There’s a good chance that you’ve got a candle (or a dozen) in your house. They’re lovely additions to any home, come in hundreds of scents, and make convenient gifts. If you’ve never given much thought to these humble accents, prepare to have your mind blown.

That’s because you’ve probably been lighting your candles the wrong way the whole time. Seventeen revealed two tiny details that will change everything about the way you use candles. Follow these tips, and you’ll enjoy the scent of Sun-Kissed Cotton, Balsam Fir, Cinnamon Bun, or whatever your pleasure is even longer. Plus, your candles will look much better.

The first thing you’ve got to do is trim those wicks! That’s the secret to getting your candles to burn brightly, evenly, and cleanly. How short should you trim them? Seventeen advises cutting wicks to a ¼  inch, while the gurus at Yankee Candle Company say go all the way down to 1/8 inch. Either way, you’ll want them to be short.

In case you’re thinking that all that trimming means your candles will be used up faster, the opposite is actually the case. By helping your candles to burn evenly, the wax and fragrance will both last longer.

Why trim? That way, your wick will be even and clean instead of ragged and sooty. This will keep schmutz out of your candle wax, and the flame will burn without sputtering or spitting. Small scissors or clippers will do the job just fine. But if you want to class things up with a special wick trimmer, be our guest!

The second secret to using candles is huge, believe us. The very first time you light a candle, let it burn for a while—2 hours or more. This is how to avoid those annoying and sometimes ugly “dips” or “tunnels” in a candle, where the center melts way faster than the outer edges.

Each time you light the candle, let it burn long enough so that the whole top layer of wax melts. Oh, and trim the wick every 4 hours! That way, you’ll keep the candle looking great and burning efficiently.

And if you forget and wind up with a tunnel in your candle, all may not be lost. Try setting the candle inside a hurricane glass, or covering most of the top with tinfoil. Both of those techniques will trap in some of the candle’s heat, making it easier for the hard outer wax to melt. This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it’s worth a shot.

Storing your candles in a cool, dry place will also help keep them looking beautiful and their scent long-lasting. A cupboard or counter at room temperature is perfect. If the candles get too cold, there’s a chance their wax will become dry and cracked. Too warm, and they’ll melt and lose their fragrance—so you’ll definitely want to keep them out of a hot car or away from your stove.

We hope you love these tips for getting the most out of your candles. They’re definitely going to change the way that we light ours up! Do you have any other tips for long-lasting, beautiful candles?