Why Your Wooden Wick Candle Keeps Going Out (and how to fix it)

 

Annabel Okeya

Wooden Wick Candle Being Lit - Seventh and Oak
(Image: Zen candle trimmed properly and being lit)

 

While wooden wicks bring another level of cozy to your space, they might be harder to maintain if you're not used to them. There are a few common issues you might experience the first time you use a wooden wick candle. Not to worry, we've got some tips for you so that you can fully experience your candle.

Here are some reasons why your wooden wick candle keeps going out:

Wick was trimmed too short

While the wick needs to be short in order to pull the wax up it, it also can't be too short. If you cut it so short that it's hard to light, it may drown in the wax, fail to catch at all, or burn with a very low flame. Don't be afraid to try it at a little longer than 1/8” and shorten it as needed.

Your candle has tunnelled

Tunnelling means that the wick is burning straight down the centre of the candle without creating a full melt pool within 2 - 4 hours of being lit.

Candle not at full Melt pool

(Image: Candle has not yet reached a full melt pool)

Allow your candle enough time to develop a wax pool that goes all the way to the edge of the jar - this can take up to a few hours, depending on your candle size. If you don’t give your candle enough time to form a full melt pool (especially) on the first burn, a little depression or “tunnel” may start to form around the wick. This will make it more difficult for the wax around the edges of the jar to melt, causing the tunnelling effect to continue with each burn. Eventually the tunnel will become too deep for fresh oxygen to flow in, and your candle will have trouble staying lit for more than short periods of time. It can even go off within minutes of lighting.

 Candle with full melt pool - Seventh and Oak

(Image: Candle has reached a full melt pool)

There is too much debris in melted wax

The wax is what fuels your candle's flame, not the wick. The flame draws the wax upwards through the wick, so if it’s not clean, the wax can’t make it to the flame. When there is too much debris floating in the wax, it may be hard for the flame to stay put. After trimming your wick, turn it upside down to remove any chopped bits of burnt wick before lighting.

Wax clean and free of debris

(Image: Wax is clean and free of debris)

Candle is drowning in wax pool

Sometimes, the candle burns hot and too quickly, resulting in a wax pool that can extinguish the flame. If this happens, try using a paper towel or napkin to soak up some of the excess wax. Then wait until the wax has solidified a little, relight your candle, and repeat until your wick has room to breathe.

If the above won’t work, you can scrape out the top wax with a spoon until the wick it tall enough to stay lit. You can also wrap the candle with aluminum foil to help melt the hard wax at the edges. Just keep going back to check on it so it doesn't burn for too long.

Need more candle care tips: Check out our full guide here

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