Why Your Candle Won't Stay Lit


Candles are must-have home essentials that add warmth and a cozy atmosphere in any home. Whether it's the soft light or the pleasant scent that fills the air, candles have a unique way of setting the mood and making a space feel more warm and welcoming. However, we've all experienced the frustration of a candle that just won't stay lit. For those looking to avoid this common candle problem, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can help ensure your candles stay lit for longer period of time. 


1. Wick Is Too Long or Too Short

The wick serves as the conduit for the melted wax to be drawn up to the flame, where it vaporizes and combusts to produce light. The optimal wick length ensures a balanced flow of wax, maintaining a flame that is neither too weak nor too overpowering. Both extremes can lead to issues that compromise the overall burning experience. A long wick can lead to uneven burning, while a short one may extinguish itself prematurely. Finding the right wick length is key to a consistent flame.



Trim the wick to about 1/4 inch before lighting. This ensures a controlled and balanced flame, allowing for an even wax pool and a longer, more efficient burn. As your candle burns, the wick may naturally become longer. To maintain optimal performance, trim the wick as needed.

  • Uneven burning
A wick that is too long can lead to an oversized flame, causing the candle to burn unevenly. This not only wastes wax but can also create a tunnel-like hole in the center, preventing the candle from creating a full wax melt pool.
  • Premature extinguishing
A wick that is too short may struggle to draw up an adequate amount of wax, resulting in a weak flame that extinguishes itself prematurely. Not only does this shorten your candle's lifespan, but it also makes it difficult to relight.


    2. Wax Pool Doesn't Reach The Edge

    Picture a candle burning down the center, leaving untouched wax along the edges and causing the wick to drown. This common issue, known as tunneling, occurs when a candle is not given the opportunity to establish a wide and even wax pool during its initial burn. The outer edges of the candle become unreachable, and subsequent burns only deepen the tunnel.



    Allow the entire surface to become liquid wax during the first burn to prevent tunneling and ensure an even burn in subsequent uses. If the tunneling issue persists, creating a foil collar or using a candle warmer can easily fix the problem.

    • Create a full wax melt pool
    When lighting your candle for the first time, ensure you have enough time for it to burn continuously until the entire surface becomes liquid wax. This might take a few hours, depending on the size of the candle. This initial burn sets the stage for subsequent uses and maximizes the life of your candle. Avoid extinguishing the candle too soon during subsequent burns. Let it burn long enough during each use to create a full, even wax pool.  
    • Create a foil collar

    Gently fold the aluminum foil into a strip that is tall enough to extend above the candle's height and wide enough to encircle the candle with a slight overlap. Place the foil collar around the candle, leaving the top open. Once the foil collar is securely in place, light the candle. As it burns, the foil collar will help trap and direct the heat towards the edges of the candle, encouraging the wax to melt more evenly.

    • Use a candle warmer

    Simply place the candle on the candle warmer and turn on to begin melting the wax. The heat from the warmer will melt the wax around the edges and fill in the tunnel. Be patient and allow enough time for the entire top layer of the candle to become a liquid pool. This make take a few hours, depending on the size of the candle and the extent of the tunneling. Once the tunneling is addressed, allow it to cool and solidify and trim the wick to about 1/4 inch before relighting the candle.


    3. Candle Won't Light After Blowing Out The Flame

    Candles burn on a delicate balance of wax, wick, and oxygen. Yet, you instinctively blow on the flame to extinguish when you finish enjoying the warm glow of your candle. While this might seem harmless, exposure to moisture disrupts this balance, making it challenging for the wick to draw up wax efficiently and causing issues staying lit.



    Use a snuffer or a wick dipper to gently dip the wick into the liquid wax to extinguish the flame. This prevents the wick from smoldering and creating soot, as blowing out the candle can disturb the wax melt pool and contribute to uneven burning.
    • Use candle snuffer
    Use a candle snuffer to gently cover the flame. This method cuts off the oxygen supply to the flame without introducing moisture or disturbing the wax pool. By avoiding blowing out the candle, you ensure that the wick remains in optimal condition for future use.
    • Use a wick dipper
    Simply pull the wick with the wick dipper to dip the wick into the melt pool when you extinguish the flame. This helps prevent smoke and reduces the risk of soot or unpleasant odors.


    By addressing factors such as wick length, wax pool formation, and proper extinguishing techniques, you take crucial steps in enhancing the longevity and performance of your candles. Implement these tips into your candle-care routine, and say goodbye to the frustration of candles that won't stay lit. The next time you light a candle, let it be a mindful moment, knowing that you've optimized the conditions for a perfect, uninterrupted burn! 


    Items featured in this blog post:

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.