How to Burn an Incense Cone
A step by step guide to lighting and safely burning an incense cone
Incense cones are a popular way to enjoy the fragrant smoke of incense without the time commitment of an incense stick, or the extra preparation and cleanup of incense resins and herbs.
Most incense cones burn for around 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the incense cone and burning conditions such as drafts or fans that can accelerate burn time.
STEP 1: Use the right incense burner
Incense cones burn very hot so it is important to use heat resistant incense burners and place them on heat resistant surfaces.
Incense burners that are painted or wooden are not suitable for incense cones as the heat of the burning cone will ruin the incense burner. The best incense burners for incense cones are usually made of metal, stone or ceramic.
The incense burner being used above is designed for incense cones. It is made of brass and features small feet so the bottom does not rest directly against the surface the incense burner is placed on.
STEP 2: Clean the incense burner
While the mess is minimal, incense cones do leave behind some ashes and a sticky oily residue. The ashes are easy to remove, but the oily residue can be more stubborn. The residue also has an unpleasant, burnt odour that can impact fragrance quality if multiple incense cones are burned without cleaning between each burn.
As incense cones burn very hot, discolouration and hardened residue may still occur, as featured on the incense cone burner above. This is why it is very important to only burn incense cones on incense burners made from materials that can take the heat.
STEP 3: Place the incense cone
The incense cone must be placed upright sitting on its base. If the incense burner has a lid, the cone may need to be close to the centre so that it does not touch the sides of the lid.
Some incense burners may be able to hold multiple incense cones, but be cautious as that will produce even more heat. This burner holds only one cone, which is more than enough for a great incense burning experience
STEP 4: Apply flame
Using a match or lighter, apply flame to the tip of the incense cone. Be patient as it may take a few moments to ignite.
STEP 5: Allow to burn
Once the tip of the incense cone is ignited, allow it to burn. Allow to burn for just a few moments, you do not want to burn up the whole incense cone before experiencing the fragrant smoulder of incense smoke.
STEP 6: Blow out flame
Gently blow out the flame. You do not want to extinguish the burn completely or knock over the incense cone.
STEP 7: Look for the ember
If the incense cone was successfully ignited you will see the red glow of a burning ember on the tip of the cone. In this case, the first flame was not enough and there is no ember, which happens all the time.
Lighting incense is no different than trying to ignite a campfire - sometimes you just need to tend to it a bit more to get it going.
STEP 8: Repeat step 4
Try lighting the tip of the incense cone again. Apply the flame for a few moments more than the first time.
STEP 9: Burn for longer
Allow the incense cone to burn for a bit longer than before, but still be mindful not to let the flame consume the entire incense cone. The flame should just be on the tip of the incense cone.
STEP 10: Blow out flame
Gently blow out the flame again. This time you will note that there is an ember on the tip of the incense cone.
STEP 11: Blow gently
The ember may still be at risk of extinguishing itself. Blow gently to encourage the red glow at the tip of the incense cone. You should be seeing and smelling plenty of incense smoke at this point.
STEP 12: Put on lid
If the ember is glowing strong and the incense smoke is billowing, it’s time to put the lid on the incense burner.
Incense cones require airflow in order to continue burning. You may find that some incense cone burners may not provide enough airflow once the lid is on and you may have to re-ignite the incense cone if it extinguishes.
STEP 13: Enjoy!
Just a reminder to enjoy burning incense cones in well ventilated areas and be sure to use the correct incense burner as incense cones burn very hot.
Written by Kristi