Why Do Candle Flames Flicker? (How to FIX)

A flickering candle, at best, can be distracting and, at worst, a fire hazard. 

And there are a variety of reasons why a candle can flicker.

But the good news is that most of the time, it’ll be an easy fix.

Below we’re going to cover what can cause a candle to flicker and what you can do to prevent it so you can go back to relaxing and enjoying your candles.

Is It Normal for A Candle Flame to Flicker

A minor flickering of the candle flame can be perfectly normal.

Often flickering occurs from turbulent air. You have the candle sucking in oxygen and releasing carbon, which can naturally create a minor flame flickering, especially in container candles.

When you start to see volatile movement and a dancing wick rather than a minor flicker, then you may have a problem.

What Causes Candles to flicker?

Air Flow

Strong air currents are the most common cause of flickering.

Even movement from people around the house is enough to cause a flicker.

Then you have the more prominent sources like fans, air conditioners, and open windows.

Why Do Candles Flicker with No Wind?

The candle flame itself creates its airflow from the process of burning. A current of air is being forced up the flame, which is produced by the flame’s heat. This current of hot air forms the teardrop shape of the flame we’re all familiar with.

This current of air may be disrupted by impurities in the wax, causing the flame to flicker.

Carbon buildup may also disturb the flame leading to a flicker effect.

The Wick

A wick that is too large for the candle can cause flickering.

A candle with a wick that’s too large will cause the candle to have a large flame that will flicker and often lead to a mushrooming wick.

It’s also possible the series wick you’re using is not a good match for the type of wax you’re using.

Too Much Fragrance Oil

If your candle has too much fragrance oil, the wax can be over-saturated and interfere with the wick’s job of providing fuel for the flame.

This can lead to flickering and an unruly flame that can be a fire hazard.

Can a Flickering Candle Be Dangerous?


When enjoying your candles, you want to ensure they have a steady and stable flame.

A flickering flame with a lot of movement is no longer stable and is at risk of becoming uncontrollable.

A flame with unpredictable movement has a chance of jumping to nearby items, increasing the risk of fire.

How to Fix a Flickering Candle

Now that we know what causes a candle to flicker, let’s go over what we can do to prevent it.

First, eliminate the most straightforward explanations and then work towards making adjustments in your candle-making process.

How Much Flickering Is Happening?

If it’s a minor flicker, especially deep into a candle container, you’re most likely fine. But if you observe a flame bouncing and dancing, you should investigate further.

Investigate the Airflow of the Environment

How is the airflow in the room? Is there a source of airflow that could be disrupting the candle flame, such as a fan, air conditioner, or open windows?

Older buildings may have unapparent draft sources, like a poorly sealed window.

A well-ventilated room is fine, but ensure your candle is away from any drafts that may disrupt the flame.

Candle Burn Time

You typically only want to burn an average-sized candle for 3-4 hours at a time.

Any longer, you can run into issues with carbon buildup leading to flickering.

Check the Wax for Impurities

Clear the wax of any soot or debris which may disrupt the flame.

Check the Wick

At this point, it’s time to see if the wick is causing issues.

First, make sure you’re trimming the wick. After trimming, ensure there’s no soot or debris in the wax.

It’s also possible the wick size for your candle is too large. You can identify this by looking for any visible smoke and the size of the flame being larger than normal.

Lastly, revisit the type of wick used for the candle. The type of wick and the size will determine the quality of your candle burn. A particular series of wicks may not be a good fit for your chosen candle wax.

Always test and ensure the wick you choose is a good fit for your chosen wax.

Check Your Fragrance Oil

We all want our candles to smell nice but dumping as much fragrance oil as possible doesn’t mean you’ll achieve a stronger smell. In fact, it could have the opposite effect.

Too much oil can lead to numerous problems, so always keep records of how much fragrance oil you’re adding to the wax so you can make the necessary adjustments if you run into any issues.

A safe baseline to use is 1oz of fragrance oil for every 1 pound of wax.


Here’s a checklist for you to solve why your candle is flickering:

  1. Know that a minor flicker of the candle can be perfectly normal, especially in container candles. When it starts to bounce and dance, then it’s an issue.
  2. Check for windows, fans, and any currents of air that could disrupt the flame.
  3. Avoid burning for longer than 4 hours which can cause carbon buildup.
  4. Clear the wax of any soot or debris. Keep the candle covered when in storage.
  5. Trim the wick.
  6. Use a smaller wick.
  7. Test a different series of wicks that is compatible with your wax.
  8. You may be using too much fragrance oil. Keep records of how much you use and adjust accordingly.