Best Practices for Lighting Wood Wick Candles

Best Practices for Lighting Wood Wick Candles

Karen DanielsonNovember 10, 2022

That tiny crackle and flicker of the wood wick makes it a coveted candle wick, but if it's your first time to wood wicks, keeping them lit can be a tricky if you're not used to them. 

Unlike traditional cotton wicks, wood wicks have a tendency to go out, but don't worry - these best practices can help you ensure your wood wicks stay lit and burn evenly!

  1. Keep Your Wood Wick Trimmed

    For optimal burning, keep your wicks trimmed to about 1/8" long. Visually, especially if this is your first time, it may seem WAY to short, but trust me, it's not. Visually as a comparison, your wick shouldn't be any taller than the metal part of a USB or the thickness of two quarters stacked together. 

    Keep in mind - it's not the wood that is fueling your burn - it's actually the wax. Keeping your wick trimmed to 1/8" means that the flame is kept nice and low to the wax allowing it to bring the wax up through the wick. A wick that is too long will not stay lit because it can't effectively reach it's waxy fuel source. 

    Trim your candle when the wax is cooled - it's much easier to keep your wax free from debris.

    For trimming, you can use a pair of scissors, or when the wick drops below a level that's convenient for scissors, an old set of nail clippers or wire cutters works just as well. If you're really in a pinch you can use your index nail and thumb, but I warn you this is messy and not recommended (I've tried it)!

    Wood Wick Length_Lumos Candle Co

  2. Light Your Wick from A Corner

    When lighting a wood wick, the best method is to tilt the candle jar on it's edge so it's at a slight angle. You want your wood wick perpendicular to the edge that is touching the counter/surface it's tilted on.  

    Put the flame to the corner of your wick that is closest to the counter and let the flame draw across the length of the wick. It may take several tries to get it lit - this is OK! Especially with a new, unburned wick, it will need to draw the wax up through the wick before it will really start burning nicely. 

    Wood wicks are not known for high, distinct flames that are common with cotton wick candles so if you're flame is low it's OK so long as it stays lit! Wood wicks may also stay lit from one side before they draw enough wax up through the wick to keep the entire length of the wood lit. Once you get the wood lit let it work itself out and avoid relighting unless the entire flame goes out.

    Lighting Wood Wick_Lumos Candle Co


  3. Clean Your Wood Wick Free of Charred Bits

    Once you've burned your candle at least once (hopefully until you've gotten a good edge-to-edge melt pool!), you'll see that your wick is coated in a black soot and some char. It's important to clean any charred bits from your wood wick so the flame can use the wax and draw it through the wood. Too much charred bits means the flame can't pull the wax up through the wood wick and won't stay fueled.

    You can use the scissors, nail clippers, or wire cutters you use to trim you wick to also scrape off any charred bits. Use the edge of your tool to gently scrape the top and sides of the wood wick to remove charred bits. This is easiest and cleaner to do when the wax is cooled, plus it prevents charred bits falling into your wax pool and drying. 

  4. Give Your Candle a Good Burn

    Jar candles form memories quickly so make sure the first time you're burning your candle allow yourself about 1-2 hours to form a full, edge-to-edge melt pool. This is important because once a burning pattern has been established it can be hard to change. 

    If you don't allow your candle to form this edge-to-edge melt pool, you may notice wax build-up along the edges that can make your candle start to tunnel. This makes it much more difficult for oxygen to reach your flame the deeper the tunnel gets. Eventually the candle won't stay lit at all which is a bummer because it means a lot of wax is getting wasted. 

    If you start to see tunneling, give your candle a good long burn to try and even it out and reset the candle's memory. Just like people, sometimes it can get in a rut and needs a little love before it can get back to normal.