Candle lighting and wick-trimming

Greetings friends,

This may seem like a strange question, but as a newly apprenticed Sacristan (at age 42), I’m looking for those who have had personal experience in trimming candle wicks and keeping them burning without black smoke. I’ve googled a few articles, but I would like to hear from people with first-hand experience. What lentgth should the wick be? I’ve heard 1/4 inch is ideal, what about trimming actual wax from the candle? I’ve also read of soaking the wick in methylated spirits or parrafin to make lighting easier. Any anecdotes or personal experiences in this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.

I didn’t realize this was such an old thread. I have trimmed candles by dipping in hot water than with a sharp knife trim off what I wanted to remove. My Pastor does not like his candle wicks trimmed. He believes it makes it harder to light. I have never noticed any black smoke.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit