Salvage a Candle with Excess Wax Buildup: Tips to Revive Candles

Salvage a Candle with Excess Wax Buildup: Tips to Revive Candles

Candles are a popular item that many people enjoy using. They can be used for a variety of purposes, from providing a relaxing ambiance in your home to adding a touch of romance. However, one common problem that often occurs with candle use is the drowning of the wick. This happens when the melted wax builds up around the wick and prevents it from burning properly. If you're experienced this issue and want to learn how to salvage your candle, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about reviving your drowned candle wicks.

Why Candle Wicks Drown and How to Prevent It

The drowning of candle wicks is caused by a buildup of melted wax that accumulates around the wick, making it difficult for the wick to access the oxygen it needs to burn brightly. This can happen for several reasons, including using the wrong type of wick size for your candle or placing it in a drafty area where the flame is frequently extinguished and relit. The good news is that there are several ways to prevent your wick from drowning, including trimming the wick before lighting it and choosing the correct wick size for your candle.

Another way to prevent your wick from drowning is to use a wick dipper. A wick dipper is a tool that allows you to bend the wick into the melted wax pool, extinguishing the flame and coating the wick in wax. This helps to prevent the buildup of melted wax around the wick and ensures that the wick stays centered and upright. Additionally, it is important to burn your candle for a sufficient amount of time to allow the entire surface of the wax to melt and prevent tunneling, which can also contribute to wick drowning.

The Science Behind Drowned Candle Wicks

To understand how to effectively salvage a candle with excess wax buildup, it's important to understand the science behind it. When you light a candle, the heat from the flame melts the wax, which then travels up the wick through a process called capillary action. The liquid wax then vaporizes and combusts, producing light and heat. However, when the wax level rises too high, it can prevent oxygen from reaching the wick and cause it to drown, leading to a weak or extinguished flame.

One way to prevent drowned wicks is to trim them regularly to a length of about 1/4 inch. This allows for proper oxygen flow and prevents the wick from becoming overwhelmed with melted wax. Additionally, using a candle snuffer instead of blowing out the flame can also help prevent excess wax buildup and prolong the life of your candle.

Signs That Your Candle Wick is Drowning

There are a few telltale signs that your wick may be struggling to burn properly due to excess wax buildup. One of the most obvious indications is a consistently weak flame that struggles to stay lit. Additionally, black soot around the wick and a significant amount of wax buildup on the sides of the candle jar can also signal that your wick is drowning.

Another sign that your candle wick may be drowning is if the wax pool around the wick is too deep. This can prevent oxygen from reaching the flame, causing it to suffocate and go out. You may also notice that the candle is burning unevenly, with one side melting faster than the other. This can be a result of the wick being off-center due to the excess wax buildup.

To prevent your candle wick from drowning, it's important to trim it regularly to about 1/4 inch before each use. This will help to maintain a steady flame and prevent excess wax buildup. You can also try using a wick trimmer to ensure a clean cut and avoid any debris falling into the wax pool. Additionally, avoid burning your candle for too long, as this can cause the wax to melt too quickly and drown the wick.

Common Causes of Wax Buildup in Candles

Understanding the common causes of wax buildup in candles can help you take preventative measures to avoid the issue. Some common reasons for drowning wicks include using a wick that is too small for the size of your candle, using the wrong type of wax for the wick, placing the candle in a drafty area, or not trimming the wick before lighting it.

Another common cause of wax buildup in candles is burning the candle for too long. When a candle burns for an extended period of time, the wax can melt and pool around the wick, suffocating it and causing the flame to go out. To prevent this, it's important to follow the recommended burn time for your candle and extinguish it before the wax reaches the bottom of the container.

In addition, the fragrance oils used in scented candles can also contribute to wax buildup. Some oils are heavier than others and can cause the wax to become more viscous, making it harder for the wick to draw up the melted wax. To avoid this, choose candles with high-quality fragrance oils that are specifically designed for use in candles and follow the recommended usage rates.

Materials You'll Need to Revive Your Drowned Candle Wicks

Before you can start reviving your drowned candle wicks, you'll need a few materials. These include a toothpick or skewer, a paper towel, a heat gun or hairdryer, and a candle wick trimmer.

Additionally, it's important to have a container of hot water nearby. This will be used to warm up the wax around the wick, making it easier to manipulate and revive. You may also want to have a pair of scissors on hand in case the wick needs to be trimmed after reviving.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Salvage a Candle with Excess Wax Buildup

Here are the steps to follow to revive your drowned candle wicks:

  1. Stop burning your candle. If the wax level is above the wick, it's important to extinguish the candle to prevent a fire hazard.
  2. Trim the wick. Use a wick trimmer to trim the wick to a length of about ¼ inch. This will help prevent future drowning and ensure a clean burn.
  3. Remove excess wax. Use a toothpick or skewer to carefully remove any excess wax buildup from around the wick area, being careful not to disturb the wick.
  4. Use heat to melt the wax. If there is still a significant amount of wax buildup, you can use a heat gun or hairdryer to gently melt the wax to a point where it can be wiped away with a paper towel. Be careful not to overheat the wax, as this can cause the jar to crack or shatter.
  5. Trim the wick again. Once the wax has been removed, trim the wick again to ¼ inch length.
  6. Light the candle. Your candle is now ready to be lit again and should burn more evenly with a stronger flame.

It's important to note that salvaging a candle with excess wax buildup should only be done if the candle is still in good condition and has not been burned for an extended period of time. If the candle has been burned for too long, it may be time to replace it.

Additionally, if you notice that your candle is consistently drowning and producing excess wax buildup, it may be a sign that the wick is too small for the size of the candle. In this case, it's best to purchase a larger wick or switch to a smaller candle size to ensure a clean burn.

Alternative Methods to Salvage Your Drowned Candle Wicks

If the above method doesn't work, there are a few alternative methods you can try. One option is to use a toothpick to create small channels around the wick, allowing the wax to melt and burn more evenly. Another method is to freeze the candle for a few hours, which can cause the wax to shrink and loosen from the jar.

Another alternative method is to use a hair dryer to melt the wax around the wick. Hold the hair dryer a few inches away from the candle and blow hot air onto the wax until it melts and the wick is visible. Then, use a paper towel to absorb the melted wax and repeat the process until the wick is free. Be careful not to overheat the wax or the jar, as this can cause the glass to crack.

Tips and Tricks to Maintain Healthy Candle Wicks

To prevent wick drowning in the future, there are several tips and tricks you can follow. Only burn your candle for a few hours at a time, trim the wick before each use, and make sure to place the candle in a draft-free area. It's also beneficial to avoid using a wick that is too large or small for your candle and to use high-quality wax and fragrance oils.

Another important tip to maintain healthy candle wicks is to avoid burning your candle all the way to the bottom. When the wax gets too low, the heat from the flame can damage the wick and cause it to drown. It's recommended to stop burning your candle when there is about 1/4 inch of wax left at the bottom. Additionally, if you notice that your wick is mushrooming or producing excessive smoke, it's a sign that the wick needs to be trimmed or replaced.

How to Dispose of Excess Wax Properly

When salvaging your drowned candle wicks, it's important to dispose of any excess wax properly. The best way to do this is to place the wax in a small bag or container and throw it away in your regular trash. Alternatively, you can reuse the wax by melting it down and pouring it into a new candle jar to create a unique layered effect.

By following the above steps and tips, you can effectively salvage your drowned candle wicks and avoid future wax buildup issues, ensuring that you can continue to enjoy your favorite candles in peace.

It's important to note that pouring excess wax down the drain or toilet can cause serious plumbing issues. The wax can harden and clog pipes, leading to costly repairs. Additionally, burning candles in a well-ventilated area can help prevent excessive wax buildup, as proper airflow can help the wax burn evenly and prevent it from pooling around the wick.


© Brave in Bloom, 2023