Wick mushrooming is a phenomenon that can occur when using a candle or other type of burning wick. It happens when the wick burns faster than the surrounding wax, causing the wick to become wider and mushroom-shaped.
As the mushroom-shaped wick burns, it can release soot and smoke, which can build up on the surface of the candle and create a dirty, unattractive appearance. The smoke and soot can also create a potential fire hazard, particularly if the candle is left unattended or placed near flammable materials.
Causes of Mushrooms
Wick mushrooming is caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Improper wick size: If the wick is too large for the candle or the surrounding wax, it will burn faster than the wax and create a mushroom-shaped tip.
- Poor-quality wax: If the wax used in the candle is of low quality, it may not burn cleanly, which can contribute to the buildup of soot and smoke. Our recommendations for choosing a wax.
- Drafts: If there is a draft in the room, it can cause the candle to burn unevenly, which can lead to wick mushrooming.
- Burning the candle for too long: If the candle is burned for an extended period of time, the wick may burn faster than the wax and create a mushroom-shaped tip.
- Failure to trim the wick: If the wick is not trimmed before each use, it can become too long and burn too quickly, leading to wick mushrooming.
How to fix it?
If you notice wick mushrooming on your candle, there are a few steps you can take to fix it:
- Extinguish the candle: Blow out the candle and let it cool completely before attempting to fix the wick.
- Trim the wick: Using a pair of scissors, trim the wick to about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in length. This will help to prevent the wick from burning too quickly and creating a mushroom shape in the future.
- Remove any excess wax: If the mushroom-shaped tip of the wick is too large, carefully remove it using a pair of tweezers or your fingers. Be sure not to remove too much wax, as this can cause the candle to burn unevenly.
- Clean the candle: If there is a buildup of soot or smoke on the surface of the candle, you can wipe it off using a clean, dry cloth.
- Burn the candle properly: To prevent wick mushrooming in the future, be sure to burn the candle for no more than a few hours at a time, keep it away from drafts, and always trim the wick before each use.
By following these steps, you can fix wick mushrooming and ensure that your candle burns cleanly and evenly.
What wick should I use?
While all wicks have the potential to mushroom if they are not properly maintained or if the candle is not burned correctly, some types of wicks are less likely to produce mushrooming than others.
One type of wick that is known to produce less mushrooming is a flat braided wick. These wicks have a wider, flat shape that helps to minimize the amount of exposed wick material that can burn and produce a mushroom shape.
Another type of wick that is less likely to produce mushrooming is a cored wick. Cored wicks have a thin metal or paper core in the center, which provides structural support to the wick and helps to keep it from mushrooming.
The type of wick you should use depends on the type of candle you are making and the size of the container or mold you are using. Wicks come in different sizes, materials, and coatings, and choosing the right wick is important for ensuring that your candle burns properly.
When selecting a wick, consider the diameter of the container or mold, the type of wax you are using, and the desired burn time of the candle. A wick that is too small will not burn hot enough to melt the wax, while a wick that is too large may cause the candle to burn too quickly and produce smoke and soot.
There are several types of wick materials available, including cotton, paper, and metal. Cotton wicks are the most common and are suitable for most types of candles. They come in various sizes and can be coated with different materials to enhance burn characteristics.
You can also do a burn test by lighting the candle and observing how it burns. If the flame is too small, the wick may be too small, and if the flame is too large or produces smoke, the wick may be too large.
It’s important to test different wick sizes and materials to find the right wick for your specific candle-making project.
Carole Brooks has been making candles for many years. She loves to create candles of all different types and for all different purposes. Here she shares her experience and knowledge. Carole is a graduate of Texas A&M University.