Why Is My Candle Crackling/Popping? (And how to stop it)

Envision lighting a candle, settling down to relish its soothing glow, when an unexpected popping and crackling disrupts the tranquility. Confusion sets in as you wonder about the source of this noise. Fear not, for this guide delves into the reasons behind such sounds and offers solutions to restore serenity.

The unsettling crackle and pop-in candles stem from carbon buildup on the wick or a phenomenon termed mushrooming. Underlying culprits include moisture retention, wax impurities, elongated candlewicks, or entrapped air bubbles within the wax.

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Renowned for their aromatic allure and therapeutic benefits, candles are a household staple. Yet, the onset of popping and crackling sounds can unsettle this serene ambiance.

What Is A Crackling (Popping) Candle?

Consequently, the crackling or popping in candles can manifest as tunneling, and soot release, among other unfavorable outcomes.

Should you observe your candles popping or crackling, it demands immediate attention. However, as much as you do not like seeing an uneven burn, it will not benefit you to panic immediately. Before you can fix an issue with your candle, you must first know the causes behind it.

Candle Popping: Unusual Occurrence or Common Phenomenon?

No, it’s an anomaly. Should your candlewick mushroom or the wax harbor excess carbon, the candle’s performance dwindles, ushering in the vexing pop or wick crackle. In addition, if it acquires moisture and impurities, it’s bound to pop due to the irregularity displayed by the flame. Otherwise, your candle should continue to work fine and provide you with the calm you crave.

Understanding the Cause: Why Do Candles Crack and Pop?

The crackling or popping of candles stems from myriad factors, all converging to disrupt the flame’s steadiness, inducing an irregular burn.

Let's explore the possible culprits behind your candle's uncanny behavior. Here are a few reasons that could be causing the popping and crackling sounds your candle is making:

  1. Moisture

You may have placed your candle in your freezer or bathroom before you took it out to light it up. Or extinguish the flame using water the last time you burnt it. Or did you forget your candle out on the patio? Either one of these reasons could have caused moisture on your candle!

First, you must remember that placing your candle in the freezer can cause much damage, even to the container. Lighting the candle when it is freezing will bring about a drastic change in its temperature. Consequently, the jar or container that the candle is in could also get fractured. 

Moreover, if water gets into the candle or its wick, it can negatively impact the flame. As a result, you will see that the flame burns erratically, making a popping or crackling sound. 

  1. Impurities

Neglecting to cover or containerize your candle will gradually lead to the accumulation of grime and dust, contributing to irregular burning and soot production. As a result, your candle will cause various problems for you when you try to light it.

The dirt settles down on the exterior of the candle and eventually integrates with the wax while the flame burns. This gives you a whole new set of problems related to your candles, such as an unstable and irregular flame and crackling sound. In addition, the grime and dust that blankets the surface of your candle also lead to the expulsion of soot. 

  1. Long candlewick

If you do not regularly trim your wick down to ¼ inches, it is bound to get too long compared to the length of your candle and lean. This will allow it to retain carbon, forcing it to mushroom or become disfigured. Eventually, you will notice your flame burning erratically and becoming unstable, making a popping sound.

  1. Air Bubbles: These can form during the manufacturing process. When they come into contact with heat as your candle burns, they create popping sounds.

An imperfect manufacturing process often leaves numerous air bubbles trapped within the candle’s wax. As the candle burns gradually, air bubbles are released, making a popping and crackling noise. 

5. Faulty Manufacturing

The cacophony of popping and crackling can also trace its roots to faulty manufacturing or lax quality control, culminating in undue moisture, impurities, or unsuitable wick lengths in the candles.

MoistureStore in a dry place with the lid on.
ImpuritiesKeep covered to prevent dust and grime.
Long candlewickRegularly trim the wick to ¼ inches.
Air bubblesOpt for quality candles with no bubbles.
Faulty manufacturingChoose candles from reputable brands.

Can a Crackling Candle Cause an Explosion?

First of all, a candle explosion is believed to be an incorrect term when describing what happens to candles when they make a crackling or popping sound. After all, your candle is not a little stick of dynamite waiting to go off at any moment. 

However, you can say that the popping sound of a candle could indicate a fire, which could lead to some form of an explosion. For example, if your candle is placed in a glass container or jar, it can explode under certain circumstances.

You may not know this, but when water connects with the wax of a candle, it poses the risk of creating a splatter reaction, forcing the wax to melt. The candle and the container will eventually heat up because the wax can only melt at significantly high temperatures. It is common for the candle to start heating up at the center, at first, before spreading to the rest of the areas. After the heat reaches a considerably high point, the container or jar made out of glass might explode. 

Simply put, your candle cannot explode when it crackles. On the other hand, it can certainly lead to drastic consequences for your glass jar or container when the wax starts to melt because of an irregular flame. 

Health Risks

As per a study by the National Candle Association, the discord of popping and crackling in candles can unleash toxins like benzene and toluene, which are implicated in respiratory issues and other health risks. It is prudent to extinguish such candles promptly and steer clear of inhaling the smoke. Using candles made from natural, non-toxic materials and ensuring proper ventilation can also reduce potential health hazards.

Health RiskPreventive Measure
Respiratory problemsUse non-toxic, natural candles.
Exposure to toxinsEnsure proper ventilation.
Fire hazardFollow candle-care instructions.

Preventing Popping and Crackling

Nestle your candles in a cool, dry haven with lids secured to ward off moisture encroachment on the surface or wick, a precursor to the irksome popping and crackling sounds. Keeping the candle away from water sources can also mitigate moisture-related noise issues​. Moreover, your candle should be kept in a container or jar of some kind to keep it away from impurities at all times. 

On the other hand, the popping sound could directly result from improprieties existing in the wax. The candle in question should be blown out right away in such cases. 

Furthermore, it’s advisable to either discard it promptly or return it to the point of purchase.

Ensuring Tranquility: Techniques to Avoid Candle Crackling

Given that the crackling or popping sound that your candle is making is not a direct result of a faulty manufacturing process, there are some things you can do to fix this issue. The tips below can help you prevent your candle from popping and crackling.

  1. Think about changing the location.

If your candle sits on your bathroom sink or kitchen counter, you already know the culprits responsible for drawing in moisture. Try avoiding these locations or any location with any water source in the house to ensure that no water mishaps occur with it. In addition, try to keep your candle away from the freezer to save it from accumulating moisture.

  1. Cover the candle between uses.

Try to get in the habit of putting the lid on the container that houses your candle every time you blow out the flame. This will make sure that the top of your candle is kept safe from any grime and dirt that may come from it. Moreover, this will prevent moisture accumulation if you have chosen to keep the candle in your bathroom.

You may not know this, but candles eventually dry out over time, and their fragrance oil evaporates. This can happen even if you do not light up your candle. Therefore, using a lid is a surefire way of ensuring the freshness of your favorite candle. 

  1. Cleaning Before Burning: Make it a habit to clean your candle before each use. Removing any dust or debris ensures a smoother burn. You can use a soft cloth or a feather duster to gently clean the surface and around the wick.

Prior to lighting, wipe the candle’s surface to remove any dust or debris that might contribute to irregular burning and soot production. Regularly inspect and clean the candle for any impurities​. In addition, any excess moisture will be removed that the candle acquired while sitting on the shelf near the kitchen sink. 

  1. Focus on trimming the candlewick.

Regularly trim the wick to an appropriate length to promote a steady flame and reduce the likelihood of noise. A well-trimmed wick can help prevent carbon retention, leading to an irregular flame and noise. You can also opt for the suggested length, which is ¼ inches. 

Candles offer myriad benefits, from accentuating your personality to enlivening your living space. So, it is in your best interests to abide by candle-care instructions down to a tee. With this guide, you can identify the cause and take steps to ensure that no more popping or crackling sound is coming from your candle. Happy lighting.

Quality Control Measures

Rigorous quality control is the linchpin of a gratifying candle-burning odyssey. Manufacturers must uphold stringent standards to ensure the candles’ safety and optimal performance, encompassing tests for potential disruptors like moisture content, impurities, and wick length.

Regular quality checks can help ensure that the ingredients used in the candles are compatible and free from toxins, providing fully operational candles that burn cleanly without disruptive noises.

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