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Troubleshooting

Our troubleshooting guide is meant to serve as a reference in addressing problems you may be experiencing either making or burning candles. While we cannot list every scientific problem that can arise with candles, it does provide possible causes and resolutions for many common candle related issues.

General Candle Making/Burning Issues

Issue

Potential Reason for Issue

Resolution for Issue

Small flame or flame drowns out

  • Wick is too small
  • Use a larger wick or try a different wick type
  • Wax is too hard for wick used
  • Use a softer wax or reduce amount of wax hardening additive if used

Candle smokes or creates excessive soot

  • Too heavy use of additives (dye, fragrance, etc.)
  • Reduce amount of additives used
  • Candle may be in a draft
  • Move candles to an area that is clear of drafts, typically not near vents
  • Wick size too large
  • Use smaller wick size or try a different wick type

Candle flame too big

  • Wick size is too big
  • Use smaller wick size or try a different wick type
  • Wick needs to be trimmed
  • Always trim wick to ¼ to ½ inch before burning

Candle wick is ‘mushrooming’

  • Wick size is too large for candle
  • Use a smaller wick size (Zinc wicks are known to mushroom more than other wick types, but this can be minimized by keeping the wick trimmed)
  • Wick needs to be trimmed
  • Always trim wick to ¼ to ½ inch prior to burning

Candle color fades

  • Too much exposure to light

 

  • Keep candles stored in a dark area and away from direct sunlight
  • Add UV inhibitor to prolong candle color life
  • Low quality candle dye
  • Use only quality candle dye
  • Low quality wax
  • Use only quality wax designed for candle making

Little or no scent throw

  • Added fragrance oil too soon before pouring
  • Add fragrance oil just before pouring to minimize evaporation
  • Poor quality fragrance oil
  • Use only quality fragrance oils from trusted suppliers
  • Too little fragrance oil used
  • Add more fragrance
  • Type of fragrance oil used
  • Be sure fragrance oil used is designed for use in candle making
  • Type of wax used
  • Use better quality wax

Candle not burning evenly

  • Wick may not be centered
  • Be sure wick is properly centered using equipment such as a wick bar

 

  • Candle may be in a draft
  • Move candles to an area that is clear of drafts, typically not near vents

Sputtering flame

  • Water may have gotten in the wax
  • Be sure to prevent water from getting in the wax when making candles
  • Air pockets may have formed during the cooling process
  • Adjust the pouring temperature
  • Tap the sides of the container or mold lightly after pouring to release air pockets

Candle burning rapidly

  • Air pockets formed around the wick
  • Adjust the pouring temperature
  • Tap the sides of the container or mold lightly after pouring to release air pockets
  • Wax is too soft for wick used
  • Use a harder wax or smaller wick size

Candle surface has a ‘mottled’ effect

  • Excessive oil used in wax
  • Reduce amount of fragrance oil used and/or use additives such as Vybar to prevent mottling
  • Candle cooled too quickly
  • Be careful not to use excessive amounts of mold release
  • Allow the candle to cool at a slower pace by wrapping a towel around the mold or container
  • Pre-heat the mold or container prior to pouring

Candle will not stay lit

  • Wick not primed
  • Use wicks that are ‘primed,’ or coated with wax
  • Wick may be clogged
  • Avoid using dyes that contain pigments which can clog the wick
  • Be sure the wax is clean of dust and debris before melting

Oil seeping from candle

  • Likely used too much fragrance oil
  • Reduce the amount of fragrance oils used
  • Wax is not formulated to retain large percentages of fragrance oil
  • Use additives such as Vybar to increase fragrance oil retention
  • Use a wax that is designed to retain higher amount of fragrance oil (many waxes are pre-blended for increased fragrance oil retention)

Candle cracked during cooling

  • Candle cooled too quickly
  • Allow candle to cool in warmer temperature environment
  • Do not place in the refrigerator or freezer

Candle has dye spots on surface

  • Dye chips or blocks did not fully dissolve before pouring
  • Stir thoroughly and allow dye chips or dye blocks to fully dissolve before pouring
  • Consider using liquid dyes which disperse easier in melted wax

Candle color is fading

  • Candle has too much exposure to UV lighting
  • Keep candles out of direct sunlight
  • Consider using UV inhibitors which can help prolong colors before natural fading occurs

Candle has ‘tunneling’ effect (leaving wax on the sides of container candles)

  • Wick size too small
  • Use a larger wick size
  • Use a softer wax