A wick that is too short may be causing your candle to drip.

A wick that is too short may be causing your candle to drip.

This one is counter intuitive! A few times now we have had customers reach out about why their Honey Candles are dripping and, after eliminating the usual suspects - drafts and carbon build-up, we have determined that the candles are dripping due to wicks that have been trimmed too short. Candlesticks are especially susceptible to this.

The ideal length for our candlestick wick prior to lighting is half an inch or just more than one centimeter. If the wick is too short when you light your candlestick you may find that after a few minutes the wax starts to spill down the side. To wrap your head around this one it’s important to remember that the molten wax is fuel for the flame and a large flame uses more fuel. A wick that is too short will not create flame that is large enough to consume the wax that it melts.

How to identify a wick that is too short:

Wicks that are too short are sometimes the result of over-trimming but can also happen if a candle that has been lit previously is not handled carefully and the brittle wick is broken off.

In the photo below, the candle wick on the left has been broken off and the one on the right has simply been trimmed too short. 

Examples of candle wicks that are too short

How to correct a wick that is too short to avoid dripping:

The best time to recognize that your wick may be too short is before you even light your candle. If you suspect that your wick is a bit on the short side, it’s a good idea to help it along to ensure a successful burn. Light the wick and hold your candle horizontally allowing some of the wax to pour out onto a piece of scrap cardboard. Turn the candle as you do this to allow the wick to lengthen while the top of the candle stays relatively level. When approximately one centimeter of wick is exposed you should be able to place your candle carefully into its holder and enjoy the drip free glow.

A candle burning well with appropriate wick length

If your candlestick starts to drip and you think a short wick is the culprit:

Extinguish it immediately. Wax that spills down the side not only causes a mess but will also significantly reduce the expected burn time of your candle. Remember wax = fuel and the aim should be for maximum fuel consumption.

In the photo below the candlestick is dripping because it was lit while the wick was too short. 

A candle that is dripping wax because the wick is too short.
We know this may come across as mixed messaging as no doubt you have heard about the importance of trimming your candle wicks, and you should trim them! We just recommend you don’t get too overzealous.
Published By Jill Anderson

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