Why You Should Always Trim Your Candle Wicks

Why You Should Always Trim Your Candle Wicks

Has your candle been smoking excessively or turning the container a horrible black colour? These are not just unsightly marks, but a sure sign there’s an underlying problem with your candle that can have a negative effect on its performance! Fortunately, there is a high chance the source of the problem is incredibly simple and easy to fix; TRIM YOUR WICK!


In short, keeping your wick trimmed to approximately 5mm (1/4 inch) will help to keep your candle looking better whilst also ensuring it burns cleaner, for longer. Let’s dig a little deeper and explore the questions as to why you should 100% trim your wick.

Why Should I Trim my Candle Wick?

It makes your candle last longer

  • Bigger flames burn things quicker, makes sense, right? That said, a smaller flame from a smaller wick will consume less wax over time compared to a larger flame meaning your candle will gain even more burn time! Here are the other key benefits for keeping your candle wick trimmed…

 Candle Smoke and Sooting

  • A smaller flame means less wax is being burnt as “fuel” at any one time. So, reducing the amount of fuel present gives the flame a chance to process the fuel properly, achieve full combustion and produce a cleaner burn

Keep Candles Pretty

  • If left untrimmed, the tip of long wicks can turn into long burnt mushroom shape and this ugly debris can eventually fall off and land in the wax pool. This is difficult to fish out when the candle is burning (hot!), and a nightmare dig out once the wax has cooled thus sealing it in. The best way to avoid unsightly black debris being all over the surface of your candle is to prevent it getting there in the first place!

Longer Lasting Fragrance

Fragrance evaporates out of the wax when it is melted rather than when it is being “burnt" by the flame. So, there’s no need to consume the wax as fast as possible and a little flame goes a long way into making your home smell amazing for longer!

When Should I Trim My Candle Wick?

It should be the very first thing you do before you even think about lighting your candle. That way you can ensure your candle will burn most effectively right from the off and we also recommend that you give it a quick snip before each use. If you forget to do this having already lit your candle, simply extinguish it, wait for the wax too cool sufficiently and start again.

It goes without saying that trimming your wick when your candle is lit is not a smart idea! It’s simply not worth the risk of burning yourself and you could also inadvertently knock debris into the melted wax pool… one of the very things you’re trying to avoid in the first place! Trying to retrieve debris from a wax pool with a burnt hand is way more hassle than is necessary, so let’s just avoid the whole situation if we can, eh? A much better idea is to do it when the wax is solid so, at worst, the trimmings just fall onto the surface of the candle and can be easily removed.

The recommended maximum time to have a candle burning for in a single session is 4 hours, followed by a couple of hours of cool-down time. This doubles up to be an ideal opportunity to check on the size of the wick and give it a quick trim before relighting if needs be!

How Should I Trim My Candle Wick?

The aim is to trim your wick to around 5mm (1/4 inch) and starting off you can always just use a good old-fashioned pair of scissors. If the candle is quite wide then it shouldn’t be too difficult to position your hand where you need it to be but as the candle burns down it may prove harder to get the appropriate snip angle! This is when some people opt to use nail clippers instead.

If you’re a bit of a candle fanatic or your candle is in an especially tall and thin container (such as our Lakes Gin Bottle Candle) then you might want to consider investing in a purpose built wick-trimmer! They’re like a pair of scissors but modified with an angled arm and a small scoop to automatically collect the trimmings. You can find a wick trimmer specifically for this purpose on our shop here.

Help! I’ve Trimmed My Wick Too Short

So, you got a bit carried away and the wick is TOO short to light now eh? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! Simply wait until the wax has cooled and solidified, and then gently remove some wax from around the wick to reveal it. Just make sure you don’t dig too deep and make a “well” in the middle of your candle, as this can encourage your candle to tunnel. At Adhock, we tend to remove the whole top layer of the candle and get it as level as possible before re-lighting, then slowly reintroduce the removed wax over time so it doesn’t go to waste

What Happens If I Don’t Trim My Candle Wick?

Well the reality is nothing TERRIBLE will happen. What it might do though is increase the likelihood of your candle sooting and smoking which we think puts an unnecessary negative vibe to the whole experience. Your candle will also tend to burn out much quicker and the way we see it is why have an ugly smoking candle that throws away precious hours of use (and money!) when you don’t need to?

So the moral is… if you want a beautiful better looking, cleaner burning candle that last forever, be sure you trim your wicks people!


Have you had any of these problems before? We hope this will help solve them! Do you have any other special tips on how to get the most out of your candles? We’d love to hear from you!

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