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What is a Dripless Candle?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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Candles create a warm atmosphere and nice touch, but candles that drip wax can be problematic. Not only are they messy, but they can also ruin carpets or furniture. A dripless candle does not drip wax when burned properly. One commonly made dripless version of a candle is the slender taper that fits candelabras, though not all tapers are dripless. Pillar or cylindrical candles can also be dripless.

According to candle makers, there are two basic ways to make a dripless candle. A slender version is made by using a thick wick, absorbent enough to consume melting wax before it can drip. In this case, the entire candle burns away, leaving just a stub in the candleholder. Thick pillar-style candles are made by using two different kinds of wax: a softer wax to make the candle’s inner core, and a harder wax with a higher melting point to form an outer shell. This type burns down the center, leaving the outer shell intact.

Dripless taper candles are perfect for dinner tables, piano tops or mantles. They add a touch of class to any room without creating the mess of normal candles. If a taper dripless candle is allowed to burn all the way down into its holder it might create a waxy plug that will be hard to remove. For best results, replace candles before they burn down completely.

Pillar candles normally sit on pan-like holders or fit inside glass vases. If the wick of a pillar dripless candle is not absorbent enough, melted wax can pool too high, reducing the flame to a tiny light or even putting it out. A quality dripless candle will not have this problem. Pillar candles make great accent pieces and are often scented.

To burn a dripless candle properly, be sure the candle remains upright, straight and still while burning. A leaning candle will burn unevenly, and may result in dripping. Avoid placing candles where there are drafts, as this also causes uneven burning and could result in dripping.

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Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Jan 11, 2014

The best dripless candle is probably a battery operated candle. There is no wax, no mess and it lasts longer. My wife doesn't like this type of candle though, she says it's unromantic.

By ZipLine — On Jan 10, 2014

I buy dripless candle tapers for Hanukkah. I have a beautiful menorah (the seven branch candle stand we use for Hanukkah) and I don't want to ruin it with dripping wax. My old menorah was ruined because of dripping candles. It was very difficult to clean and I could never get all of the wax off.

I haven't had any problems since I switched to dripless candles. Rarely, there is a single drip when I light them, but I wipe that off right away, so it's not a big deal. These candles are also smokeless and long-lasting. They're perfect.

By burcinc — On Jan 10, 2014

Candles that drip wax are not only messy, but they also cause a lot of the wax to go to waste. I have some cheap candles at home and almost half of each candle is left at the bottom due to dripping. I can't reuse it either because the wick is gone. I've also burned myself before while handling a dripping candle.

I'm definitely spending more money and buying nice, dripless candles next time.

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