slower and more evenly. Using a tea light cup or holder that encloses the flame can prevent drafts and contain the heat. Adding a small amount of beeswax to the wax pool can strengthen the candle. Placing candles on a warmer plate or surface helps retain heat. Turning down the flame slightly can slow down the melting process. Refrigerating candles in between uses can re-harden the wax and prevent too much melting at once. Avoiding locations with drafts prevents quick melting. Using a cover over the candle traps heat. Following these tips can extend the usable time for tea light candles.

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