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How To Burn Candle Without Wick? Our Guide Here!

  • Written By Candace 
  • Updated On
  • 9 min read

Can I Burn a Candle Without a Wick?

If your favourite fancy candle has finally burnt through its wick or the wick inside of it is broken, you might be wondering how to burn through the leftover candle wax without the original wick inside. 

Rather than be left with a useless candle you can indeed burn a candle without a wick by using cotton string, paper towels, popsicle sticks or even mop strands!

We’ve composed a small guide below which will take you through the type of wick used in candles, the best makeshift wicks to burn the rest of your candle wax (and how to make use of it) as well as how to fix your candle wicks and make them last longer. 

Read our article about how can you light a candle without a lighter.

So without further chat, let’s get into it!

What Type Of Candle Wicks Are There?

Before we explore how to burn through the rest of your candle container without a wick, let’s discuss the main types of wicks that are used for burning a candle flame down below, this will help you to choose the right type of wick for your candle wax mixture and candle design.

  • Square wicks – These types of wicks are braided and knitted in a candle jar and are mainly used in beeswax candles as they are very robust.
  • Flat wicks – Flat wicks are typically used in pillar candles and tall candle types, they curve over when burning and are made in a braid of three.
  • Wooden wicks – For people who want a modern wick, wooden wicks are great and produce a crackling effect when burned.
  • Cored wicks – Cored wicks stand straight due to the support inside, they are typically used in container candle types and make a reliable candlewick. 
  • Speciality wicks – These wicks are used for a more specialised candle design such as insect-repelling candles or scented candles

The Best Substitutes For Candle Wicks

Now we know the main types of candle wicks found in candles, this makes it easier for us to choose a better substitute for our wick according to the candle design we have. 

We’ve listed the best types of materials you can use to burn through the rest of your candle without a wick below. 

Paper Towels 

Believe it or not, you can use paper towels to burn any type of wax in your candle, simply roll a piece of paper towel up and dip it into borax first then let it harden, this will allow the candle to burn properly as a reliable candle wick would. 

Mop Strand 

A mop strand from a mop head can act as a wick for candles due to them being braided and made out of cotton fabric. These cotton wicks can be paired with cotton balls to make a twisted cotton wick.


It is very possible to use popsicle sticks or toothpicks as a wick in your candle depending on the height of the design. Simply put a bottom metal with a heat gun on to your stick then let it burn if you have a small ordinary candle a toothpick can work but for taller light candles a popsicle will work better. 

Cotton Strand Or Twine

Yarn or cotton strips can work as a wick, you will need to make sure they have no additional dyes so as they do not become toxic when burnt, the type of cotton string you use should also be dipped in borax and allowed to stiffen for the candle to burn properly.


Uncooked spaghetti strands could help burn your candle without a wick, soggy spaghetti however will not work as it will not stay alight.

Read our article about when your candle wick gets too small, won’t light and started drowning.

What Size Should My Candle Wick Be?

If you’ve decided to use one of the materials above to make a candle wick with then you still need to make sure it’s the right height to burn all the wax out of your candle pots design. 

The right size wick for a clean-burning candle should be 1/4 to 1/8 above the wax, this can be cut with a candle wick trimmer tool.

Avoid cutting your homemade wick too short as this can stop deep candles from burning properly, if too short you will have to burn out the wax until the wick is exposed again or scrape out some of the wax around the wick.

Tips For Making Your Candle Wick Last Longer

To avoid having to use your wick to burn the rest of your candle, your better off trying to make the original wick last for longer. 

We’ve listed a few tips for increasing the lifespan of your candle wick down below to avoid wasting expensive candles.

  • Only burn for a few hours – It’s important to only have 3-4 hours of burn time for your candle to avoid the wax tunnelling inside, avoid burning for longer as this will create an uneven layer of wax.
  • Trim and move your wick – Once your candle has cooled down, make sure to trim your wick to the right size for an even burn, to move it, let the candle cool but not until the wax is fully set then move the wick back to the centre.
  • Try more wicks – One way to avoid burning your candle without a wick is to use more of them in your candle! Four wick candles are great and do not have common candle issues such as tunneling.

There is a role of candle wick to a certain extent, read our article about which type of candle wax burns the longest.

What To Do With The Spare Wax In Your Candle

If you want to burn the rest of your candle and use the wax for something else rather than throwing it away, no worries, there are plenty of ways to get re-using your old wax which we will list below.

  • Make a new candle – Find some candle jars and melt the rest of your wax into these till you create another candle or tealight!
  • Try wax melts – If you have some wax melt trays you can simply pour the rest of your candle wax into these and make free wax melts.
  • DIY fire starters – You can make some excellent fire starters with leftover wax and cotton rounds, dip around 3/4 of it in hot wax and allow to set, light the end without the wax and allow it to burn!
  • Craft some candle ornaments – Melting some wax then decorating glass with it can make some beautiful ornaments, try different coloured wax to make more interesting designs.
  • Fix your shoelaces and doors – Try heating your wax and dipping the end of your shoelaces into the wax to stop frayed ends, you could also use the wax when hardened to help loosen up sticky draws or cupboard doors. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Burning a Candle Without a Wick 

Can I use a cotton bud as a wick? 

The cotton on your cotton bud can work as a wick once twisted but the plastic stick should not be burned as they are toxic.

What should I do if my wick got lost in my candle? 

If your wick has been lost inside of your candle you can simply extend it with another wick or with one of our methods above.

How long should a candle burn for?

For every inch of your candle in diameter, it should burn for around an hour. 

What size should I trim candle wicks to? 

Your candle wick should be trimmed to either 1/8 or 1/4 over your candle for an even burn. Only trim your wick once the candle has cooled.

How do I make a cotton yarn wick? 

To make a cotton yarn wick you can simply cut off the required amount according to the size of your candle and dip it in saltwater or even oil then allow it to harden overnight.

Why do I need a wick for burning my candle? 

A wick is important for burning a candle as melting wax alone will only cause it to melt in a lump, not burn through evenly.

Final Words 

Overall, you can burn a candle without a wick by using materials such as cotton string, paper towels or wooden sticks, always make sure your candle has cooled before inserting any new wicks and trim it to the appropriate size according to the height of your candle.

To prevent having to burn your candle without a wick in the future make sure you are taking care of it by not burning your candle for too long and trimming it regularly.


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