How To Trim a Candle Wick & Why You Should Do It

How to trim a candle wick

If you’re a frequent buyer of candles, you may notice on occasions that you have to trim the wick. It’s a bit of an unspoken rule of maximising your candles potential, an uncared and unloved candle is one that isn’t going to operate to its full potential, and importantly, it’ll actually end up costing you more!

In this article, we go through how to trim a candle which, why it’s very important to do so and how exactly you do it (correctly…).

Why Should You Trim Your Candle Wick?

Every time you use a candle for a significant duration, you should trim the wick.

It seems like such a small thing that wouldn’t affect your candle because even if you don’t trim the wick, it still burns. So, what’s the issue? It actually all boils down to value for money, if you don’t trim the wick of a candle down to the size it’s meant to be you could actually be reducing the lifespan of your candle by as much as 20-25%.

How does that work, surely a longer wick keeps the flame further away from the wax? Unfortunately, that’s wrong. A longer wick means a large flame, therefore more warmth and requirement for fuel (or wax in this scenario). As well as reducing the candles lifespan, wicks that are too long can also make the container blacken, curl the top of the wick meaning the candle burns unevenly & creates more soot.

A trimmed wick will mean your candle burns evenly, uses the correct amount of required wax, prolongs your candles life and keeps the jar nice and clean to ensure it’s a decorative piece to be proud of.

When Should You Trim Your Wick?

When you buy a brand new candle you shouldn’t need to trim the wick. Most candle makers will cut the wick down to a length in which it should work fine, that being said, from time to time the wick may be too long. You can notice this by the soot produced when you first light it, if there’s a lot of soot produced, extinguish it, wait until it’s cooled and trim the wick.

Your wick should only need trimming if you notice some of the WWS (an acronym we’ve created… Wick Warning Signs) which are:

  • Too much soot
  • Large flame
  • Blackening candle jar
  • Unevenly burning wax
  • Wick curling

This typically only applies to larger candles, but every time you burn a candle for a number of hours you should look to trim the wick down before relighting it. Be sure to let the candle completely cool down before doing so, which can take a few hours in itself.

How Do You Correctly Trim Your Candle Wick?

We’ll touch on what tools you can use to trim the wick later, but how exactly do you trim it and to what size? It’s recommended that you trim around 0.25 of an inch off the wick every time you burn the candle for a number of hours, which for larger candles is 4.

Again, remember to leave the wick to completely cool down before cutting it!

What Tools Should I Use When Trimming My Candle Wick?

So, what do you actually use to trim a wick? There are actually specific candle accessories, believe it or not, called Wick Trimmers, that do this exact job.

You don’t have to buy them however, a simple pair of scissors will do the trick. The only problem that can be posted here is when the container doesn’t easily fit your scissors, and if that’s the case, a neat little trick is to use a pair of toenail clippers, but give them a good clean first!

What Happens If I Cut The Wick Too Short?

Cut the wick too short? Don’t worry, it happens, you’re expensive candle hasn’t just become a decorative ornament.

If you’ve managed to cut off too much of the wick it can make the candle tricky to light, we recommend gently digging around the edges of the wick, removing some of the wax to reveal more wick and reaching the correct depth. You can do this with a blunt knife and you shouldn’t have to lose too much of your candles wax.

What Happens If You Don’t Trim Your Candle Wick?

We touched on this earlier in the article, it will continue to burn and leave the room with a beautiful aroma.

But it will end up costing you money!

To provide you with an actual example of what this could mean say you have a candle that has a burn time of say 10 hours and costs £25. By letting the candle consistently burn without trimming the wick you’ll lose a maximum of around 25% of that overall burn time, dropping it down to 7.5h, losing you £6.25, compared to a well-trimmed and maintained candle.

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