A properly burning and well-made candle can produce a little smoke every now and then, but it should never continuously smoke. If a noticeable amount of smoke is being generated, knowing the causes can help stop it.
Move your candle out of a draught.
Candles burn best in still air - if too much (or too little) air reaches the candle flame, it will disturb the ideal teardrop shape of the flame, and may cause the candle to start flickering and smoking. To avoid this, always burn your candles in a well-ventilated room, away from drafts, vents or strong air currents. If a draught can't be avoided, try shielding the flame from the draught, for instance by placing it in a candle holder, and turn the candle periodically to avoid uneven burning and possible candle collapse.
2. Wick too long
Another cause can be a wick that is too long; extinguish the flame, let the candle cool down, shorten the wick to 6mm (1/4 inch) and light again.
A trimmed wick creates a calm, steady flame, which means the candle's burning process is in balance. The wick is efficiently pulling up the right amount of wax, and the flame creates complete combustion. A wick that is too long won't be able to draw wax all the way to the top, and the wick itself will start to burn, causing it to smoke. A too-long wick can also cause a candle flame to grow too long and flare, again producing soot.
3. Container size
If your smoking candle is inside a candle vase, lantern or container, then it could be that the vase is too small for the candle.
As the oxygen inside the container burns up, more air is sucked into the container from the top, yet at the same time warm air, heated by the candle, is rising up and trying to escape the container. These two flows or air disrupt each other, causing a draught inside the container that disturbs the flame. There are two ways to avoid this:
- Use a container that is open on both sides so hot air can rise out and cold air can get sucked in from the bottom, or
- Choose a bigger container and/or smaller candle: make sure that there is roughly half the candle diameter of space between the candle and the vase edge. So in case of a 7cm candle, there should be at least 3.5cm of space between the candle and the edge of the container.
This should take care of smoking issues for most candles, unless the cause is an issue with the quality of the candle itself (for instance too much essential oil might have been added for fragrance or poor quality dye was used to colour the wax).
A well-made candle shouldn't smoke, and any issue can be solved by following the solutions above. Let us know your experience via the comments below, or get in touch through email.
Enjoy your candles and don't let them go up in smoke! For more tips & tricks on how to burn candles, please read here.