How Long Should Your Candle Wick Be?

How Long Should Your Candle Wick Be?

We know the ritual — you light your favorite candle, grab a cozy blanket, and situate yourself on the couch to unwind. At the end of the night, you use a snuffer to extinguish the candle (because you’ve been listening) but the next morning, your wick looks like it's been through the wringer. That’s where trimming comes in. 

Trimming your wick is a simple and quick habit that will ensure a cleaner burn from your candle. Your wick should be trimmed to ¼ inch above the set wax. Here’s why. 

Benefits of Trimming Your Candle Wick

Leaving your wick untrimmed can create a black, sooty residue on walls or other nearby surfaces. A tunneling effect can also develop, which can cause your wax to melt unevenly. Wick trimming will provide a smoother burn, meaning your candle will last longer and will remain more polished. For scented candles specifically, having a too-long wick can impact the fragrance output, also known as its throw.

How to Cut a Candle Wick

The best way to cut a candle wick is by using a wick trimmer, but if you don’t have one on hand, scissors are another option. Be mindful to cut the wick straight across rather than at an angle. Only attempt to cut your wick when it’s at room temperature.

Depending on how long you burn your candles will dictate how often you need to trim the wick. Be sure to clean any soot off of your wick after each burn, paying attention to how long the wick is each time. If your wick is longer than ¼ inch or if your candle is putting off a noticeable amount of smoke, it’s time for a quick trim.

how long should a candle wick be

Should I Trim a New Candle Wick?

Yes. Whether you’re burning a taper, pillar, or traditional candle, it’s crucial that you trim the wick before ever lighting it.

How to Fix a Too-Short Candle Wick

Candle mishaps are inevitable from time to time. If you accidentally trim your wick too short, there’s a surprisingly simple fix. 

Light your candle and allow it to burn enough for a full pool of melted wax to form — about 45 minutes to an hour. Pour the melted wax into a paper cup until ¼ inch of the wick is visible.

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