Why Is My Candle Wick Curling?

Candle wick curl

It isn’t unreasonable to expect a candle wick to stand up nice and straight while your candle is burning. A nice straight wick will give you a perfect uniform flame and a melt pool across the surface of the candle. However, sometimes candle wicks bend and curl over, and it doesn’t appear to be ideal. You might ask… Why is my candle wick curling?

Candle wicks curl in order to evenly distribute carbon across the wick so that they do not develop carbon formations known as mushrooming. In addition, some candle wicks are self-trimming and they have been designed to curl as they burn so that they do not create a flame that is too tall.

Furthermore, there are a couple of common reasons for candle wick curling. One of these is the style of the wick. Some types of wick do curl naturally simply because of the way they are made.

These wicks can have their pros and cons, so don’t disregard them straight away. The other reason could be that the wick is too long and is curling under its weight. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this.

Types Of Wicks That Curl

As I mentioned above, some types of wicks are designed to curl and other wicks curl because of the way they are made, and this includes wicks that are made cheap and of low quality.

What types of candle wicks curl?

  • Flat braid wicks
  • CD wicks
  • RRD wicks

The most common wicks that curl are those in pillar and taper candles with a simple flat braid. These are cheap and easy to use but don’t have the structure of a cored wick. One of the most frequently used is the LX braid. If you make candles at home, you may be familiar with them.

Then there are CD wicks. Again, these are popular in candle making for their natural materials and value. These non-directional flat braids have the addition of a paper filament. But, this doesn’t have the same effect as a paper core

The RRD is one that can cause some confusion. As you will see below, some of the best non-curling candle wicks are those with a strong core. But, the RRD wick has a thin cotton core. This rounded wick sounds like it should be more reliable. But, it can also curl.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Curling Wicks

Advantages Of Wicks That Curl

  • Self-trimming
  • Less likely to mushroom
  • Less likely to clog

Ideally, these curling candle wicks will be self-trimming, which means that the part that curls over burns away, and you are still left with a wick at the right height. This can happen with a quality wick in a taper or pillar candle when the wick is properly centered.

Depending on the style of the wick, you can also find that some are quite robust and great for use in natural candles, such as those made with beeswax. The thicker braided wicks are also less likely to clog due to a build-up of pigment or another component in the wax.

One of the advantages of choosing a wick that curls is that you are more likely to have a softer, natural material in your candles. Some of the more reliable straight wicks have metal cores. And, while most companies don’t use lead anymore, some consumers are a little unsure about burning metal cores.

Disadvantages Of Wicks That Curl

  • Wick can get lost in wax
  • Uneven flame
  • Uneven heat distribution

There are some clear disadvantages to choosing a candle with a wick that curls. The most obvious is that the wick can bend over while burning and end up in the wax. If this then cools and the wick is lost, it can be difficult to relight the candle again. A curling wick also leads to uneven heat distribution in the candle and the wax may not burn evenly.

Stop Wicks From Curling

There are two options here and your answer will depend on how much you want to change the style of your candles or change the way in which you use them. How do I stop my wicks from curling?

Stop your candle wick from curling by keeping it trimmed to about 1/4 of an inch. If the wick is trimmed to its minimum allowable length, it will have trouble curling. In addition, you can choose a different type of wick when making candles that is not known for curling.

If you don’t see any benefit in sticking with the style of candle wick you have right now, you can look for a product that uses something different. As you will see below, there are some great alternative types of non-curling candle wick.

Or, if you do see the other benefits in those curling materials and want to find a fix, you can always work on trimming the candle. This is a bit of a chore, and something you need to get in the habit of doing every time you light the candle. But, it can be worth it.

Wick Types That Do Not Curl

If you want to make candles that have wicks that do not curl then the good news is that you have some available options. Some wicks are designed to stay straight and even include cores to help them do so. What type of candle wicks do not curl?

Wicks with cores made of tin or zinc do not curl. In addition, square braid wicks, hemp, and braided hemp wicks generally do not curl as much as some other types of wicks. It is also important to remember that the larger the wick is, the less likely it is to curl.

Some people will use square braid wicks as an alternative to flat braids because they have a more robust shape that can stay upright for longer. They are a great choice for beeswax candles. However, they aren’t immune from wick curl. So, if you aren’t working with beeswax, you might prefer something else.

If you want to go for a candle that won’t experience wick curl, you need to find something with a core. These cores keep the wick nice and straight at all times. As mentioned above, some companies use metal cores, such as tin and zinc. Lead has been phased out, but could still be around in homemade options somewhere. Others use cotton and paper cores for rigidity.

Some people suggest using a hemp braid as a stiffer material and something completely natural. This could complement a vegan candle nicely. But, some users find that hemp wicks mushroom.

Another alternative is to use wood wicks. This is another option people love or hate because of differences in quality and burn rate. However, a wood wick should say nice and straight while also adding some sound to the candle burning experience.

Prevent Wick Curling

The alternative to making or finding those alternative candles is to keep curling candle wicks in better condition. The best way to do this is to invest in a pair of candle wick trimmers. Wick trimmers look like a cross between a pair of scissors and a pair of tongs there is a bent blade on the end of a long handle that snips the wick to a more suitable height. Ideally, you want this to be around ¼ of an inch, but no one is expected to measure it. While the long handle is there for safety around hot wax, it is better to do this before relighting a candle rather than just after extinguishing it.

Wick Maintenance

Finally, if you are keen on the idea of getting a candle trimmer, you could consider getting a candle toolset. These sets tend to contain a matching trimmer, dipper, and a candle snuffer. Many sets are ornate and look great on a table beside your candle. Either way, make sure to maintain your candle wicks to prevent candle wick curling and think about the materials used when candle making.


In conclusion, lots of wicks curl while they burn, however, that is not always a bad thing. Some wicks are designed to curl in order to self-trim and prevent mushrooming.

The good news is that if a curling wick is something you just simply do not like, you have a lot of options for preventing it and avoiding it completely by using or making candles with a different type of wick.

Whatever wick type you decide to use make sure you keep the wick trimmed and practice proper burning practices.

Carl Adamson

Hi, I'm Carl Adamson, one of the founders here at Candleers. A few years ago I got really into the art and craft of candle making, initially with soy wax container candles. My friends started asking me to make candles for them and pretty soon it turned into a nice side-business. I started this website as a way to document what I've learned over the past few years and hopefully help others in the process. I still love candle making but I'm learning that what I enjoy even more is the business side of things - and for this reason I've started consulting others on how to start and grow their own candle-making businesses and side-hustles.

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