Why do candles flicker?

Why do candles flicker?

Do you ever wonder why a candle flickers indoors? There’s no wind, no draft, but it still moves? It’s time to let you in on a few secrets of why that might be.

What makes them flicker?

In terms of the stuff that makes up the candle, both the wick and the wax can contain impurities and/or air bubbles. These impurities are part of the reason for the flicker, as the burn isn’t as stable as if it were made of pure ingredients. Also, whilst the candle is burning, it produces carbon around the wick, which adds to a less stable burn, resulting in the flicker. This is one reason why you shouldn’t leave your candle burning for more than 4 hours! If you do this, the candle creates more carbon, and it won’t burn properly, leaving unburnt carbon (soot) particles in the air.

Some science

Now we get a bit scientific… another reason why your candle might flicker or move, is to do with the air circulation. So, as we learnt at school, hot air rises. This means that the denser air (i.e., the colder air) is drawn down to the base of the candle. To keep it simple; because of this upward flow of air, the flame adopts a teardrop shape and causes it to flicker too! Who knew?


How do you fix a flickering candle?

Flickering candles aren’t the most relaxing. So, here’s a couple tips on how to prevent your candle from vigorously flickering! Firstly, opt for a smaller wick.

If you make your own candles or if you buy them, try a smaller wick. This can help prevent flickering. However, too small of a wick and your candle could tunnel, so you have to try get that perfect balance! Or, if this doesn’t work, you can simply move your candle. We can’t tell if there’s too much or too little air for the candle because there is constant movement in the air that we don’t feel ourselves. If your candle is flickering, it is likely that there is too much air circulating. Try move it to a different place within the same room or to a different room altogether and see if it changes.

Another simple trick is to just make sure your wicks are trimmed

One of the problems that could be causing your candle to flicker is if the wick is too long. The wick should be about ¼ or ½ inch long to prevent flickering. This is so easy, and we’ve even included a hack for trimming wicks on our TikTok, so go check it out if you’re stuck!