Should you trim a candle wick?

I know, I know...does it really make a difference if you trim your candle wick? And what happens if you don't trim your candle wick? Would it really be the end of the world? 

As a candlemaker and owner of Scented Designs Candle Company, I've heard all of the questions around trimming candle wicks and whether or not it's necessary or makes a difference. (And how about those fancy wick trimmers - why would you even need one of those?)

Back when I used to sell our soy candles at lots of craft faires and pop-up markets, it was one of the candle-burning tips or candle best practices I would share with customers - along with how to properly burn a soy candle!

I thought it was time to share the hows and whys of wick trimming with you all, our past, present, and hopefully future customers of Scented Designs!

In this blog post, we will guide you on how to properly trim the wick of a candle and why it is important.

trimming your candle wick

Step-by-Step Guide to Trimming Your Candle Wick:

  1. First, ensure that the candle is completely cool and not lit. I generally suggest trimming the wick before you go to light it rather than after you put it out.

  2. Use a wick trimmer or scissors to trim the wick to about 1/4 inch. This length is ideal for an even and clean burn.

  3. Dispose of the excess wick in a trash can, and avoid leaving it in the candle wax.

  4. Light your candle and enjoy!

lighting a soy candle

Why Should You Trim Your Wick?

In a nutshell, trimming the wick of a candle helps make sure that your candle burns cleanly and safely. Let's delve into that a little deeper:

Why Trimming the Wick is Important:

  • Prevents Soot Buildup: A wick that is too long can cause the candle to burn too hot, leading to the production of soot. Soot buildup can damage your candle and negatively impact your indoor air quality. Trimming the wick to 1/4" helps keep the wick from getting too hot and creating soot.
Pro Tip: if you have a clean-burning soy candle like one from Scented Designs, and you're noticing the glass or container getting black soot on it - this isn't the wax's fault but rather a result of the wick, likely a wick that is too long and hasn't been trimmed. 
  • Ensures a Clean Burn: A wick that is too long can also cause the candle to burn unevenly, resulting in wax buildup on one side of the candle. This leads to wasted wax, which is no fun! A properly trimmed wick ensures an even and clean burn.

  • Increases Candle Lifespan: By trimming the wick, you can prevent the candle from burning too quickly, which can shorten its lifespan. You'll also increase candle lifespan by getting the best possible burn from the candle. If it burns unevenly (see above bullet point) and doesn't reach all the wax, that's a lot of wax and burn time you're missing out on. 

  • Reduces Fire Hazard: A wick that is too long can cause the candle flame to become too large, increasing the risk of a fire hazard. Trimming the wick helps make sure that the flame is at a safe height.


why should you trim your candle wick?

Overall, trimming the wick of your candle is an important step to ensure a clean, even burn, increase the lifespan of your candle, and reduce the risk of fire hazard.

It's an easy and quick step, especially if you get into the habit of trimming the wick every time you go to light your candle.

Pro Tip: Keeping a wick trimmer next to your candle is a simple way to remind yourself to trim the wick before you light the candle.

Then, by following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can enjoy your candles safely and maximize their burn time. Sounds like a win-win to us!

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You may also be interested in...

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February 27, 2023 — Kate De Palma

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