Candle Wick Trimming (Best Tips & Information)

Should candle wicks be trimmed?

Candle wick trimming is necessary!  It's a good question that many people ask.

But first, lets explain the function of a candle wick.  You get a better understanding, when you understand what a candle wick actually does.  


Many people, (including the writer once upon a time) treated their candle differently. However becoming a candlemaker has taught me a lot.   I now understand that candle wicks hold greater importance, than just making a pretty glow.   The wick is the energy force to a candle.  In fact, it is the wick that helps to throw out the scent into a room.  The candle wick has to be able to be able light up, stay upright, work with the scent and melt the wax!

All candle wicks are the same aren't they?

I never knew there were so many different candle wicks available.  That is, before we started making soy wax candles.  That is why many candle makers are pretty secretive as to their methods.  I always chuckle at the videos on Pinterest and youtube.  "Make your own soy wax candle" a headline will say.  Yeah, you may get something that looks like a candle.  However, getting it to work like your favourite brand, takes time, skill and lots of testing!


Getting the right wick to work with both the vessel, scent and wax is a major achievement. I went through a lot of money, time and trials to get the right wick, scent and wax.  There are wicks of all sizes, length and some will only work with a specific wax.  


Some candle wicks have a metal core including lead.  Yes you read that correctly - lead!  Some cheap imported candles still use that metal inner to the wick.  Also lead wicks are not heavily regulated in the USA either..... shocked? So was I!


Want to buy candle wick trimming scissors?  Affiliate link.

So why would some companies use lead wicks?  


Cheap flimsy wicks need to be able to stay lit and be rigid in the wax, so the metal acts as a support.  Metal is also said to help scent throw into a room.  But what else can lead wicks do?  Lead action news produced a report, which in short said that one home in Texas which burnt such candles, had 40mg per square foot.  Now consider that  ½ to 1 micrograms of lead per cubic metre of air, is regarded as the maximum level a child or adult should be exposed to.  Do you know what you are burning? Some manufacturers are now aware that people are becoming more educated about candles.  So some are making the metal within the wick so thin, that it is hard to spot.  

We are proud at Lakes and Hills to use only cotton and paper wicks in our soy candles, and we can state there is no lead or metal hidden in our wicks!  

Because the wick is an integral part to the candle, it should always be trimmed before it is re-lit.  This rule is the same for the majority of candles, no matter who you have bought it off.  Candle wick trimming will help with:-

  •  Safety

  •  Sooting

  •  Melting the wax correctly

  • Candle Tunnelling

How do you trim a candle wick?

I have just about seen it all, when it comes to watching people wick trimming.  The most popular item many people cut their candle wicks with, is blunt old scissors!  You then find the poor candle wick looks hacked to within an inch of it's life.  The best way is with a candle wick cutter, other wise known as a candle wick trimmer.

These are not very expensive at all, and the one that I use can be found on the following affiliate link.

Click here to buy Candle Wick Trimming Scissors

Please go to the "policies" page if you want to know more about my affiliations. 


Candle Wick Trimming Scissor Technique.

A video below explains how to use them, and also shows you what they look like.  They are great because they have a long handle, which allows you to get to the wick of taller vessels.  They also help you get to the guide of the wick being between 1/4 - 1/8 of an inch.  


You may find that when you purchase your candle, the wick is a little longer than stated above.  This is so that you can get a good melt pool burn on the first light.  More information and videos can be found about candle tunnelling and proper wax melt pools on our information pages. 

What do you do when your candle wick is too short?

Ok, so you have been a little eager with those scissors.  You now want to know, what do you do when your candle wick is too short?

Don't panic, it has happened to the best of us!  Simply wait until the candle wax is solid again.  Then you can remove (gently) with a spoon a little bit of wax from around the wick, until you are at the correct depth.  Removing a small layer is also advisable depending on your brand of candle that you are using.


So to ensure that you have a clean and safe burn ensure that:-

  • You trim your wick before re-lighting

  • You use some sharp wick trimmers

  • You trim to 1/4 - 1/8th of an Inch

  • If you trim too short, you gently remove a small amount of wax from around the wicks



Candle wick trimming scissors
Candle Wick Trimming Canvas.jpg