Why Is My Candle Popping And Crackling?

I have just lit my favorite candle and am now ready to relax and destress, after a long day at work, with a book and coffee by my side. Just when things couldn’t be more perfect, my candle suddenly starts to pop and crackle, ruining the entire experience! Why are my candle popping and crackling?

When one spends premium dollars on candles, the last thing they expect is for it to misbehave. However, there are many reasons why candles pop and crackle.

Candles pop and crackle while burning due to the wick being excessively long, the type of wick being used, existing debris on top of the candle wax, air bubbles in the wax being released, or due to being lit in a humid environment. All of these factors can cause popping and crackling, resulting in an uneven burn. 

Sometimes, the popping and crackling only last a few seconds but on other occasions, it can be persistent. This can lead to a variety of issues such as soot and wax tunneling.

If you are a DIY candle-making hobbyist and are having issues with your candles popping and crackling, or if you have just bought a new batch of candles that are making these weird sounds, read on as this guide could really help resolve those issues.

Top Reasons As To Why My Candle Is Popping & Crackling

How do the factors mentioned above impact your burning candle? Is this popping and crackling noise something that you should be concerned about? Before we dive into answering these questions let’s first take a look at the top reasons why a candle pops and crackles in further detail.

Humid Environments & Moisture

If your candle was frozen, stored in the washroom or a damp basement, previously extinguished with water, or left in the rain, your candle is likely not going to burn evenly and crackle and pop continuously.

First of all, never freeze a candle. Both the candle and its container may be harmed. Lighting up a frozen candle housed in a container can also cause the container to explode which can be extremely dangerous.

If water gets on the wick or the surface of your candle it will make it pop and crackle. It will even affect the way your candle burns. The flames will flare up wildly and make loud crackling noises. 

Lighting up a candle in a damp, humid, or moist environment will also result in it burning unevenly and making weird sounds. 

Debris & Other Impurities

A candle that has been sitting around for some time may gather dirt and filth on the top surface. As the candle is lit the flames can cause this dirt and debris to burn alongside the wax.

As this dirt and grime heat up it melts into the wax, causing consistent popping and crackling sounds and causing your candle flame to burn irregularly. 

The burnt remains can also produce soot, which is something that no one wants in their candles.

It’s also possible that contaminants, impurities, and debris entered the candle wax during the candle manufacturing process. 

If this is the case, then it is best to toss that candle out as it will cause more harm than good and make it a point to never buy from that manufacturer again.

The Type & Length Of The Wick

You might be surprised to learn that some candles are meant to pop and crackle. They are deliberately manufactured in this way. They use wooden wicks and often have woody fragrances that make you feel as if you were sitting right next to a fireplace. Candles from WoodWick are best for this!

However, if you don’t have a wooden wick candle then these noises are certainly unwelcome. Cotton and other natural fiber wicks shouldn’t make such noises. In this instance, the likely cause of these sounds is the fact that the wick is too long.

If the wick on your candle is too long it will produce a much larger flame which can generate soot and cause the flame to burn even higher. 

If your candle is already lit, extinguish the flame immediately before the popping and crackling get out of hand. Next, trim your candle wick to no more than 1/4 inch from the candle’s surface to quickly remedy this problem.

Released Air Bubbles

If you have recently made a batch of candles that seem to all pop and crackle continuously there’s a chance that you messed up the wax pouring process during candle making. A similar error can even be made by top-notch manufacturers.

As the air bubbles trapped in the wax are slowly released the candle pops and crackles. The flame can also flare up and burn erratically.

Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this. Your only choices in this situation are to exchange or return the candle or start a new batch altogether.

Manufacturing Errors

Candle making is an art where even the slightest of errors can result in less than desirable results. Faulty manufacturers use questionable ingredients or blends that can release toxins such as soot and smoke into your home.

Manufacturing faults should not be taken lightly. You should take the candles back from where you bought them. Make sure you not only get your money back but also let the sellers or manufacturers know of your experience. 

As long as you return the candle before it was burnt more than 3/4 of the way, most large box stores should have no issues with giving you a full refund.

Is The Popping Sound Of Candles Normal?

No, these sounds aren’t normal. If you hear these sounds most likely you have a defective candle. 

If you find that your candles are repeatedly making popping noises you must act right away. If the candle is lit, extinguish the flame immediately. If you have more of the same candles, test them to see if all of them have the same problem. If they do, this is likely a manufacturing error.  

If you have just one candle that is misbehaving, return it if possible, and make sure you don’t buy from that manufacturer again. 

How To Fix A Popping And Crackling Candle

In some cases, you can stop your candle from making these sounds and possibly even fix them in a way that makes them safe to use. 

Remember, popping and crackling noises aren’t just annoying. They are a sign that something is wrong with your candle. It is a warning that shouldn’t be ignored. An irregularly burning candle can suddenly flare up, causing flames to spread out and lash onto nearby flammable items.

So, let’s get to what can be done to stop this from happening.

Never Leave A Lit Candle Unattended

Whether your candle is crackling or not you should never leave a lit candle unattended. That is the cardinal rule of candle use. This is because if the candle does pop and crackle you won’t even be there to hear it which can be, as you can probably imagine, extremely dangerous.

Move The Candle Away From Moisture

The candle may have drawn moisture because it was placed on a sink in your kitchen or bathroom. That is why it could be popping and crackling.

To prevent this from happening simply move the candle away from the water source and place it somewhere nice and dry. The noises should stop after that.

Always Put The Lid Back On After Use

It goes without saying that if you have a lidded candle make sure you put the lid back on after use. Not closing the lid will allow a buildup of debris, grime, and dirt on top of the candle wax. This can lead to a potential fire hazard.

If the candle is kept in the bathroom, putting the lid back on will help keep the top clean and dry.

If you have a fragrance candle this is even more important. Not covering the lid will result in the fragrance oil evaporating, before the candle is even lit.

Trim The Wick Length If Necessary

With candles made from cotton and fiber wicks, crackling and popping noise can be caused as a result of the wick length being too long. Always check and make sure that your candle flame is not burning higher than 1 inch and that your wick is no more than a ¼ inch above the top of the candle wax. If the wick is longer than that simply trim it off to the appropriate length.

Clean The Top Wax Before Lighting The Wick

Whether you are using a candle with a lid or not, always wipe the top of the candle before you light it up. This only takes a second and will get rid of any filth and dirt that could have accumulated on top of the candle wax. 

Wiping off the top can also take away any moisture that might have built up there. 

This simple habit can lead to your candle burning smoothly and evenly. It will also help make your candles last longer! 

Candle Maintenance Tools To Help Stop Popping & Crackling

Did you know that blowing a candle out isn’t the right way to do it? In fact, you aren’t a true candle lover until you use a candle snuffer to snuff out a candle flame!

Candle maintenance kits or accessory sets are a great way to ensure that your candles remain in tip-top shape both pre and post-use. 

These maintenance tools don’t just look cool but are actually quite effective and important when it comes to maintaining candles for candle lovers. 

Included in the set are a wick trimmer, candle snuffer, and wick dipper. Each tool has its own purpose and can make candle maintenance a breeze. 

If you find your wick is too long use the wick trimmer to shorten it to size. Don’t want an excessive smoke smell after you have burnt out your candle? Use a candle snuffer or wick dipper to quickly and cleanly extinguish the flame.

Snuffing out a flame correctly helps avoid carbon buildup, which in turn prevents popping and crackling sounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) Are Cracks In The Candle Wax Common?

If you see a very thin almost invisible crack close to the wick this is common. This crack often appears as a result of the wax shrinking slightly as it cools after being poured. However, if you see cracks in areas other than this your candle wax has likely got air bubbles trapped in it. When released these air bubbles can cause the candle flame to flare up, almost as if your candle was a flamethrower!

Q) What Can Lead To A Candle Exploding?

Candle wax housed in a glass container may explode due to a couple of reasons. If the glass container was frozen and then used right after the intense change in temperature can cause the container to rupture due to pressure and tension. 

Moisture is another factor that might cause candles to explode. Hot wax may be forced out of the way by the pressure created by moisture trapped inside the candle. This moisture heats up and turns to steam bursting through unexpectedly.

Q) How To Prevent A Candle From Crackling?

Candles should be kept with their lids on in a cool, dry location to prevent crackling. Make sure the wick is correctly trimmed and wipe the candle’s surface to remove any dust or debris before use. Return or throw out the candle if the crackling persists.

Final Thoughts

If your candle is popping and crackling even after you’ve cleaned out any debris, trimmed the wick, and positioned it in a draft-free area, your candle is likely damaged and unusable. Manufacturing errors aren’t unheard of and if the candle is brand-new, your best bet would be to get it replaced or exchanged.

Unless you use a wooden wick candle you shouldn’t hear constant popping and crackling noises. By adhering to the guidelines, tips, and lessons provided above you can finally relax and read that book without constant noises ruining the experience!





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