What to Do If Your Candle Wick Is Too Short

candle with short wick
On a chilly winter evening after spending all day preparing your home for the holidays, it’s nice to light a candle to enjoy a pleasant scent and flickering glow. But what if your candle wick is too short to burn properly? Don’t toss the candle just yet — with these tips, you can give your favorite scented candle a second chance!

How to Prevent Short Candle Wicks

The best way to ensure a wick never gets too short is to burn the candle long enough to form a uniform pool of melted wax (but no longer than four hours). This prevents “tunneling,” or excess wax buildup on the side of the jar, which could melt during future burns and potentially drown the wick.

How to Fix a Candle Wick That’s Too Short

Even if you allow the candle to burn long enough, wicks can become too short for other reasons. Perhaps you trimmed it too far by accident, or it came that way from the store. It’s also possible for the wick to break off while hot and brittle. A manufacturer defect may even cause a thin wick to remain small and short every time you light the candle.

Fortunately, you have a few options for fixing a candle wick that’s too short:

  • Light the wick and let it burn for 20 to 30 minutes. Check the flame height occasionally to see if the problem works itself out.
  • If the flame remains weak, blow out the candle and pour the wax it melted onto a paper plate. Once it cools, dispose of the wax and plate in the trash. Alternatively, you can soak up the liquid wax with a paper towel or cotton swab (after the candle is extinguished, of course).
  • The newly formed indent in the wax exposes more of the wick. Relight the candle and check it after 20 to 30 minutes. If everything looks good, let the candle burn all the way to the edges before blowing it out again.
  • If the wick is too short even to light, melt a bit of the wax with a heat gun and pour it onto a paper plate. You can also scrape out room-temperature wax using a butter knife to expose the wick so you can light it.

How to Trim Candle Wicks to the Right Length

It’s also possible to have a candle wick that’s too long. Burning a candle without trimming the wick between uses could cause a dangerously large flame. It also increases the amount of soot that forms when the candle burns. That’s why you should always examine the wick length and trim it if necessary before lighting the candle.

When the wax has cooled to room temperature, cut the wick with scissors or a wick trimmer to the proper length of 1/4 to 1/8 inch. Discard the cut portion of the wick in the trash before lighting. Be careful not to cut the candle wick too short, or you’ll need to use the tips above to fix it!

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If you’re lighting a candle to cover up something smelly, it could be time to call in the housekeeping specialists at Molly Maid. We take on your least favorite chores, so you can spend more time doing the things you love. Our services are flexible: our clients can choose from a single deep-cleaning, occasional cleaning, or routine assistance with household tasks.

Contact your local Molly Maid or call us today to arrange professional house cleaning services near you.