Candle Soot: The Cause, How To Prevent And Clean It

Have you ever lit a candle and noticed that its smoke starts to leave a couple of black marks all over the sides? If you did not already know that black smoke is known as soot, it could be a menace. But you do not need to worry; you can easily learn what causes it and how you can prevent, as well as clean it. 

There are numerous ways you can reduce and even candle soot. Below is a detailed guide for you to learn about its causes and some really helpful tips on having a better and soot-free experience with candles. 

Do wax candles produce soot?

Yes, a wide range of candles may produce soot. This is primarily caused by a couple of reasons, which we’ll discuss in this article.  The burning flame causes the wax to melt right beside the wick, which then makes its way all the way to the top of the wick in liquid form. But if your wick is placed in a draft area or is considerably long, its heat-to-fuel percentage will vary. This results in incomplete combustion of the candle and causes smoky black soot. 

Do all types of candles produce soot?

No, not all candles are responsible for causing soot. The release of this black smoke is primarily dependent on a number of factors, such as the length and thickness of the wick, as well as the material of the wax used to make the candle.

Longer and thicker wicks are known for burning a greater amount of fuel. Therefore, the diameter of the wick should be correctly matched with the size and composition of the candle itself. Moreover, paraffin wax used for candles is known to cause a greater amount of black soot to be released into the air as compared to soy wax. 

What causes candle soot?

Candle soot is typically a result of an improperly burning candle. Improperly burning a candle, however, could be due to several reasons. 

  1. Incorrect size of the wick 

The primary factor in the production of soot is mostly related to the length of the candle’s wick. When the size of a wick is wrong, it can cause imbalances in chemical reactions. This leads to more carbon being released into our air as black candle soot.

  1. Flame flicker

A flickering candle flame is responsible for bringing about a change in the amount of wax that is being used at every point in time. The more flickering, the greater the amount of wax that the candle will consume. Consequently, the burning of oxygen and carbon together will be hindered. Therefore, as uneven carbon quantities are expelled by the candle into the air, you will see black soot being deposited on the product itself and your surroundings. 

  1. Material of the wick

If your candle has a wick made of cotton, you will not have to worry about soot. However, if it is made of zinc, your candle will likely produce dark and smoky soot. 

  1. Clogged candle wick 

The main reason you’d have a clogged wick that creates soot is due to the additives present in it. Additives limit the absorption of wax, especially at a steady and consistent rate up the candlewick. This entire process will cause a change in the combustion of the candle, and as a result, unburnt carbon will be expelled into your surroundings yielding candle soot.  

  1. Limited airflow

At times, your candlewick may get clogged, especially when there are too many additives present in it. The greater the number of wicks, the more limited will be the absorption of wax, especially at a steady and consistent rate up the candlewick. This entire process will cause a change in the combustion of the candle, and as a result, unburnt carbon will be expelled into your surroundings yielding candle soot. 

Candles placed in containers or built-in them, particularly glass jar candles, are likely to release candle soot. This could happen, especially when the candle starts to melt and is in close proximity to the bottom.

The closer a candle gets to the base of the container it’s placed in, whether a glass or a jar, the lesser its access to oxygen. This directly causes the size of the flame to change, thus preventing liquid wax from making its way toward the wick. When this happens, additional unburned atoms of carbon are released into the environment in the form of candle soot.

  1. Wax additives

We know that additives clog wicks. However, soot also occurs when several additives and scents have been blended with the wax. This has an adverse impact on the natural combustion of a burning candle. 

Moreover, a couple of fragrance oils can lead to an increase in the amount of candle soot being produced. 

What candles don’t leave soot?

The wax of soy candles burns in a clean manner and lasts for a longer period of time and top on top of that, releases much fewer toxic chemicals in comparison to paraffin wax candles. Consequently, only limited soot is produced by this particular candle. 

Do candles put soot on walls?

Yes, candles that don’t burn properly expel black soot in the air, which causes it to settle on walls. But you can clean this off without much effort, which we will discuss further in this article.   

Is candle soot harmful?

You will find numerous articles and blogs on the internet that talk about the various problems that candle soot can cause. However, none of these sources provide conclusive evidence or, in some cases, any evidence at all to back such claims. Candle soot is only a natural by-product of an incomplete process of combustion. Therefore, it has not been deemed to be a health concern by experts.

Can candle soot make you sick?

As aforementioned, you will find various myths out there that state that candles are ruining your life. But that is not true at all. Here are some claims that are often made by people with respect to candle soot. 

  1. Wicks consist of lead core

Bloggers can often be seen complaining about wicks in the candles, or rather, lead wicks. These writers believe that most of the candles bought by people contain a lead wick, which can expel some seriously harmful chemicals, specifically those that are carcinogenic. However, this has been deemed untrue because lead wicks have been banned in numerous areas of the world and are hard to come by.

In addition, various associations have been set up in countries to ensure that candles are safe. 

  1. Wax consists of harmful chemicals.

Another misconception about the harmful health effects of candles is related to the wax that is used to make the product. Typically, soy or paraffin wax is used to make candles, and fuel for the product’s flame.

When talking about the wax of a candle, people are known to cite various studies conducted by researchers who state that paraffin wax expels toluene, which is a dangerous chemical. But these studies have been deemed to be questionable due to the lack of evidence and clarity of these experiments. Therefore, a couple of bad studies are causing people to question the integrity of their candles. 

  1. Candle fragrances can harm human health.

People believe that the fragrances used in candles are artificial, which is why they have to contain carcinogens. While the vanilla and apple pie scents are artificially added, they are not carcinogenic. Various other chemicals are used to make candle fragrances enticing, but manufacturers are required by law to abide by safety standards that have been established by a relevant association in the country. Rest assured, your scented candles are free of toxins and safe for you to use. 

How do you stop candle soot?

Experts state that one of the best ways to ensure that soot is not expelled from your candle is to trim its wick. The recommended length is ¼ inches to ensure that your candle does not have a high flame as soon as it is lit. 

How to prevent candle soot?

Following are some ways you can prevent black soot from being released from your candles. 

  1. Try not to move the candle too much.

Once you light the candle and the flame is burning, try not to disturb it unless it is absolutely necessary. Therefore, it is recommended that before the flame lights up, you place your candle in a location from where you will not have to move it frequently. Moreover, if you do have to change its position, blow it out first. 

  1. Keep the candle away from any flammable things.

Your candle should always be kept away from the drapery, walls, and any other flammable items in your home or office. Keeping it at a distance from your walls will ensure that there are no soot marks left on it. 

  1. Keep an eye out for mushrooming

When you notice that the top of your candle is starting to mushroom, that is when you blow out your candle’s flame and settle down to trim the wick. Once the black soot ball that has formed on the wick has been removed, you can light it up again. 

Do candle toppers prevent soot?

This is because candle cappers have the ability to regulate the air that is moving in and out of your jar. Consequently, candle toppers have been known to bring about a reduction in black soot being expelled. In fact, many jar candles come with a candle snuffer or capper to extinguish a candle. 

Candles placed in jars often produce soot when the wick grows smaller in size and there is too much distance between fresh air and the flame. Thus, candle toppers come into play, which not only regulates fresh air but reduces soot as well. 

How do you minimize candle soot?

Here are a couple of ideas to employ to minimize the black and smoky soot your candles are producing. 

  1. Bring in an air filter.
    You can never go wrong with an air filter, which will collect all impurities, dust particles, and other debris in the air. Thus, you will be able to avoid any soot deposits anywhere in your space. 
  2. Purchase high-quality candles
    If you want to minimize the production of candle soot in your home, office, or any other space, you can buy candles with the best fragrance throw and made up of soy wax of the highest quality.

    Moreover, the wicks should be made out of cotton to expel as little soot as possible and give your candle a longer life. You may be attached to your current candles or unable to find any soot-free candles in your locality. Well, there is no need to worry. If you cannot prevent soot, there are ways you can employ to reduce it simply. Continue reading to find out more. 
  3. Try not to place candles in areas with drafts.

    Burning candles in close proximity to an air duct, a fan, and even an open window, can cause them to produce a large amount of black soot. No one wants that! Due to the presence of too much air, the flame bounces around, and its size starts to change. While a consistent flame consumes the same amount of energy and fuel, a bouncing flame does not.

    Consequently, if the candle wick starts to bounce around as well, the fuel will be drawn at an unsteady rate, which can sometimes be too little or too much. The flame’s size will decrease when the wick absorbs a lot of fuel. Then, the fuel will not be burned completely and will be expelled into the environment in the form of soot. 
  4. Purchase open-bottom vases and hurricanes
    If you have ever been to an event where candles were used to decorate the venue, you may have heard of these locations requiring that flames not be seen over the top of the enclosure. This could mean that the candle flame should stay below the top edge of the glass or that the taper and pillar candles should be placed inside hurricanes and tall cylinders.

    However, while this sounds like an easy way to keep the draft away, a closed bottom can sometimes cause issues that you may not be aware of. In order to burn fire, you need oxygen, which is consumed by the flame itself. A candle is lit and placed in a container that immediately absorbs the oxygen. Thus, more and more oxygen is required to ensure that the flame does not die out.

    As a result, the candle starts to naturally draw in air from the top as the air heated up by the burning candle tries to escape. A battle ensues between cold and hot air, leading to turbulence or a draft inside the container. Once a draft is caused, soot shortly follows. Therefore, your best bet is to use a hurricane or cylinder vase open from both ends.

    Remember, you need to ensure that the container is slightly raised off the surface it has been placed on by at least half an inch. You will require an item that can provide ample space for air to pass through the bottom. 
  5. Bring in candle cappers for jar candles.
    Of course, jar candles come with closed bottoms, which is something you cannot change. On the other hand, you can help regulate the flow of air from the jars with the help of candle cappers.

    These flat ceramic or metal discs have a huge hole in the center, allowing hot air to
    make its way out of the jar. It also consists of a couple of small holes that give away into the cool air. The battle between cool and hot air is hence avoided, and black soot is not released into the air. 
  6. Trim the candle wicks
    Ensuring that your candle wick is the right size per the candle’s diameter is one of the most recommended ways to reduce soot. When you light your candle for the very first time, try to cut the wick down to a size of ¼ inches. Then focus on the lit-up candle to check if the flame starts to bounce around, even without a draft, or appears to be too large. If this happens, do not be afraid to trim the candle wick even further.

    Furthermore, never leave your burning candles unattended for too long. This is primarily because the candle wicks may require further trimming, especially if it has been burning for too long. Blow out your candle, cut the wick down to the appropriate size, and then feel free to light it up again.
  7. Buy candles of the best quality.
    The best quality candle does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Rather, it just needs to be made right. Anyone out there can simply melt the wax and put a string in it to sell it off as a candle. But it will produce soot and not be worth spending your hard-earned money on. Thus, a candle of quality will match the size of the wick with the fragrance, candle size, and type of wax.
  8. Keep your candle away from debris.
    You may habitually drop your used match right into the wax or leave the burnt-out candlewick in it. While this happens quite frequently, it is not the best way to treat your candle.

    Wick pieces, matchsticks, dirt, and other objects, do not belong anywhere in your wax or the candle. They only kindle the flame and may contribute to the clogging of candlewicks. As a result, soot is expelled into the air. 
  9. Use shade
    The accessories that come with your candle are not for decoration only. The presence of a shade ensures that your candle flame does not waver and produces black soot. Therefore, from the second you light up your candle, cover the flame with a shade right up to the point you extinguish it. 
  10. Do not let a burning candle out of your sight.
    Be vigilant whenever you light your candle, and keep an eye on it to check for the formation of a mushroom or a bobble. When this happens, blow your candle out and cut off the wick’s tip. The same applies to all kinds of movement of the flame. In every case, all you need to do is blow out the burning candle and then trim the wick before you light it up all over again. 
  11. Buy a snuffer
    Try blowing out your candle, and then watch it afterward. You will notice that the wick is slightly glowing or that smoke is coming out of the candle, at least for a while. The smoke, or rather the soot, will end up ruining the lovely candle aroma, as well as the air you are breathing. Therefore, what you need is a snuffer to reduce the soot and starve the candle flame of any oxygen after it is blown out.

How to clean black soot from candles?

The simplest and easiest way for you to clean black soot is by using a soft cloth dampened in alcohol. Gently rub the wet cloth against the candles, and voila! The soot and black spots will be gone right away.

How to remove candle soot?

There are various ways to remove candle soot from all kinds of surfaces. While some require only a cloth dipped in alcohol, others require vacuuming.

Before you start off with removing candle soot from different areas and surfaces in your home, you might need to go to the local store and buy some of the items. These include rubber gloves, masks, as well as safety glasses. If you do not put on the right kind of safety gear, you may be subjected to harsh chemicals and harmful carbon, which could hurt your skin or your eyes. Moreover, remember to put on old clothes!

Next, get your vacuum and try to get rid of any excess soot. Then, use a cloth to wipe off the areas where soot stains are visible. You can also use a dry eraser in such a case and rub until the spots have vanished. Vacuum one last time for good measure and then dab at the surface with the help of a cotton ball dipped in vinegar or rubbing alcohol. 

Be sure to not wipe off the affected area with a wet sponge, as it may cause some of the paint on several surfaces to come off and make things worse.

How to get candle soot off countertops?

Soot stains on your beautiful countertops can be a menace. Thus, follow these steps to get rid of them for good.

  1. Use a vacuum to get rid of the excess soot.
  2. Mix water with a durable degreaser and leave it to soak for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Use a soft brush in order to agitate, and then rinse. You can also use a sponge designed specifically for soot, which you can easily find at your local janitorial supply shops.
  4. If the soot stains have still not vanished, take your oven cleaner and spray it onto a soft cloth.
  5. Rub the stains gently before you wipe them off with the help of a damp and clean cloth.
  6. Lo and behold! Your countertops are as good as new.

How to get candle soot off wallpaper?

No one wants their wallpapers to have black smoky spots on them, namely soot stains. If you are facing this problem, then all you need to do is follow the steps given below.

  1. Start off by vacuuming the wallpaper surfaces with soot stains.
  2. If the stains do not smear when you vacuum them, take a lambswool duster to clean the affected area.
  3. Remember, do not use synthetic or feather dusters, as they may have an adverse impact on the integrity of your wallpaper. 
  4. With an upholstery brush in your hand, gently brush off any residue of wall cleaners.
  5. Vacuum one last time to ensure that your wallpaper is as clean as the day you got it installed.

How to remove candle soot from blinds?

Typically, people are of the opinion that getting rid of soot residue from blinds is a time-consuming process. However, that is not at all true. You just have to be vigilant in order to ensure that you do not end up damaging your blinds in an attempt to clean them. Remember, blinds are fragile and flimsy so you can only apply a small amount of pressure. 

Use a vacuum cleaner with a duster to clean off as much debris and dust as possible from your blinds. The duster will loosen up the dust, and the leftover debris will be picked up by the vacuum. Here is how you can clean the different types of blinds.

  1. Wood blinds

If your wood blinds have soot on them, then you will need to go to the local store and buy a hardwood cleaner meant specifically for the floor. This is because a floor cleaner not only cleans the wood but protects it as well. It is also quite easy to use. Moreover, you will not have to rinse your wood blinds once you are through cleaning them.

There are two ways to use a floor cleaner. You can either spray it directly on a microfiber cloth or on the blinds themselves. Start off from the very top and make your way downwards to ensure that any dripping floor cleaner is wiped off. You can make this process easier by placing the blinds against your window and cleaning each slat individually. 

  1. Vinyl, plastic, and metal blinds

You do not need a floor cleaner to remove soot stains from vinyl, plastic, and metal blinds. All you need is any grease cleaner that is found in most households. Same as a floor cleaner, you will not need to rinse it off once the cleaning process is complete. 

Furthermore, you can spray the cleaner on a microfiber cloth or directly onto the blinds. Next, clean these blinds the same way as you would wipe down wood blinds, that is, from top to bottom. Try to switch to different sides of the cloth frequently while cleaning to ensure that no residual soot is transferred back to the blinds.

How to get black candle soot out of carpet?

The first thing you need to do to get soot out from your carpet is to vacuum it. Then use cornstarch, baking soda, or any absorbent you can find to get the soot stains out. The absorbent should first be placed over the stain of black ash and allowed to stay that way for at least an hour. During this time, make sure that you do not step on the affected area. 

If you have pets, you also need to be especially mindful of them. They should not come anywhere near the danger zone or where the soot stains are being treated. Once your hour is up, you can vacuum the absorbent. However, you will see that a little bit of the stain is still there. Do not panic!

Take a clean cloth and dip it in water before proceeding towards sponging the soot mark. Feel free to use a solvent, specifically a dry-cleaning one. Once you have blotted away at the stain with the cloth and solvent, use another cloth to absorb the residue away for a clean carpet.

How to get candle soot off glass?

To clean candle soot from glass, you will need a wet cloth or paper towel and some rubbing alcohol. Extinguish the burning flame first, and then allow the wax and wick to cool down. Additionally, soak the glass in soapy water right before you start cleaning. Be sure to rinse it off properly!

Next, all you need to do is rub the glass with a cloth or paper towel dipped in some alcohol. Your glasses are sure to shine at your next dinner party.

How do you remove candle soot from the ceiling?

Follow these simple steps to get rid of soot marks from your ceiling.

  1. Take a gallon of water and mix one tablespoon of one absorbent, specifically trisodium phosphate. 
  2. Lather a sponge into this mixture.
  3. Wipe the soot off, making your way through small sections of the ceiling. Keep going back to dip the sponge into the mixture. 
  4. Take another clean sponge and dip this one in water.
  5. Scrub off your ceiling again, this time with the clean and dampened sponge to remove any leftover trace of soot.

How to clean black soot from candles on walls?

The steps mentioned below will help you make your walls as good as new. 

  1. Run a vacuum over your walls to pick up any excess black soot.
  2. Take a dry-cleaning sponge and rub it against the stains.
  3. Get a clean microfiber cloth, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and then dab the soot marks.
  4. Mix a couple of quirts of soap with water, but only if you think additional cleaning is needed. 
  5. Work your way systematically through small sections and clean the sponge every now and then to prevent the spread of black ash everywhere.

How do you remove soot from a candle jar?

If you adhere to the steps given below, you can easily clean the soot from a candle jar without ever having to take the candle out. 

  1. Wait for the wax and wick to cool off once you extinguish it before proceeding towards the cleaning process. 
  2. Dampen your towel with water, and then wipe off the insides gently until you have removed all black stains. 
  3. If you want an even cleaner look, take the candle out and soak the holder in some soapy water. Rinse it out later to ensure that it looks as good as new before putting the candle back in. 

With this complete guide, you can clean up soot stains from anywhere in your home or simply take steps to prevent the release of soot in the air.

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