Why Does My Candle Smell Burnt? (With Easy Fixes)

Candles are a great way to relax and unwind after a long day. However, sometimes you may notice that when you’re ready to light the candle and relax it can smell burnt. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common reasons why your candle might smell like it’s burnt. Hopefully, this information will help you troubleshoot the problem and get back to enjoying your relaxing candles and even better still stop you from having a burnt smelling candle ever again.

A photo of a candle that is releasing a burnt smell
If your candle smells burnt try following the tips in this guide to get more wonderful scents in your home

The reasons why a candle can smell burnt.

  1. The most common reason why candles smell burnt after lighting them is that there has been a build up of dust particles on the top surface of the candle wax. When you light the candle this build up of dust burns due to the flame from the wick.
  2. The second common reason why your candle might smell burnt is that the wick is too long. When the wick is too long it can cause the flame to be too big which in turn causes the wax to melt at a faster rate. This will not only make your candle burn quicker but can also cause black soot to form on the sides of your candle container or vessel.
  3. The final reason will only apply to a new candle. Sometimes if the candle quality is not up to scratch and the manufacturer has not added the correct amount of fragrance oil or the quality of the oil is poor it will not produce any scent throw. If this happens then all you will smell is the gradual burning of the wick instead of a lovely aroma that is supposed to fill your room.

How to stop a candle from smelling burnt.

Ok, so now we know the most common reasons why a candle can start to smell burnt when you light it. Now let’s have a look at some of the ways that we can stop this from happening and potentially stop it from happening ever again.

Use a candle lid to stop dust build up.

The most common reason for a candle smelling burnt is the build up of dust on the top layer of candle wax. This build-up happens between uses of the candle as airborne particles come to settle on the wax.

Everyone has dust in their homes no matter how much time they spend cleaning. We shed old skin cells constantly, our pets shed skin cells and also hair, and our homes themselves release dust particles. So it’s no wonder that this build-up occurs on top of our candles.

To stop this from happening the best course of action is to use a lid on your candle when it is not in use, many store-bought candles will come with a lid but if yours has not then you can improvise. I have done this before by using a lid from a food jar and even cutting out a small piece of cardboard just to place over the top of the candle container.

Once you have done this it will be impossible for the dust to be able to settle on the top of the wax, which means no more burning smells.

Maintain wick size and quality.

Believe it or not, you really do need to maintain a candle wick between uses. This will help in two ways:

  1. A properly trimmed wick will make sure that the candle flame is not too big.
  2. It will also stop the candle wick from mushrooming.

A candle wick should be trimmed to around 1/4 inch before each use, this will ensure that the flame is always the correct high which will reduce any burning smell and the production of excess soot.

Also keeping on top of the wick involves trimming any mushrooming which is a carbon build-up on the end of the wick, this again produces an uneven burn and also excess smelly soot.

Buy a quality candle.

The final way that you can stop your candle from smelling of burning is to switch brands of candles. I have bought several cheaper candles from the store before that just did not contain enough fragrance oil in them to overthrow the smell of the burning wick.

There are some amazing Soy wax candles available on Amazon which come in a variety of amazing scents and are jam packed full of natural fragrance oils.

One of my favourite brands is this one right here on Amazon, I highly recommend them as they smell great, produce a good scent throw and are better for the air quality in your home.


I hope this article has helped you to understand why your candle smells burnt and how you can stop it from happening again in the future.

To summarize the article you can stop your candles from smelling burnt by:

  • Use a candle lid to stop dust build up.
  • Trim your wick to the correct length.
  • Buy a better brand of candle.

I hope this has helped, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

Happy Burning! 🙂

Andrew Scents and Aroma