What Is Candle Soot & How To Get Rid Of It

Get Rid of Candle Soot

Have you ever noticed that after you light up a candle, there’s a greasy residue on your walls and ceilings? Or perhaps, some little black soot specks visible to the naked eye. Well, not to worry! That’s just candle soot! This blog from Aluminate Life will explain what makes up candle soot and how you can get rid of it in your home.

What is Candle Soot?

When a candle burns, the melted wax is drawn up into the wick. This fuel keeps the flame alive. A chemical reaction occurs between the carbon in the wax and oxygen in the air to make carbon dioxide and water vapor (steam). Soot is black smoke that comes from unclean-burning candles because they release unburned carbon atoms into the air.

Here’s why candle soot forms

  • Candle sooting is most commonly caused by adding too many fragrance oils or other additives to the wax, which affects the combustion process.
  • When there is too much wax for the wick/flame to consume, the flame will flicker. This inconsistency causes incomplete combustion of carbon with oxygen, which releases black smokey soot. 
  • As a candle burns, the flame gets closer to the bottom. With less access to oxygen, the flame changes in size, which alters the fuel rate (flow of liquid wax up the wick) and causes soot to form.
  • Too many additives in the wick can cause clogging, which may prevent wax from being absorbed in a steady rate. This can lead to mushrooming and alter the chemical reaction (combustion), releasing unburned carbon atoms.
  • When the wick is too big or too small, the chemical reaction will be off-balance and soot will be released as black smoke.
  • The material of the wick also matters; zinc-core wicks tend to smoke and soot. Cotton-core wicks do not.

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Candle Soot

Candles are a beautiful way to add ambiance and mood lighting to your home. Here are some tips to help you get rid of candle soot and enjoy your candles to the fullest!

Keep candles away from drafts

When you burn a candle near an air vent or fan, the flame will flicker.  The size of the flame changes when the breeze causes it to bounce around.  A still flame will use a consistent amount of fuel.  A flickering flame will draw oil up the wick at a variable rate, sometimes too much, other times not enough. When too much oil is drawn into the wick and then the flame shrinks, not all of it gets burned up; instead, it turns into soot floating in your room.

Use vases and hurricanes that have open tops

Candles with open tops will allow the hot wax to drip down their sides rather than onto furniture and walls. If you don’t want to use these types of candle containers, simply put a candle snuffer over them when they’re not in use. Moreover, place candles on low surfaces such as tables or mantels rather than high ones like bookshelves or cabinets where they’re more likely to drip wax onto flammable materials below them.

Don’t burn too much wick at once

The more wick you burn, the more soot you’re going to get because there’s more fuel for the flame to burn. A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t burn more than two inches of wick at once — anything beyond that will likely produce too much soot. If you have multiple wicks in one candle, you may want to burn them separately rather than together, since they will burn hotter and faster than one big wick alone.

Trim the wicks regularly

Wicks need to be trimmed every time you light a candle; otherwise, they can catch fire and burn down all at once, which causes more soot than necessary. If you’re using a container candle, trimming the wick after each use should help prevent soot buildup. If you have jarred or votive candles, trim them every few burns until they reach about 1 inch in length. This will ensure that they don’t catch fire while they’re burning down inside the glass container!

Use quality candle wax

To reduce candle soot, look for candles that don’t have colorants or fragrances added to the wax. If you use commercial waxes, be sure they don’t contain any additives. If you want to make your candles, use all-natural waxes, and purchase good quality candles; check out candles at Aluminate Life, where every hand-poured candle is made with a proprietary all-natural coconut wax blend and scented with essential and natural fragrance oils. Our 100% cotton wicks provide a clean, nontoxic burn and last up to 80 hours.


It’s important to take care of your candles so that you can enjoy a cozy ambiance. Learn more about candle care tips in our blog and learn how to extend the life of your candles!

Candle soot is a pain, especially when it builds up on your walls and becomes a challenge to remove. Hopefully, the five easy steps that we have outlined for getting rid of candle soot will for you. There is a lot of information out there on the net and some of it can be a little confusing, whereas other bits are just pure common sense. Sometimes you need to get rid of the soot yourself in order to understand how to do it. We hope that this article has been as helpful for you as we intended it to be.


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