Why Do You Need to Trim Candle Wicks? Your Burning Questions Answered

Most people don’t know that there is a proper way and an improper way to burn a candle. 

If you aren’t trimming your candle wicks, you’re doing it all wrong. 

Dr. Tiffany Moon took the deep dive into candle knowledge 101, so you don’t have to. Keep reading to learn why it's important to trim candle wicks, when you should be trimming them, and more.


Table of Contents



Do You Need to Trim Candle Wicks Before Burning for the First Time? 


When it comes to when to trim candle wicks, it’s all about the length. The suggested length of a candle wick is ¼ inch long. So, if your candle wick is longer than ¼ inch, you’ll need to trim it!


why do you need to trim candle wicks


Why Do You Need to Trim Your Candle Wick?

So, why should you bother with trimming your candle wicks in the first place? There are a few different reasons.


Avoid “The Circle of Shame”

Have you ever noticed a black ring of soot around the top of your candle jar? “The circle of shame” has entered the chat. 

This happens when your candle wick is too long. With a long wick, carbon in the candle wax can get sucked up in the wick, leading to carbon offset billowing out of your wick and staining your container.

The “circle of shame” can definitely put a damper on your aesthetic and let everyone know that you don’t know how to trim your candle wicks.


Ensure a Clean Burn

After you blow out your candle, what does your wick look like? Is it still nice and thin, or did you end up with a weird-looking mushroom profile?

The latter is a sign of — you guessed it — too long a wick. 

Mushroom-shaped wicks can be stubborn to light and may struggle to maintain a flame. 

And if you’ve ever attempted trying to trim or knock off excess carbon at this point, you know how messy it can be. Black soot is the equivalent of craft glitter; once it lands on or smears against a surface, it’s torture to try to clean. RIP white carpets.


Avoid Tall Flames

No one wants a three-inch flame shooting off of their candle. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also be a fire hazard.

Tall flames are a tell-tale sign of a wick that is too long. Keeping your wick trimmed nice and short will help create a flame size that will fill your home with lovely fragrance — without setting off your fire alarms.


Get the Most Fragrance Output

The whole purpose of a candle (except for when the power goes out) is to fill the air with a lovely fragrance. 

The length of your wick can affect the candle’s fragrance output, also known as “scent throw”.

Too short a candle wick can create a burn pool, which can snuff out the scent throw of your candle. Too long of a wick can create similar issues, causing the wick to become too hot and burn off fragrance too quickly, making it difficult to disperse into the air.


Increase the Life of Your Candle

If you’ve experienced a luxury candle, like Aromasthesia, you want it to last as long as possible. Just make sure to get yourself a new one when you have just ⅓ inch of wax left in the jar for safety purposes!

Longer wicks tend to burn at a faster rate, which can decrease the burn time of your candle.

Ensuring your wick is the proper size is just one measure you can take to extend the life of your candle. We also recommend burning your candle for at least 1-2 hours to allow the wax to melt all the way to the edge of the candle holder. This ensures you’ll get an even burn and avoid ending up with a wax crater that significantly decreases the burn time of your candle.


trim candle wicks


Should You Trim a Candle’s Wick Before Every Use?

Each time you burn a candle, you’ll notice the volume of wax will drop. This is because as the candle burns, wax oxidizes and yields water and carbon dioxide, which disperses into the air along with the fragrance.

The more wax oxidizes, the more candle wick becomes exposed. Depending on how long you burn your candle, you’ll likely need to trim the wick before using it again

Like we mentioned above, you’ll want to reference the size of your wick. If it’s taller than ¼ inch, you’ll want to trim it.


why do you need to trim candle wicks


How to Trim a Candle Wick

So, how do you trim a candle wick? With your handy-dandy wick trimmer!

Scissors are for peasants. Jokes aside, trimming a candle wick with scissors can be difficult depending on how much wax has burned. It’s hard to get an even, proper length snip when you’re trying to finagle a scissor blade into your candle jar.

A wick trimmer is the best tool for trimming wicks because it is designed to fit inside candle jars and create a parallel, even cut. And as an added bonus, the remnants of the trimmed wick are collected at the top of the trimmer as the wick is cut, making the process mess-free.

Click here to get your own Aromasthesia® stainless steel, rose gold wick trimmer.


What Happens If You Accidentally Cut Your Wick Too Short? 

In case you haven’t caught on — size matters when it comes to wick trimming. 

We’ve talked about everything that can go wrong when your wicks are too long. But what happens if you accidentally trim your wick too short?

When the wick of a candle is too short, it can lack the ability to generate enough fuel to stay lit. As the candle wax around the wick melts, the wick itself can potentially “drown” in the melted candle wax.

So, what can you do to fix this problem? 

Using a long lighter or match, hold a flame directly above the wick for 30 seconds to melt the surrounding wax. This should be enough to help the wick catch a light. 

If your candle wick is really, really, short, you may need to take more drastic measures to melt down some of the wax, such as using a heat gun.


Shop Aromasthesia Luxury Candles

You know what goes well with a wick trimmer? A high-quality, luxurious-smelling candle!

Aromasthesia candles are made with the highest-quality ingredients available and are triple-scented to produce a scent throw that fills a room. They do not contain dyes, paraffin, phthalates, or parabens.

Whether you’re looking for a scent that will help melt away the day’s stress, like our Alprazolam candle, or a scent that takes you to a tropical paradise like the Midazolam candle, we have a scent for every mood and occasion.


trim candle wicks