Can You Save a Candle If the Wick Breaks? Here's What Experts Say
Replacing the wick with a household item, like twine or rolled-up newspaper, is an option.
It just takes the light of the wick on your favorite candle to transport you to a relaxing oasis, but the quickest way to lose that feeling of zen is when you notice your candle's wick is damaged or broken. Whether it's severely frayed or was cut too short, the question remains the same: Can you save your candle at this point to continue using it? According to our experts, the answer is yes.
Nia Jones, the co-founder of BROWN GIRL Jane, says that the first step to saving your candle is seeing if the wick is actually just buried under wax rather than broken altogether. "If it is hidden under wax and not broken, then light the candle wax using a heating gun, or a lighter if that is more accessible, to melt the candle wax at the top of your candle," she explains. "Immediately pour out the hot liquid and then light your wick as normal." Here, we share more expert insight on how to salvage the wick and keep it working at its best for long-term use.
Replace the wick.
In the event that the wick is actually broken and impossible to use again, consider some DIY options so that you can continue using your candle as normal. Jones recommends using twine or even tightly rolled-up newspaper in place of the wick as makeshift alternatives. "Using an apple corer device, first twist the old wick using the apple corer by pushing the corer to the bottom of the candle, and [then] wiggle it around to loosen the wick," she shares. "Push the corer all the way up and remove it from the candle—it should have the wax plug." Simply put the new wick through the hole in the wax plug as the final step.
As for another option? David Bronkie, the co-founder of Siblings, says you can also thread a new store-bought wick in the hole where the wick broke off deep into the candle. "The new wick should allow you to burn your candle to the point of the old wick, at which point you may need to scrape away wax to light the old wick," he adds.
Keep it at the right length.
Once you get a new wick in place, make sure it is at the correct length. "Cutting the wick too short can lead to premature performance problems, like a weak flame, the inability to create or maintain a wax pool, a flooded or drowned wick, and poor fragrance performance," says Wendy Marcus, the senior manager of research and development for Yankee Candle. Particularly, when it comes to avoiding a pool of melted wax that ends up building excess wax on the side of the jar and inevitably causing a short wick to get buried, Jones recommends lighting the candle for at least 30 minutes. "If everything is burning evenly, let the candle burn all the way to the edges before blowing out," she explains.
Bronkie notes that the wick should be one-fourth inches in length before each burn, so the burn time is longer and the scent is stronger. He also notes that "too long of a wick and there will be excess soot, smoke, and the potential for poor scent throw."
Maintain wick health.
"To keep the candle at its best, burn [it] for two hours, allowing the wax to melt and reach the edges of the glass on your first use," explains Jones. After letting your candle cool to room temperature, Marcus says to use a wick trimmer (this will ensure the ends won't fray). After cutting wicks to the right length, she says to remove any trimmings from the surface.