Why Is My Candle Making Black Smoke (How to Stop)

Candles are a great way to relax and fill a room with great aromas until you see black smoke from your candle.

So why is this happening?

Below we’ll cover why your candle makes black smoke and what you can do to stop it.

Why Is My Candle Making Black Smoke?

Candles produce black smoke when there is incomplete combustion, or in other words, the flame cannot properly burn the fuel (wax). The candle’s flame will run into problems with too much fuel or a disruption in the fuel source.

When there is too much fuel for the flame to burn off, the excess wax releases as soot which appears as black smoke.

So, what are the leading causes?

The Wick

In most cases, the wick is the leading cause.

A wick that is too long will produce a flame that is too large and hot for the candle to handle.

This large flame will speed up the melting process of the candle and lead to an excess amount of fuel feeding the flame, which will produce soot and smoke.

Incorrectly sized wicks can also lead to problems delivering a balanced amount of wax to the flame leading to soot and smoke issues.

Wax Type

The type of candle wax will have an impact on the amount of soot the candle will produce.

Paraffin is more prone to producing soot than natural or vegetable-based waxes like soy, beeswax, and coconut.

Fragrance and Additives

Too much fragrance oil, certain scents, colors, and other additives can impact the performance of the wick leading to excess soot and smoke.

Dust and Debris

It’s very easy for candles to collect dust and debris, especially when we have candles sitting around for long periods without use.

The problem is that dust and debris will disrupt a candle’s flame and can produce smoke. 

Do Soy Candles Give Off Black Smoke?

Soy waxes burn more cleanly compared to others like paraffin, but it’s still possible for soy candles to give off soot and black smoke.

If something is disturbing the burning process of the candle, it doesn’t matter how clean the wax is; soot will still be produced.

If the soy candle isn’t manufactured correctly, smoke can be produced by the candle being incorrectly wicked or having unbalanced fragrances or additives.

Is It Normal for a Candle to Have Black Smoke?

Candles may produce minimal amounts of soot and smoke, but they should not be noticeable and should not give off black smoke while burning.

Excessive black smoke indicates something is wrong with the candle.

Is Black Smoke from Candles Bad?


Stop burning the candle until you can identify and fix the underlying cause of the black smoke.

Although it’s uncommon, candles that emit black smoke may pose a health hazard if left burning for long periods.

If you cannot fix the problem, it’s best to dispose of the candle.

How Do You Stop a Candle from Making Black Smoke?

Trim the Wick

Make it a habit to trim the wick before you light the candle.

A simple trimming of the wick can reduce soot and keep the flame manageable for the candle to have the quality burn you expect.

Don’t Burn the Candle Too Long

Don’t let the candle burn out on its own.

Burn the candle until the entire surface layer has melted and is about a half-inch deep. At this point, you can blow out the candle and repeat the process once the candle has hardened again.

By following this process, you’ll extend the life of your candle, avoid memory problems, avoid mushrooming, and ensure the wick is not overwhelmed with wax.

Keep the Candle’s Surface Clean

When storing, place a lid on the candle to protect the wax from dirt and debris.

Before you light the candle, clean the candle’s surface and remove any carbon that may have fallen on the wax after you trimmed the wick.

Keep the Candle Away from Drafts

Too much moving air around your candle interrupts the flame and increases soot buildup, leading to more smoke.

A well-ventilated room is fine but position the candle away from direct drafts.

Adjust Candle Making Process

If you’re making candles and having smoke problems and none of the solutions above seem to work, then get ready to start testing to find out what the issue is.

Keep detailed records of everything, including wick types and sizes, fragrances, dyes, and other additives.

Test one variable at a time.

You can create a baseline candle with only your wax and compatible wick.

Your baseline candle should have a steady, consistent flame that is ½ inch – 2 inches in height depending on the size of your candle. You want to replicate this flame after incorporating everything else in your candle.

Assuming the baseline candle burns cleanly, you can add variables one at a time and test to ensure the candle passes your burn tests.

Remember that anything you add to the candle, whether it’s fragrance, dyes, color, vybar, etc., will impact how your candle will burn.

By adding one variable at a time, you’ll be able to see which additive is causing issues and adjust accordingly from there.

For example, adjustments to your candle could be changing wick sizes and types, using less fragrance, or using a different fragrance.

The possibilities are endless, but this testing process will help you pinpoint the culprit to your problems.