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Candle Wicks!
What You Need To Know!.

Without candle wicks you would just have a great big chunk of soy wax. Which may or may not be in a container. Right now you're probably saying to yourself, what's up with all this wick info.

Side Note:If your into candle making there is a whole lot to know about candle wicks.

And we will go into a lot more detail on these wicks in The Candle Business section. Where we will look at all the ways to make money in the candle business. It's not up yet but keep an eye out, if you want to see all the ways to make money in the candle business or if you can't wait contact me directly through my contact form, with your questions.

OK, candle wicks have knitted fibers mostly cotton, these fibers are then braided into several different thicknesses. They are braided in basically 3 different styles to be used with different candles. the three styles are Flat, Square and Cored.

What The Core Is Going On!

They can be all cotton or they can be cored. Meaning they can have something on the inside. The most popular for soy scented candles is the all cotton candle wick.

And the cored wicks are either cored with paper products or zinc. The cores are used to make the hold up better or "stiffen" it.

Back in the late 80's there was quite a controversy because American manufactures had self regulated, and quit using lead cored wicks.

But lead cored wicks were still being imported from other countries. Australia was the first to ban the import of lead wicked candles, and America and Canada soon followed with the ban.

But sadly, with America's love of cheap products including candles the large discount grocery, drug and dollar stores. They still import almost all their candles and the only label is a little warning label on the bottom and a name on the front.

Ask the store manager if these candles have lead wicks and he or she will look at you like you're a space alien in a speedo swim suit. I was recently in a large discount store, I won't say the name but it rhymes with Ball-Mart.

They had a large display of scented candles I opened a jar and it smelled great, I poked the wick a couple of times with my finger and I could plainly see a small metal wire of some kind.

It could have been a tin or zinc core (which has proven safe) but it could have been LEAD. Don't take the chance just to save a buck on a candle.

Label Had No Info

The label didn't have any info, what the wax was or where it was made. So I carefully placed it back on the shelf. And wondered how many people may be poisoned by these candle wicks if they were unsafe. Once again a large corporation trying to make a buck off the uninformed consumer, and I want to change that.

University of Michigan Study

Back in 1988, Dr. Jerome Nriagu, I know I couldn't pronounce it either. He examined lead levels from 15 different brands of candles off of local store shelves.

His study revealed several of the candle he tested contained almost ten times the level of lead that the EPA recommends as safe and one candle was almost 100 times higher. Dr. Nriagu went on to say, "lead poisoning affects many organ systems and biochemical processes with the most serious occurring in the cardiovascular, central nervous and blood systems".

The study also stated that other studies have proven that the central nervous system of children is particularly sensitive to lead.

And some of the most damaging nerve and psychological effects of lead poisoning of children include learning disabilities, reduced intelligence and behavioral disorders.

And I am sure these candles they import from other countries have not done a lot to clean up their act. To read the study click this link Unversity of Michigan Study (opens in new window).

So What Do I Do, Now?

The best thing to do is to just buy candles from manufactures that use all cotton candle wicks. All cotton as in ALL cotton, or hemp cored wicks, which is a natural fiber with no unhealthy affects.


If the are zinc cored, ask the manufacture, if the zinc is a good grade of zinc. The purer the better. With a quick call or an email or information off their website. They will say if they are zinc cored and how good the grade of zinc is. If they don't say or won't say, just pass. If they say it's all cotton or all cotton with a hemp core or even an all hemp wick, you're OK.

What Else Do We Need to Know?

A wick is sized for the size of the candle. If the candle wick is too large. The flame will be too large, if the wick is too small it will tunnel down till it drowns out. And you end up with a half burnt candle. With no wick unless you dig it back out, but it will only tunnel again and again.

TIP- When this happens, and it is a great smelling soy candle. I chunk it up. Remove the wick and put it in a melter or a candle warmer. Be careful, if it is a fairly full container candle. And put on a warmer, the pressure might build up on the bottom and bust the jar. So be careful with warmers.

When my candles burn down to the tabs and leave that 1/4 inch of wax on the bottom. I always poke a butter knife down there to chunk it up, then put it into a melter. (the light bulb type) I always get at least another week of scent out of it, then I dump it.

If the wick gets a little long, cut it back to around a quarter of an inch. The perfect candle needs very little trimming. When you do trim, it's best to use a candle trimmer as it has a nice metal plate to catch the trimmings so they can be discarded. If you use a scissor to cut the wick remove it before re-lighting.

The Perfect Burn

To get the most out of your candle, if it's a container candle. Burn it till you have a complete pool of wax on top. Then let it rest and light another. Your candle will last a lot longer by doing that.

The Rule of Thumb

When burning a candle the rule of thumb is, whether its a container or a pillar. For every inch across burn it an hour ie, the candle is 3 inches across, burn 3 hours. If you burn longer, no big deal, if you use the rule of thumb, your candle will just last longer.

Candle Wicks Are Very Smart

The wick melts the wax, and the vapor coming off the melted wax is then heated and along with the scent dispersed into the room or your whole house, if it's a quality candle. The candle wick is usually pre-waxed, which helps this process get started.

Always Use a Snuffer

Where is the snuffer when you need one? I finally just bought a half dozen of the dang things. I spread them around where we usually burn candle. But I still cheat sometimes, but I try not to. The snuffer keeps your wick from smoking after you put it out.

If you just blow it out, even if it is an all cotton or hemp wick and the best soy candle on the market. The wick will still smoke when just blown out. This smoke isn't harmful and won't cause any damage. But it's best to reduce the smoke even if it's not much.

If you use proper selection and care with your candle wicks you will get the most out of each and every candle. Always put the candle where there is no drafts or vents. Don't place close to any windows where drapes could blow close to the flame if the wind came up.

And most of all relax and enjoy.

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start a natural wax candle business from home

Your website is incredible!!!! I learned much. I chuckled when you stated to not expect your "first pour" to be perfect.

LOL My first pour was last week and was mediocre. Try try again. Right?

Thanks, Linda

make candles at home

Your site has been very helpful to me. I have learned a lot from it, thank you so much.

I plan on using recycled glass also. Thanks again for your wonderful site.