How to burn cone Incense-Basic Incense Burning Instructions-How To Burn resin Incense-Smudging Instructions-How to burn dhoop-burning resins-how to burn herbal incense
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The Wonderful World Of Incense    
~ How To Burn Incense ~        
By Erin Gjertsen      
~ Basic Instructions For Burning Incense ~  
   

Funny, how you take some things for granted, like my husband
assuming that
everyone has gone ice fishing before (NOT)...
Hard as it was for me to believe, since incense has been a part of
my life since childhood, there are many people that have NEVER
burned incense before and have no idea HOW to burn incense.
Some of these people have actually taken the first step: purchasing
incense. Then, they get discouraged, because it is not what they
expected.

This has lead to many phone calls and emails, asking why the
incense "does not work"
"why it all smells the same" or why "it
burns out in less than 5 minutes".  These problems usually occur,
because the person is unfamilliar with HOW to burn incense.
Burning incense is VERY easy, if you will observe some basic
rules for burning.

This page is dedicated to those of you, who would like to venture
into the wonderful world of incense, but have been afraid to ask
how or just did not know
who to ask. We do not promise to
provide all the answers, just some of the basics to help you to
enjoy your experience a little more :)

First some basic instructions that pertain to most incense:

Burn VS Smolder
Rather than use the phrase Burning Incense, you might think of
Smoldering Incense. Smoldering is much more accurate and will
produce much more enjoyable results. Most incense is ignited,
then the fire is extinguished. This leads to smoldering, the actual
"burn" of the incense.

ALWAYS use a heatproof container to burn your incense. Some
incense can get VERY hot, hot enough to shatter a glass burner,
or glass table top! Be sure your container will catch any falling ash
and that the surface that your container will be sitting on is
insulated from any heat. My favorite is a large ceramic bowl, filled
with sand. The sand insulates the bowl and table surface from the
heat of the incense.

NEVER
leave your incense burning unattended. Pets and
Children can get curious and can knock over your incense,
possibly starting a fire or injuring themselves. An open window
with blowing drapes, too near your incense, can spell disaster.

ALWAYS keep your incense away from your pets, children,
draperies, or
anything that might ignite because it comes into
contact with fire.

ALWAYS  be sure that your incense is completely extinguished
before you dispose of the ashes. Ashes from charcoal, in
particular, can remain hot for many hours after the charcoal "burns
out". This is a possibility for all types of incense. Make sure that
your incense is
cold to the touch, before disposing of the remains.

Want to know how to burn a particular incense?  Just click on the
type of incense to learn more!

How To Burn Cone Incense
How To Burn Dhoop Incense
How To Burn Stick Incense
How To Burn Resin Incense
How To Burn Herbal Incense
How To Burn Smudge-We have a separate page, just for smudge.
Read about it, here! (this will open a new window. Just close it, to
return here.)

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Last Updated March 31, 2003        
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Used with permission
How To Burn Incense ŠErin Gjertsen & Grandpa's General Store 2003
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Take the cone and set it in a heatproof container with the point
facing up.
(Try to avoid glass, as the bottom of the cone can get pretty
hot.)


Light the narrowest end of the cone incense with a match, or
candle. Let the fire burn for about 10 seconds, then blow out, or
fan until the flame goes out. The end of the cone should burn hot
red, but no fire.

The cone should begin to smolder, letting out a fragrant smoke.
The cone must smolder, NOT flame, or you will only get a
charcoal/fire type of fragrance.
This is the main reason people complain that the incense
smells bad, or only burns for 3 minutes!
The fire MUST be out!
If you let your cone incense smolder, your cone will probably burn
like this, for 20-30 minutes. This will depend on the type of cone
incense and the size.

If you want more smoke, you may light a few more cones, at the
same time.

Known Issues For Cones-
If your cone incense goes out, it is usually because there is not
enough oxygen to keep it burning. This will also depend on the
quality of your incense and how much moisture the cones have
been exposed to. Be sure to store your incense in a cool, dry
place, out of direct sunlight.

If your cone incense burner has a lid, try removing that lid to give
your cone more oxygen. This is especially true, if you live in a
cooler climate and it is wintertime. Here in the north, our
homes have much less oxygen available, in winter, and some
cones will go out, if burned in covered containers during this
time.


Looking for Cone Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.






Dhoop incense comes in many sizes and shapes. Most will be in
tubular format and many will come with their own aluminum
burner, or will have a hole cut out in the box.

If the dhoop is hard and inflexible, just place it upright in a dhoop
burner, or in a bowl of sand. Make sure your table top is
protected from any lightweight aluminum burner (aluminum heats
fast) that comes with the incense. If your dhoop comes with a
burner cut out of the box, be VERY careful and do NOT leave it
unattended! Great way to start a fire. :)

If your dhoop is soft and flexible, break off a piece, about an inch
long. Roll this piece between your fingers, shaping it gradually into
a cone shape.
When you have your dhoop ready to light, place it upright, into a
heatproof burner and light with a match or candle. Let the fire burn
for about 10-15 seconds, then blow out, or fan until the flame
goes out. The end of the stick should burn hot red, but no fire.

Like all the other incense, the dhoop should begin to smolder,
letting out a fragrant smoke. The dhoop MUST smolder, or you
will only get a charcoal/fire type of fragrance. This is the main
reason people complain that the incense smells bad, or only burns
for 3 minutes!
If you let your dhoop incense smolder, your cone will probably
burn like this, for about 30 minutes. This will depend on the type
of dhoop incense and the size.

Issues with dhoop incense:
Many dhoop incense come in packages of 5 or 6 sticks
connected in a row, side by side, in the box. These need to be
separated, before you burn them. Sometimes, they will break in
the wrong places.
Don't Worry, if you break one in half, or have two halves stuck
together. It is only incense, after all. Just place the unit, point up, in
an open burner (like my bowl of sand) and they will burn quite
nicely.

Looking for Dhoop Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.





Most stick incense is made of a combination of herbs, wood,
and/or oils, rolled onto a bamboo stick or wood punk.
The stick has a narrow end, and a thicker coated end.

To light your stick incense, place the wooden end into a heatproof
holder. I use a bowl of sand and just place the stick right into
the sand. This holds my stick upright, so the ashes fall right
back into the container.


Light the coated end with a match or candle. Let the stick burn for
about 10 seconds and blow or fan the flame out. If you still see a
flame, you need to put it out. The incense must smolder, NOT
burn, for you to get the proper fragrance. The end of the stick
should burn hot red, but no fire.

The stick should begin to smolder, letting out a fragrant smoke.
The stick MUST smolder, or you will only get a charcoal/fire type
of fragrance. This is the main reason people complain that the
incense smells bad, or only burns for 3 minutes!
If you let your stick incense smolder, your stick will probably burn
like this, for 30-45 minutes. This will depend on the type of stick
incense and the size.

Looking for Stick Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.





Resin incense usually comes in packets of small chunks, "tears" or
powder.
Resin Incense is burned over hot charcoal tablets or in a fire.
These charcoal tablets can get up to 1500 degrees, so it is very
important to learn about how to use them, as well.
Please, read about incense charcoal, here.
http://www.grandpasgeneral.com/learnch.html
This will open a new window. Just close the window to return
here.

Once you have your charcoal tablet lit, just spoon or drop a 1/4
teaspoon or so of resin, onto the hot tablet. The resin will begin to
melt and smolder.
This should last for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how much
resin you used. Be careful not to put too much resin on the tablet,
or you may smother the charcoal tablet, and will need to begin
again.

An alternative that I particularly enjoy, is burning my pine resin on
my barbecue, before we cook out. It gives out an aroma, like we
are in the woods camping. I just love it! Some people will put a
little resin on a log they are going to burn in the fire place. This is
another great way to enjoy resin incense.
Still, by far, the most popular method is to burn over charcoal
tablets.
ALWAYS make sure the tablet is extinguished, before disposing
of it. For me, the safest way to get rid of my old charcoal is in
my sink or toilet. No chance of a fire, in this way.


Looking for Resin Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.





Herbal incense is burned the same way as the resin incense,
UNLESS it has a burning agent included in the incense. These
types will usually say something like "match light" or give specific
instructions for burning.
What I am talking about, is burning dried herbs over charcoal.

Herbal Incense is burned over hot charcoal tablets or in a fire.
These charcoal tablets can get up to 1500 degrees, so it is very
important to learn about how to use them, as well.
Please, read about incense charcoal,
here.
http://www.grandpasgeneral.com/learnch.html
This will open a new window. Just close the window to return
here.

Once you have your charcoal tablet lit, just spoon or drop a 1/4
teaspoon or so of herbs onto the hot tablet. The herbs will begin to
burn and smolder. This should last for about 5-10 minutes,
depending on how much  you used.
Be careful not to put too much incense on the tablet, or you will
smother the charcoal tablet, and will need to begin again.

An alternative that I particularly enjoy is burning my cherry wood,
pine cones, or cedar on my barbecue, before we cook out. You
could also put some herbal incense in your fireplace, but be aware
that because these are herbs, they will not emit the same kind of
smoke in a fire that they will if you wait until the fire has burned
down to embers This is another great way to enjoy herbal incense!

Still, by far, the most popular method is to burn herbs over
charcoal tablets.
ALWAYS make sure the tablet is extinguished,
before disposing of it. For me, the safest way to get rid of my
old charcoal is in my sink or toilet. No chance of a fire, in this
way.


Looking for Herbal Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.




Complaint:
My incense all seems to smell the same!
All blended incense has some sort of base. Many use a hardwood,
such as sandalwood, as the base fragrance. Other scents or herbs
may be added, but the base fragrance will usually be the same for
all fragrances made under a particular brand name.

In order to get the full aroma of your incense, it should smolder,
NOT burn. If you burn your incense like a fire, right down to the
bottom, it will burn in only a couple of minutes and you will only
get a charcoaly smell of burning wood. It will ALL smell pretty
much the same.

However, if you let it SMOLDER, you will get the full fragrance of
the various herbs, woods, oils, and/or resins and it will be quite
different, MUCH more pleasurable, and definitely burn longer.

Of course, you will always get a sense of whatever base is used.
That is why many brands of incense smell similar, from scent to
scent. A brand may the same wood base, with other top notes
added for the different fragrances. So, if you are burning Rose,
you will sense a similarity to the amber made by the same
company.




This is NOT a course, in how to burn incense.
These are only
basic guidlines. If you purchase an incense and it
gives you instructions, naturally, use THOSE instructions. They
have been designed by the manufacturer, who knows how to get
the best enjoyment from that incense!

Use the brain that Spirit provided you. USE COMMON
SENSE! Don't burn incense while under the influence of mind
altering substances or when you are going to sleep. Don't use
incense if you suffer from Asthma or other respiratory difficulty
unless you check with your physician, first. Let some fresh
air into the space, where you are burning your incense. You need
fresh air to breathe.


This is only intended to be a guide for general usage and is not
intended to be an instructive course. 
Also, this is not intended to answer ALL questions of fire safety.
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own outcome, and for
seeking proper safety advice. Please, check with your local fire
department for any local fire regulations or safety tips on this subject.
Always remember: SAFETY FIRST!

As always, feel free to email, if you have further questions.
Have fun, & enjoy all the exotic scents of the wonderful
world of incense!


Please, email us, to request permission to use this information
on your site.

Love & Peace,
Erin Gjertsen

Looking for Incense? Click here, to see the great variety of
incense selections available from Grandpa's General Store.