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Trimming Your Wick

Posted on July 08, 2021

There are two main reasons for trimming your wick.

The first is safety and the second is efficiency .

Carbon balls are a result of several factors and with a lot of testing and patience they can be virtually eliminated.  If your candle does have a carbon ball or ‘mushroom’ it is important to remove this mushroom before relighting your candle for several reasons.

When testing, I sometimes purposefully leave the carbon ball on the wick to see what happens, and it can get pretty messy. Most of the time this ugly little ball ‘mini’ explodes and pops everywhere on lighting. You are left with bits of carbon and black soot on your table and in your candle wax. This ‘explosion’ is also of concern if it’s quite big as the mushroom can actually hold a lot of heat and if it pops and jumps out of your container it could very well light up whatever it is that it lands on.  

Sometimes though the carbon ball doesn’t explode and lights up instead like a Christmas tree. This extra surface area makes your flame look fat and ugly and is very inefficient when burning your candle.

The mushroom, if it’s big enough, can also prevent the wick from ‘self trimming’. Our range of wicks, both the ACS and CDN range, are designed to bend over, so the tip of wick is closest to the hottest part of the flame. This contributes to a cleaning burning and more efficient candle.  

Having a whopping great big mushroom on your wick impedes the self trimming nature of candle wicks.

If the wick cannot self trim and it is not burning efficiently the wick becomes fatter and heavier and can eventually fold down over itself essentially doubling the size of your wick. This is very dangerous. This doubled over wick creates more carbon build up and results in carbon bits falling into your wax. These carbon bits then become a secondary ignition source. 

Secondary ignition sources are super dangerous and can result in glass explosions from overheated and super-heated glass, to burnt surfaces from the excess heat. It is very very important to remove any ‘debris’ from your melt pool and dried candle before relighting it. The wick is the driving force of your candle and one of the most important aspects to get right. It is also the most misunderstood part of the candle.

It is extremely important to educate your customers in the correct handling of your candles, removing of carbon balls and trimming the wick back to a decent size if necessary.  

It is more important however that where possible you test sufficiently to produce a candle that has minimal mushrooming. This will not only result in a more aesthetically pleasing candle but also in a more efficient and longer burn. It cannot always be achieved 100% of the time but you can get pretty close.