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Home > Scented Candles > Wick Trimming Tips

Wick Trimming 101

Wick Trimming TipsWhy should I bother to trim the wick in my candle?

Keeping your wick properly trimmed will save you money by making your candle last longer and will prevent your candle from smoking….. you know, that nasty soot that turns your jar black.

Why does keeping the wick trimmed make the candle last longer?

The fragrance that comes off a scented candle into your room actually evaporates out of the liquid wax pool on top of your candle. The fragrance and wax burned up by the candle flame turns into odorless carbon dioxide and water vapor. So the candle flame’s only job is to create that liquid wax pool. A little flame does that job very well. A big flame just burns up your candle faster than need be and burns up fragrance instead of letting you smell it.

Why does keeping my wick trimmed prevent smoking?

If the wick is too long, the combustion process in the candle flame is altered and it produces carbon black instead of carbon dioxide. The carbon black will stick to anything it comes into contact with, including your candle jar, your walls, your ceiling…… you get the idea.

How short should my wick be?

Scented candle wicks should always be trimmed to 1/4” above the surface of the candle. (Click on the Inset Photo) Before you clip the wick, you need to remove that little “hump” of wax right around the wick of the candle. This little hump can often be 1/4” tall and if you do not remove it before you trim the wick…. the wick will be too long!

What should I use to trim my wicks?

Anything that will create a clean, sharp, neat cut. If the end of the wick is frayed out, like an unraveling braid, it will smoke! Fingernail clippers and wire nippers both work. The best thing we have ever found, and the only thing we use, are the long handled wick trimmers we sell. They cost $12, but they last forever and are made from surgical steel. The curved scissor blades on the bottom of the trimmers do a great job of removing that little wax hump that forms around the wick and always produce a clean wick cut. The long handles let you easily reach down into a large jar and get a perfect wick trim. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to order our wick trimmers.

Any special problems with votive candle wicks?

Actually, yes, there are. When you first start to burn a new votive candle, the wax will form a little pool on top of the candle. When that pool widens out to the edge of the votive candle and runs down to fill the empty space between the votive cup and the side of the votive candle, you will instantly have a wick that is too long! Keep a sharp eye out for this moment with each new votive you burn and be ready to trim that wick.


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