Can You Buy Replacement Wicks For Candles?

Replacing candle wicks is the process of removing an old, burnt wick from a candle and inserting a new one. This is done for several reasons. As candles burn down, the wick can become too short, uneven, or curved, preventing the candle from burning properly. Replacing the wick allows the candle to burn evenly again. Wick replacement also helps candles last longer. Once the wick becomes ineffective, the candle would normally have to be thrown out while wax remains. With wick replacement, the remaining wax can continue to be used.

Replacing wicks provides other benefits as well. It can help candles that were improperly wicked or that developed issues like tunneling. Wicks can also become clogged with debris as the candle burns, decreasing performance. Fresh wicks allow for a clean, vibrant flame. Overall, wick replacement extends the life of candles and improves the burn.

Reasons to Replace Wicks

There are several benefits to replacing an old or improperly burning candle wick with a new one:

Replacing the wick can improve the performance of a candle. An old or charred wick may lead to an uneven flame, smoke, or weak scent throw. Putting in a new wick can restore proper burning and wax pool creation (Armatage Candle Company).

A new wick can prevent tunneling, which is when wax melts unevenly down the sides of a container candle instead of across the top. This happens if the wick is too small and doesn’t create a wide enough melt pool. Replacing it with a larger wick establishes the right melt pool diameter (Veda Oils).

Replacing the wick can maintain a proper flame size. If the original wick makes too large of a flame, switching to a smaller wick minimizes mushrooming. Or if the flame is too weak, a larger replacement wick makes it stronger (Veda Oils).

A new wick can extend the life of a candle by improving its burn and providing more clean burns before having to discard excess melted wax or a drowned wick (Armatage Candle Company).

When to Replace Wicks

There are several signs that indicate it’s time to replace your candle’s wick:

  • Wick is too short – If the wick burns down so low that it disappears into the wax, it’s time for a new wick. A short wick prevents the candle from burning properly.
  • Sooting occurs – Significant black smoke or soot forming on the wick is a sign that the wick needs replacing. Sooting produces unwanted mess and odor.
  • Flame is too small/large – If the flame is tiny or sputtering, or is too large with high flames, the wick likely needs replacement. Proper wick size maintains the right flame size.
  • Tunneling occurs – If wax melts unevenly, creating a cavity around the wick, tunneling is occurring. This indicates a new wick is needed.

Replacing the wick when these issues arise will improve candle performance and burn quality. Check wicks regularly as candles are used and replace proactively as needed.

Where to Buy Wicks

There are several options for where to buy replacement candle wicks both locally and online. Some popular places to purchase wicks include:

Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby have candle making sections that carry various candle wick sizes and materials. Craft stores allow you to see and feel wicks in person before purchasing.

Online retailers like Candlewic offer a huge selection of wicks and fast shipping. They carry wicks in different materials like cotton, wood, and paper. Online stores provide convenient home delivery.

Directly from manufacturer websites like Lone Star Candle Supply. Buying directly gives access to wholesale pricing and bulk quantities of wicks.

On Etsy you can find independent sellers offering unique vintage and decorative wicks not found in major craft stores.

Having both local and online options makes finding the perfect replacement candle wicks simple and convenient.

Wick Materials

There are several common materials used to make candle wicks:[1]


Cotton is one of the most popular wick materials. It burns evenly and doesn’t release much smell or smoke. Cotton wicks work well for container candles.


Paper wicks are inexpensive and give a bright flame, but release more scent and smoke. They may need more trimming than other materials.


Wooden wicks make a crackling sound as they burn. They can give a nice effect, but may not burn as evenly or release as much scent as other wicks. They work well for soy candles.

Zinc or Tin

Zinc or tin are sometimes used for the metal core or stiffeners in composite wicks. This helps the wick stay upright and burn evenly.


Many wicks today are lead-free, meaning they don’t contain lead stiffeners. This reduces potential health and environmental risks.

The right wick material depends on the type of wax, vessel, and desired effect. Cotton and paper tend to be inexpensive and reliable choices for most candles.


Wick Sizing

Properly sizing the wick is crucial for optimal candle performance. Wick size refers to the diameter or thickness of the wick. Thicker wicks tend to burn larger flames while thinner wicks produce smaller flames.

properly sized wicks are crucial for candle performance.

To find the right wick size, you’ll need to measure the diameter of your candle container. Then match the candle diameter to the recommended wick size using a wick sizing guide. Popular wick manufacturers like CandleScience provide detailed wick guides with sizing charts to help match wicks to candle diameters.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Smaller candle diameters need thinner wicks that won’t overpower the melt pool.
  • Larger candle diameters need thicker wicks that will burn strong enough for the amount of wax.
  • Testing different wick sizes with burn tests is recommended to find the optimal wick for your specific wax type and candle design.

Referencing established wick guides provides a great starting point for selecting the appropriate wick size. But Burns testing and tuning the wick will ensure you achieve the best burn for each candle.

Removing Old Wicks

Removing an old wick before replacing it with a new one is an important step to ensure proper candle burning. There are a few methods for removing wicks:

First, use sharp scissors or wire cutters to trim the wick as close to the wax surface as possible. Trimming will remove any charred portions and allow for easier removal of the wick base.

Next, you may be able to pull out the wick sticker or sustainer tab that anchors the wick. Wick stickers are used by some manufacturers to adhere the wick to the bottom of the candle. Gently pulling straight up on the sticker can remove the entire wick sustainer.[1]

If the wick is still stuck in the wax, you can use heat to loosen and remove it. Boil water and pour it into the candle container so it melts the wax surrounding the wick base. This allows you to easily lift out the wick tab with tweezers or pliers once the wax has softened. Be careful not to burn yourself when handling hot wax or glass.[2]

Any wax or glue left behind can be cleaned with a knife or goo remover. Let the candle holder fully cool before cleaning the container in preparation for a new wick.

Installing New Wicks

When installing a new wick, it’s important to secure it properly to ensure your candle burns evenly. Here are some tips for installing new wicks:

Secure the wick to the bottom of the candle container. You can use glue dots, hot glue, or adhesive wick stickers to attach the new wick to the bottom center. This keeps the wick anchored in place (source).

Keep the wick centered as the wax hardens. Use wick stickers, wick rods, or wick tabs to keep the wick straight and centered while the wax cools. This helps prevent tunneling and uneven burning (source).

Pull the wick taut. Gently tug on the wick to remove any slack and keep it straight up through the wax. A tight wick prevents curls and improper melting.

Consider using metal wick sustainer tabs. These tabs anchor around the base of the wick and have flat edges to keep the wick perfectly centered. The tabs remain in place as the candle burns.

Wick Maintenance

Properly maintaining your candle’s wick is crucial for optimal performance and to prevent issues like tunneling. Here are some key wick maintenance tips:

Trimming the wick is one of the most important parts of candle care. Allowing the wick to become too long can cause excess smoke, soot, and an uneven melt pool. Experts recommend trimming the wick to 1⁄4″ before each use to encourage an even burn (Source 1).

Avoiding air drafts around a burning candle is also vital. Air currents can cause the flame to flicker and smoke, leaving soot on the wax. Protect the candle from drafty windows, vents, and fan air flow for the best burn (Source 2).

In addition to wick trimming and minimizing drafts, keep the melted wax pool and wick free of debris and match bits. Center the wick as the candle burns down to prevent tunneling. Never leave a burning candle unattended. With proper care, your candle’s wick can provide a clean, even burn from first light to the last.


In summary, replacing candle wicks can extend the life of your candles and improve their performance. Fresh wicks provide an optimal flame size and shape, reducing smoke, soot, and tunneling. This allows the candle to burn evenly and completely. Replacing an old, crusted wick restores the candle’s fragrance. Trimming wicks to 1/4″ before each burn also improves performance. Wicks are inexpensive and available at craft stores, candle supply stores, and many online retailers. With basic supplies and a few simple steps, you can replace candle wicks and enjoy better quality burns from your candles.

The key benefits of replacing wicks are:

  • Improved fragrance throw
  • Reduced soot and smoke
  • Minimized tunneling
  • Even wax pooling and burn
  • Optimal flame size and shape
  • Prolonged candle life

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