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Mushroomed wick

What Is Mushrooming?

Mushrooming occurs when the wick of a candle forms a mushroom-like shape at the tip during or after burning. This formation is typically a buildup of carbon, resulting from incomplete combustion. While it might look harmless, mushrooming can lead to several problems:

  • Soot Production: Increased carbon buildup can cause excessive soot, which can stain walls, ceilings, and furniture.
  • Flickering Flame: The uneven wick causes the flame to flicker, reducing the candle’s overall burn quality.
  • Safety Hazard: A larger flame and excess soot can increase the risk of fire hazards.
  • Shortened Burn Time: The buildup can cause the candle to burn inefficiently, shortening its lifespan.

Why Does Mushrooming Occur?

Several factors contribute to mushrooming in candles, including:

  1. Wick Size: Using a wick that is too large for the candle can cause it to burn too hot, leading to excess carbon buildup.
  2. Wax Composition: Certain waxes, especially those with additives, can contribute to mushrooming if not properly balanced.
  3. Fragrance Load: Adding too much fragrance oil can lead to incomplete combustion, resulting in mushrooming.
  4. Candle Maintenance: Not trimming the wick before each burn can cause it to mushroom.

How to Prevent Mushrooming

Preventing mushrooming requires a combination of selecting the right materials and proper candle maintenance. Here are some tips to help you avoid this issue:

  1. Selecting the correct wick size and type for your candle is crucial. Test different wicks to find the one that provides a clean, even burn without mushrooming. Generally, a smaller wick can reduce the risk of mushrooming.
  2. Ensure your wax and fragrance oil are compatible and properly balanced. Avoid overloading your candle with fragrance, as this can contribute to mushrooming. Follow recommended fragrance load guidelines for your specific wax type.
  3. Before lighting your candle, always trim the wick with a good pair of candle wick trimmers- Silver to about 1/4 inch. Regularly trimming the wick helps maintain a steady flame and prevents carbon buildup. Make this a habit before each burn to keep your candle burning cleanly. If the mushroom occurs I sometimes will extinguish the candle- see blog How to extinguish a candle , trim the wick then relight. I also have a black pair of Candle Wick Trimmers for the wicks that have already been lit like these – Candle Wick Trimmers – Black
  4. Avoid burning your candle for too long. Extended burn times can cause the wick to mushroom. It’s generally recommended to burn your candle for no more than 3-4 hours at a time. Allow it to cool and re-trim the wick before relighting.
  5. If you’re making candles to sell, conduct thorough burn tests to ensure your candles burn properly. Observe how different wicks, waxes, and fragrances interact and make adjustments as needed to minimize mushrooming.

Hey candle lovers! 

Thinking of starting your own candle business get my 10 ways to build a profitable candle business.

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