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What's wrong with my candle?

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

Finding out why your candle isn't performing the way it should can be frustrating, especially if you are not a chandler (someone who makes candles.) Check out our other blog posts that will address each problem more in depth. Here we will list the five most common problems when it comes to candles and how you can solve them.

  1. Tunneling. You find a great smelling candle and take it home to burn it only to discover the wax does not melt all the way around. Scent To Be finds this to be the most common problem when people share their frustrations with candles, and there's alot of content to cover about the whys and hows, but for you as a customer, luckily, this is an easy fix! The first burn is the deepest, meaning the first burn of every candle sets the tone for the rest of the burns following. To avoid tunneling, make sure the wax melts to the outer edge of the candle vessel before you blow it out for the first time. This creates a "memory" or lasting impression on your candle and will ensure it burns right throughout the entire use of your candle, allowing you to enjoy maximum scent output.

2. Uneven burn. If your candle is not burning evenly, there's a good chance it is problably under a draft. Check to make sure your candle is not near a fan, under a vent, or near an open window. Any of these can cause your flame to flicker and the heat to be transfered to one side of candle, creating an uneven burn.

3. Black around the top. Always wonder why your candle is black around the top? Take a look at the ingredients your candle is made of. If there is heavy black soot around the top of your candle, chances are it is made with parafin wax or vegetable wax, causing you and your family to breathe in harmful carcinogenic chemicals. To ensure the cleanest and healthiest burn, make sure your candle is made with a natural wax, either soy, palm, coconut, or beeswax. Another detail that could also help is sticking with candles that have wood wicks. Wood wicks candles give off 85% less soot than other wick types.

In addition, make sure your fragrances are phthalate-free. Phthalates are plasticizers that are often found in everyday products you use, from shampoos to food packaging, and are most harmful when ingested through breathing. If you can, try to use all phthalate free products, but this is most important when it comes to candle fragrances. See our other blog posts to find out more information on this crucial part of our mission.

4. Why can't I smell my candle? This is a question you may find yourself asking a good a times. You spent your hard earned money on a scented candle you loved, only to find the scent isn't that strong while burning. While there may be a variety of reasons for this, the first solution you may want to try is making sure all of your windows and doors are closed to ensure targeted scent distribution. Moving your candle to a smaller room space may help as well. When burning candles made from natural waxes, you will find the scent muted by the smell of food if you are cooking. This is an upside if you like food, but a downer for smelling the fragrance of the candle. If you still do not smell a strong fragrance, ask yourself if the scent meant to be strong and pronounced. Many quality candles include those with soft scented fragrances that are meant to be relaxing and calm while stronger scents bring exhuberance, warmth, and vibrant energy into the space.

5. My candle flame is too large. You may experience a high burning flame if you do not trim your wicks before each burn. Trimming your wicks ensures the proper amount of heat distribution for optimal scent throw, as well as optimal burn time. For threaded wicks (cotton wicks, eco wicks, hemp wicks) trim to 1/4th of an inch. For wood wicks, its best to go with 1/8th of an inch! When it comes to candles, less wick is more! When you trim your wicks, you'll find it improves the overall quality of your experience with burning the candles, from how long your burn time is, to your scent throw, to less soot release, to your candle burning evenly.

If you do not have a pair of wick trimmers, invest in a candle care kit and get more burn for your buck. Typical candle care kits range in price from $10-$30, depending on which tools are included. We would recommend atleast having the canlde snuffer and the wick trimmer. We love this 3 in 1candle care kit by RONXS!

Your candle flame could also become large and mushroom, because the circumferance of the wick is too big for the specific vessel your candle wax is poured into. If your wick is too big for you candle, this may cause you to lose scent halfway through burning your candle, as well as less burn time, since the wax is burning at a higher temperature. This is something only a chandler (candle maker) can fix. If you are interested in becoming a chandler, check out our candle making tips in our DIY section.

Having other problems with your candles? Let us know! Scent To Be loves to here about all the buzz, including our customers challenges, so we can help make your experience with candles and scent the best! Write to us, and let us know what you think, at, or find us on social media @scenttobecandles. We can't wait to here from you!

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