Why I Don’t Buy Yankee Candles

Once upon a time, Yankee Candle was one of the best brands in commercially manufactured candles. At that time, they had a wondrous offering of scents which were not overpowering, and the candle seemed to last forever. Then came WoodWick Candles. I’m talking WoodWick before Yankee bought them. WoodWick Candles also offered a great variety of scents, without being overpowering and seemingly last forever. Once I found the WoodWick Candle brand, they were my favorite with Yankee trailing a little behind.

Besides the pleasant aromas and slow-burning wax, WoodWick Candles featured a wick that was made of wood, just as the name suggests. These wooden wicks burned well, adding a little bit of wood smell and having a pleasing crackle sound like that from a fireplace, but at a smaller scale.

Acquisition Destroyed Yankee Candle

When Yankee Candle was in acquisition and expansion phase, it remained a top contender in the candle business in my opinion. They were doing well until the mid-2010s. Yankee Candle was purchased by Jarden in 2013 and became just another of their various product lines. This may have been the start of the downfall in Yankee Candle.

Conglomerate organizations acquire various companies for the pure purpose of making money. Profits are more important to these companies than quality; especially when the company is not focused on a particular genre of product. When a conglomerate diversifies by expanding into unrelated industries through acquisitions, they are typically not interested or capable of improving product. Instead they find ways to make the product cheaper so they can profit more. Yankee Candle is an example of this behavior.

The new owner of Yankee Candle started making change to the product – cheaper to manufacture with greater profits. The wax doesn’t burn as well, and it burns faster. On top of that, they started making the scents much stronger and less pleasant.

A few years later, Jarden bought the company that owned the WoodWick Candle brand. If it had been the original Yankee Candle, I imagine that they would have done wonders for both brands through that merger. Merging the best of Yankee with the best of WoodWick would make great wooden wicked candles. Alas, the new owner of WoodWick started making changes. Cheaper to manufacture with greater profits. The wax doesn’t burn as well and it burns faster. That’s a familiar statement. The diversifying conglomerate strikes again.

Yankee and WoodWick Candles Burn Fast and Unclean

As I mentioned in my previous paragraphs, the changes made to Yankee and WoodWick branded candles have been negative.

Smoke Damage

Shown here is my wall and ceiling after having burned a few Yankee and WoodWick candles. Because these are jar candles, the burn time was over a couple months. This smoke damage is due to the unclean burn from these candles. The ceiling and wall used to be white in color; well white ceiling and molding with off-white wall. The top surface of the candles is about 30 inches from the ceiling, and about six inches from the wall. An iron wall-mounted sconce is used.

For clarification, I have been burning candles for decades. I even make my own candles. I understand the importance of trimming the wicks and not burning a candle too long. “Too long” is a variable time period, due to other properties such as the type of wax in the candle, type of wick, and type of candle (jar candle versus taper, for example).

More Information

The regular Yankee candles feature one to three cotton wicks, depending on the diameter of the candle. Cotton is one of the safest wicks to use, because it is a natural fiber that mostly burns clean (in moderation). When it is properly sized, a cotton wick will self trim and maintain a good, clean burn. Recent versions of Yankee candles seem to have a poorer quality wax which burns off too quickly. This causes the wick to become too long, which results in a tall flame that puts out a lot of soot.

WoodWick Candle

The original WoodWick candles had a single, straight wooden wick. Later they improved on this design by having two pieces of wood, parallel with a small gap in between. This facilitated a better wicking of the melted wax, and a cleaner consistent burn.

I believe it was Yankee that changed the wooden wick to be four pieces, in a ‘plus’ pattern. This change, along with the poorer quality wax seems to be what has created the unclean burn issue I experience now with these candles.

In this picture, you can see that the candle was recently extinguished. Note the half-inch height of the wick above the half-inch pool of melted wax. This wick was trimmed to one-eights inch tall (above the cured wax) before lighting the candle. The candle was burned for only twenty minutes. This much of the wick should not be exposed yet.

Wax expands when it melts and contracts when it cools. That means the half-inch wick shown in the picture was actually more exposed once the candle cooled and the wax was solid again.

Air Quality

If you’ve read my post on Kickstarter, you know I have Mila air purifiers in my home. These smart air purifiers provide me lots of information about my air quality.

The graph I show here is from the Mila application which shows how the particulate matter in my air increased during the short burn of the Woodwick candle. As you see, the room’s Air Quality Index (AQI) went very high reaching 124 AQI, in the red zone. By the time I did this capture, it had come down to 93, because I extinguished the candle and the air purifier is doing its job.

The PM numbers shown in the graph are the current status at the time of capture. I am unable to get the numbers from the peaks, but based on the numbers at time of capture, you can roughly guess the number of particles at those peaks.

In Summary…

I can’t say I have scientific evidence to support my claims, but I definitely have proof via other means.

Due to the negative changes to Yankee and WoodWick branded candles, I can no longer support their products. I am not comfortable with the amount of soot spewed by the products, even with short use, and I have concerns over fire safety resulting from how quick the candles are burning.

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