Why do candles create black soot marks?

Why do some candles leave a black soot mark, and how can you prevent it? Luckily… it’s easy.

You’ve bought the perfect candle, and then you start to find a black sooty marks around the rim of the candle. It’s a common, annoying, unattractive but a totally preventable condition. Soot appears in any type of candle wax; natural wax, soya, bees, paraffin etc.. but usually more prevalent in fragranced candles.

But don’t worry – we have your back and will sort your sooty candles out.

Here comes the science. When your candle is lit, the candle flame melts the wax next to the wick, and the melted liquid wax is drawn up through the wick by the flame. If the wick is too long, or if there is a small daft, the heat-to-fuel ratio will be off, resulting in incomplete combustion and causing excessive black soot as a consequence.

There are a number of simple tricks you can use to avoid your lovely candle getting sooty and blackened;

  • Keeping the candle wick trimmed is the most effective. Keep your wick trimmed to 3-4mm maximum. Trim before each burn so you aren’t rescuing cut wick from molten wax. Most candle makers recommend using a special wax-trimming scissors, but a decent pair of sharp scissors should do the job.

  • Avoid drafts. Keep your candles away from drafts, open windows, thoroughfares and blustering winds. The drafts pull the wicks and air pressure around the wick in different directions, causing … you guessed it … black soot.

  • Re-centre the wick after burning; always try and keep the wick in the centre of your jar or candle. A little pull or tug a few minutes after your candle has been blown out makes it easier to manhandle without snapping the wick.

If this all comes too late, and you already have a layer of black soot around your candle jar, fear not; usually a quick wipe with a soapy damp cotton cloth gets rid of it. As our Batch One candles are made with blended natural wax and oils, we find the drier the cloth the better.

Interesting fact. In the witching world, black smoke is seen as a form of negative energy interfering in your environment or a sign of a struggle; someone or something trying to thwart your spells and energy. It means you are needing to use your eyes and mind to focus more, meditate, and to persevere in your endeavours.