Candles were once used to provide light and guide us through the dark. With the advent of oil lamps, however, this changed.
Rather than disappearing into the night, candles underwent a significant transformation. No longer would they be used for light; but rather, to add aesthetic value and scent to spaces.
Yet, while this transition was beneficial to the candle industry, it caused an unforeseen problem.
When a candle burns down to the bottom of its jar, it can turn black rather than remaining pure white. This is not the result of the wax; rather, it’s actually colorization from smoke particles.
When you burn a candle, you are actually burning a wick that has been coated with wax. As the wick burns, soot is deposited onto the candle’s surroundings. For example, the inside of the candle jar will be coated with black soot.
There’s nothing wrong with your candle; it’s simply the result of soot and smoke particles depositing on the surrounding surfaces.
This is also why you’ll notice that the wick itself appears coated with what seems to be grayish candle wax – it’s not wax. It’s soot that is now burning off as the wick is consumed by the flame.
Why is Your Candle Jar Turning Black?
When a candle jar becomes black, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern; but when the build-up becomes excessive, you may be inclined to clean it up.
For a long time, people believed that the black carbon deposits on their candles indicated a problem with their wicks, and/or with the wax itself
In actuality, however, this is not the case at all. The black carbon deposits are simply smoke particles that have collected on the surrounding surface. This is why you sometimes see black marks near walls, on the countertop or nightstand that your candle rests upon – it’s simply soot. If you leave the candle there long enough, these black marks will disappear as further deposits are burned off or rubbed away.
When soot builds up over time, it transforms into the black substance that you see on top of the candle jar. The candle jar turns black because of the smoke particles that settle on its surface.
There are a few more possibilities behind the blackening of a candle jar. Some additional reasons why a candle jar might turn black include:
- Wrong Wick Size
The wick is what you burn in the candle, and it frequently isn’t the right size. When the wick is too big or tiny, it often results in blackening of the jar around the candle.
In other situations, the wick size is appropriate, but the candle jar may still turn black due to the wick.
The wick’s material may create a candle jar that has turned black as it burns, as was the case with one of our clients.
- Improper Wick Placement
If your wick is not placed at the center of your candle, it will burn unevenly
When you let the wick burn all the way down, it is more likely to turn black due to its proximity to the flame – which in turn produces more smoke particles that are deposited on the surrounding surfaces
This is an easy fix – simply reposition your wick in the center of your candle as you light.
- Inadequate Wick Length
Another reason why a candle may become black is due to the fact that its wick is too short for the candle’s height.
Just like with an uneven placement, when the wick isn’t long enough, it burns in different spots which results in an irregular distribution of soot and smoke particles.
- A Clogged Wick
Every candle jar that has turned black seems to have an issue with the wick, although in some cases, it is not the wick that’s at fault.
When strange foreign materials cover the wick, it causes it to burn irregularly and cause the candle jar to turn black.
The candle will not burn evenly, and this will be due to a number of reasons. The wick will not absorb wax as it is intended to do, resulting in it burning erratically. Foreign objects can influence the equilibrium of the process since the wick was designed to burn with wax.
For example, if you find that your candle is turning black on the inside of the jar, but not at the top where it’s normally found, then there is probably something obstructing its path.
You might just need to wipe clean the candle jar to see if there’s anything blocking it.
- Wax Additives
The materials that burn along the wick have been created to make the operation go as smoothly as possible. There are numerous different additives added to candles in order to improve their scent and fragrance.
This, in turn, will have an impact on the kind of flame produced when the candle is lit, resulting in a blackened candle jar.
As a result of this, there will be more soot produced and a candle jar that has become black.
Can You Prevent the Candle Jar going Black?
You may also be wondering if there’s a method to prevent a candle jar from turning black after learning why they do so. You don’t just have to wait for the candle jar to turn black and clean it.
Instead, you can prevent it from turning black altogether. Some methods to prevent a candle jar from turning black, include:
1) Using the Right Wick
One of the most effective ways to prevent the candle jar from turning black is by using a wick that’s appropriate for your candle
A wick that’s too large or small may result in an irregular flame, causing more soot and smoke particles to be produced. Once this happens, it will settle within the jar, resulting in a candle jar has turned black.
The right wick size will prevent this from happening to your candle.
2) Adding More Wick Length
Another way that you can keep the candle jar clean is by making sure that the wick is long enough
Sufficiently placed within the center of the candle, it will help to produce a more even flame that results in less soot and smoke particles.
However, if you do need to add a wick, make sure that you use a wick with the same materials as your candles.
3) Adjusting Your Candle Temperature
When it comes to clean-burning candles, it is important that you don’t use a high flame to burn your candle.
Using a very hot candle will result in the production of more smoke particles, causing your candle jar to become black.
4) Clean the Candle Jar Regularly
The last method on how to prevent a candle jar from turning black is to clean it regularly.
If you want your candle to burn evenly and avoid a sooty buildup, try to clean it around every 12 hours.
A quick and easy way to do this is by using a paper towel and tongs, wiping away the blackening residue.
This will allow it to burn more evenly and prevent a candle jar from turning black.
5) Light the Candle in a Well-Ventilated Area
A well-ventilated area will likely have an abundance of oxygen and allow the flame to burn unhindered.
Lighting your candle in a poorly ventilated area, such as a bathroom or kitchen, for example, could restrict the flow of oxygen and cause it to burn more intensely.
The candle will likely produce a large number of smoke particles that cause the candle jar to turn black.
This is due to the flame burning more intensely and becoming hotter as it lacks oxygen.
Cleaning a Blackened Candle Jar
What happens when a candle jar becomes black? Are you supposed to toss it away, or can it be cleaned? It is simple to clean a candle jar that has turned black.
There are a couple of ways to do this:
1) Clean the Inside of the Candle Jar with Detergent
One of the best ways to clean a candle jar that has turned black inside is by using dish soap.
This will break down the residue left behind and give it a fresh, clean scent.
Simply place a small amount of dish soap inside the jar and fill it up with water. Allow the water to settle in for a few hours and then shake it.
You can then pour out the dirty water and fill it up with clean water. Shake this as well and you should have a clean candle jar.
2) Dip a Paper Towel in Isopropyl Alcohol
Another way to clean a blackened candle jar is by using isopropyl alcohol.
Isopropyl alcohol is effective in removing the black soot allowing you to get rid of candle jar stains.
To do this, use a paper towel and dip it into the isopropyl alcohol. Rub the inside of your candle jar with a wet paper towel. You can then use a clean paper towel and dry the inside of your jar.
3) Use Vinegar
One of the most effective ways to clean a candle jar is by using vinegar.
Vinegar is highly acidic, which allows it to break down candle wax, removing the blackening residue.
To do this, place your candle jar inside a bowl and fill it with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. You can then use a spoon to stir the mixture around and rub the inside of the jar with it
Once done, rinse out your jar and you should have a clean candle jar.
4) Use Lemon Juice and Salt
Lastly, you can clean a candle jar that has turned black by using lemon juice and salt.
You will need to mix these two ingredients with equal amounts to form a paste. Next, you need to use this mixture with a paper towel and rub it onto your candle jar.
You can then rinse the salt crystals away by rinsing the inside of your candle jar with clean water
This will effectively remove any black residue that is left behind allowing you to have a fresh and clean candle jar.
Never leave a lit candle unattended. A large number of house fires are started this way. To prevent any accidents from happening, only light your candle in a well-ventilated area.
It is important to always keep your candles out of reach of children and pets who could accidentally knock over the flame causing it to spill hot wax around the area.
Never move a burning candle for any reason, even if you just want to adjust the wick. Doing this will only cause you to get burned or burn objects in the area and could start a fire.