Why Your Woodwick Candle Won't Stay Lit

Wood wick candles are a beautiful and unique centerpiece. The natural-looking wood provides a pleasant focal point, and the crackling of the flame is reminiscent of a soft fireplace. Once you've tried a wood wick candle, you won’t want to go back to ordinary cotton wicks. But they do require a different kind of maintenance.

Your wooden wick could have trouble staying lit if you don't care for it, meaning trimming it regularly and letting it form a full melt pool with each burn. If you do these small things, your candle will burn much smoother.

If your wood wick candle isn't cared for properly, it can be difficult to get lit and may go out frequently if it hasn't been maintained. If you love the look of a wood wick candle but are frustrated with the maintenance, here are a few tips for keeping your candle burning for hours at a time.

Didn't Light the First Time? Try Again.

Wood wicks require a bit more to get started than other wicks. They may go out the first time you light them or refuse to stay lit. This is in part because the wick needs time to draw the wax up as a fuel source, and it may need the fire held to it a little bit longer while it pulls the wax in.

You'll have more success using a lighter rather than a match, as the flame is typically bigger and stronger.

Be Prepared for Your First Light

The first burn of your wood wick candle is the most important one. In order for your wood wick candle to perform at its best, you will need to allow the candle to burn until the wax has melted across the width of the candle.

If you don't, it can lead to issues throughout the lifetime of the candle. Even if you burn the candle all the way across the next time, the candle may still suffer from tunneling. Candle wax has a kind of memory for how it burned in the past, and changing that will be very difficult after the first burn.

Tunneling is a common reason why your candle struggles to stay lit. When a candle wick has dug a hole for itself in the wax, it can cut itself off from a steady oxygen supply. It will also be much harder to light the wick because the wick is down at the bottom of the hole. 

wood wick candles heiroma

It can take your candle as long as 2 hours to form a full melt pool, so be prepared to keep it lit that long. Avoid lighting it the first time if you can't commit that much time to watch the candle.

If you do have to leave and end up with an incomplete melt, you may still be able to fix it. The next time you burn the candle, let it burn until it has melted all the way to the edge of the candle before putting it out.

Although this can work, preventing tunneling is always recommended.

Don't Have Time for Long Burns?

We all have very busy lives. We may only have a few minutes to enjoy our candle at the end of the day before rushing off to bed, or have kids with lots of activities that make us need to come and go frequently.

It's not safe to leave a candle unattended to finish its burn. An unattended candle can lead to a house fire if a pet knocks it over, or it catches something nearby on fire.

If you can't leave it unattended, and you can't be there for a long burn, what do you do? One option is to choose a smaller candle. Tea lights and other small-jarred candles take much less time to reach a full wax pool.

RELATED: The Benefits of Wood Wicks for Candles

Smaller candles may be the solution you need to enjoy the beauty of these wood wick candles without struggling to find time to enjoy them. Wood wicks are less common than cotton wicks, but there is still a surprisingly large number of different options out there with wood wicks, including very small candles.

Experiment with the size that is best for you and that matches your lifestyle so you can enjoy your candle all the way to the very end.

Burning for Too Long

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it's also possible to burn your candle for too long. If you burn your candle for four or more hours, it can cause your candle to overheat. The wick can drown in the deep wax pool and flicker or go out because of it.

If your wood wick candle seems to be struggling due to a deep wax pool, you can help it by dabbing some of the wax up with a paper towel. This may not help every time, but it's possible that it will remedy some situations.

Another problem caused by burning a candle too long is ash build up on the wick. If you notice the flame burning too low or continuously going out after a long burn, you may need to flick off the ash or break the burnt part off of your wick.

If you've been burning the candle for a long time, letting it cool for a while and trimming the wick before lighting it again can really help. It's also better for the candles health, giving the wax time to cool a little bit before you light it once again.

Keep Your Wick Trimmed

With wood wick candles, trimming is even more important than with traditional wicks. While you might get by with regularly trimming a cotton wick, you should trim your wood wick after every single use.

Luckily, trimming wood wick candles is fairly easy. You can usually get it short enough by simply breaking off the blackened bits of the candle. If you knock off the blackened bits and there is still a lot of wick, you can use a pair of toenail trimmers to cut it short enough.

spa candle

While this may seem like an odd choice of utensil, it works surprisingly well on wood wicks and makes it easier to get them to the recommended length of 1/8”. Also, wood wicks sometimes go out if the wick is uneven, which can happen from a previous burn. Cutting it evenly across can be a simple solution to an annoying problem.

Wood wicks are denser than cotton wicks, so they can't draw the wax up as easily. Keeping your wick short will make the job easier for your candle, so it can burn easily and steadily.

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.

Maintaining your wood wick takes just a few seconds, but it makes a big difference in how well the candle lights. It can also be a pleasant part of the process, letting you engage with the candle and prepare it for lighting in a hands-on way.

Know When the Candle is Done

Wood wicks have large bases to help support them, so it's normal for some wax to be leftover at the end of the jar. If the candle isn't performing well and there's only about 1/2” of wax in the jar, it may simply be that the candle has run its course.

If you can't stand seeing wax at the bottom of your candle, it may be better to choose a different sort of wick. Wood wicks need that larger base in order to be supported while the candle is being set, which usually results in some leftover wax.

Wooden Wick Candles Are an Excellent Choice

Wood wicks require a somewhat different approach compared to a cotton wick. They need more time to light and require regular trimming to perform well. It's well worth it for what wood wicks provide.

Wooden wicks are an eco-friendly alternative to cotton wicks. They also have a wonderful sound to them and flicker like a tiny fireplace. A wooden wick can be a very pleasant way to enjoy your candle experience. Be sure to check out our wooden wick candles made with coconut and soy wax!

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