How To Light A Candle Without A Lighter [4 Creative Methods]

If you've ever gone to light the candles of a birthday cake only to have your lighter become MIA, then you've shared the frustration of many a parent. These great little gadgets work wonders until they disappear. So, what if you're in a bind and cannot locate yours? We looked at multiple ways people accomplish this little life hack and show you some of the most creative ways in this post.

If you need to light a candle and have no lighter, consider trying the following:

  • Q-tip method
  • Magnifying glass
  • Dry spaghetti noodle
  • Book of matches or kitchen matches

Now that we know there are various ways to light a candle with no lighter, we'll discuss each one in more detail. You might also be wondering how to light a candle with a missing wick, or how long the candle's wick should be. To get the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post.

cotton towel and candles on a wooden table. How To Light A Candle Without A Lighter [4 Creative Methods]

Lighting A Candle With No Lighter

As you can see from reading above, there are some pretty creative ways people have come up with for lighting candles with no lighter handy. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

The Q-tip method

Using a Q-tip as a temporary torch can enable you to carry the flame to the candle's wick. Light the Q-tip on the stovetop and quickly use the new flame to light the wick. Gas stoves work best for this, but you can also carefully employ an electric range to achieve the same thing. Turn the burner to high, wait several minutes, then place the cotton tip of the swab upon the edge of the burner. After the swab ignites, you will have a few moments of flame to light the candle.

You can also use a smaller candle instead of a Q-tip. Taking a spare stick candle, ignite the wick from the flames of a gas range. Unfortunately, we haven't had much luck using this method with an electric stovetop. 

A magnifying glass

human hand holding a magnifying glass in order to apply heat to a piece of wood

On a sunny day, you can use the old magnifying glass trick to start a fire. Place the lens of the magnifying glass at an angle six inches above the wick. After several minutes, this will catch the wick on fire.

Dry spaghetti noodle

photo of raw italian spaghetti pasta

No Q-tips in the house? Using the same method from above, you can get a temporary torch from a dry spaghetti noodle.

Book of matches or kitchen matches

woman lighting up candle with match

As a backup to your household lighter, consider keeping several books of matches safely stored out of reach of children. Wooden kitchen matches are also convenient to have on hand, and both types will safely light a candle's wick. 

How do you light a candle if the wick is gone?

Everyone has a candle with plenty of wax left, but not enough wick to light? Don't toss them away! We can show you how to save candles that you don't think will light.

Using a spoon, carefully and neatly carve away the top layers of wax from the candle. Heating the spoon with a lighter or another candle will allow for the spoon the sink faster into the cold wax. Try to remove an even amount of wax as possible. When you've removed a quarter inch of the wax from the top, you'll have enough wick exposed to relight the candle and enjoy its glow and scent.

If the candle you are using is a stick candle, use a knife to carefully cut a quarter-inch of the candle. Cut into the candle by firmly inserting the blade of the knife into it. Holding the knife in place, rotate the candle around it, slowly cutting deeper into the candle with each rotation. Be careful not to cut too deep, as you don't want to cut off the wick.

How long should a candlewick be?

Burning wax candle in black background

Maybe you've heard people debate on how long a candle's wick should be. Too long, and the flame is too high. Too short, and the wick won't stay lit. So, what's the ideal length of a candle wick?

Experts say that you should always trim your candle's length to one-quarter inch before lighting it. Neglecting this will add the to amount of debris, and will also eventually result in having a wick that is too long. Long wicks will cause uneven burning, and make the wax drip to one side.

What happens if you don't trim candle wicks?

Several candles in glasses on white wooden table in front of bed

Failure to trim a candle wick can have some unintended consequences. As we pointed out earlier in the post, you don't want a wick to be too long. Longer wicks will burn unevenly and will make wax burn and drip unevenly. The wick also puts out soot when it's burned. If the wick is too long, a lot more soot gets released, which will settle on objects in the room.

If you're using a glass holder or container for the candle, you'll be able to see the soot collect on the sides of the glass. This soot can also make your scented candles lose a bit of their scent, and can lead to the wax becoming discolored.

Another reason to trim the wick before each use is so that you can also trim away and remove any debris that might have formed in the wax ring near the wick. Bits of burnt wick will fall off from a recently blown-out candle. This debris will get coated with wax and will flare up suddenly when the wax melts enough from a new flame. These flare-ups can fuel small fires on top of the candle, which can be dangerous if you aren't paying attention. 

How long should a candle burn?

Woman hands holding burning heart-shaped candle. Symbol of hope, peace and love.

Burning a candle for too long, or for not long enough, can shorten the life of the candle. It can also be dangerous. So before you light one, it's a good idea to know the minimum and maximum times you should burn a candle.

The general rule is to allow the candle to burn for one hour, per every inch of diameter of the candle. For example, if you have a candle that measures three inches across, then you can safely burn it for three hours. You'll also want to make sure that the candle burns long enough to have the wax liquefy the candle's entire top surface.

Burning a candle for a shorter amount of time will result in what is known as a "wax memory ring." This will cause subsequent candle burns to only melt the wax inside this ring, which creates a tunneling effect. A candle that has wax tunnel will not last near as long as ones that do not. 

Can you put a lid on a candle after blowing it out?

extinguished wick of a candle and still smoking

You'll certainly want to replace the lid on your candle after the flame has been extinguished. But how long should you wait to cover it?

Experts say that you should wait several moments, and give all of the soot a chance to settle and smoke to clear before lidding your candle. Doing so immediately after blowing out the flame will trap these elements inside the candle, where they will become entrapped in the wax. This will change the scent and create debris that will flare up when it is relit.

For the same reasons, you should also avoid placing the candle lid on the candle to put out the flame. This method will not only create the problems listed above but will also damage any rubber or plastic seal around the diameter of the lid.

In Closing

There are many creative methods people have used to light candles when they don't have a lighter. Some work better than others, but no matter which you employ, you should always follow proper safety precautions.

When using candles, safety must come first. Don't burn a candle for longer than recommended, never leave a burning candle unattended, and keep open flames away from anything flammable. 

If you found this post to be informative, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts on home decor:

How To Choose Artwork For Living Room

11 Stunning Dining Room Table Centerpiece Ideas

Should You Have A Rug In The Entryway?

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