What is the best way to light a candle when the wick is difficult to reach? My candle is similar to the one pictured below (large, glass, with a somewhat enclosed top), and I usually use either standard short matches or a bic lighter.

candle with difficult-to-reach wick

As the candle burns, it becomes more difficult to light, and I usually just throw it away at that point. What could I use to light the candle safely?

  • What are your constraints? What is the shape of the candle container? What kind of lighter are you using? Where are you? (Location informs what materials might be on hand.)
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 23:10
  • Sorry if I was unclear - for location I meant a house, an office, a restaurant, etc
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 23:16
  • @abbyhairboat My mistake; this is for a house.
    – JSW189
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 23:17
  • I know it's overkill but I can't resist suggesting a flame thrower. Just do it outdoors or after you die in the fire your fingers will start to burn. : ) Commented May 1, 2016 at 11:02

10 Answers 10


Pasta burns alright, so you can use some non-cooked spaghetti noodles to reach those hard to reach candles.

candle lit with long thin fettucini noodle

  1. Tear off a strip of paper:
    a strip of paper
  2. Twist it tightly:
    a twisted strip of paper
  3. Light it:
    a lit strip of twisted paper
  4. Light the candle:
    lit paper inserted into deep candle
  5. Scream frantically as the flame reaches your fingers lick the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and use them to pinch out the flame:
    pinching out the flame of a lit strip of twisted paper

The trick here is twisting the paper: the tightness of the twist determines the speed at which it burns. If it's burning too fast for you to light the wick, twist it more tightly.


You can use

  1. a bigger lighter
  2. some matches.
  3. some long matches.
  • Not my idea of a hack—which involves improvisation. Why suggest just a tool (obviously designed for the job)? A perfectly viable, and ridiculous extreme, would be somehow getting someone else to light the candle for you. Jus' sayin.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 23:39
  • @Stan: so you are the kind of man who is willing to make sacrifice. Meaning, sacrifice someone else, burn their fingers :) (obvious reference to King Julian in Madagascar)
    – virolino
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 11:08

Try turning your candle upside down, so the flame from the lighter goes straight up to the wick.

  • 2
    This seems like a comment more than an answer... can you expand a bit and give advice rather than commentary
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 14:30
  • 1
    +1 Looks like a good solution for the jar in the OP's photo. Just be careful about drippings from any wax melting before the wick catches.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 1:41
  • 2
    @Plume. I disagree, this seems like a complete answer more than a comment.
    – hlovdal
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:03

Using duck tape, tape a match to a chopstick.

Light the match, and then light whatever you need to light.

  • 1
    Why not just light the chopstick? It should burn slower than the match, anyway, and obviates the need for duct tape.
    – Shokhet
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 23:22
  • 4
    It's not a life hack without duck tape!
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 23:25
  • Because that way you aren't wasting the chopstick.
    – Carl
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 3:04

Using a standard disposable lighter like the one pictured in your question. Use your index finger to strike it, you can hold the lighter with your thumb and middle finger at the base, while holding the gas on with your index finger. This gives you about 2 more inches of reach with decreased risk of personal burns, no added expense for a special lighter and does not include the risk of burning your home down from using a paper as flame transfer device.

  • 1
    If you had the right size rubber band I bet you could hold down the gas button with that, and then you could just hold the lighter by the end and be done with it. You'd get several inches that way.
    – hairboat
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 1:31
  • @hairboat That might increase the danger level past paper-as-flame-transfer, though. There's no automatic shutoff if the lighter is accidentally dropped. (Unless you're also clinching the other end of the rubber band, I suppose.)
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 1:43

Using a grill lighter (long neck) or fireplace matches will give you the required distance.


I just use the bottom of a lollipop stick. You have to do it quickly and dip it in water though, because it's pretty flammable


Use a long thin candle (often called a "taper"). These are made in lengths up to a foot (30 cm), and can reach far down inside the glass of a poured candle like the one in the photo.


A firework punk can be used for this, as it is a long thin strip that could reach into a candle holder with ease.

Firework Punk

  • 2
    Punks burn like incense -- with a coal, rather than a flame (after the first few seconds). This won't get hot enough to vaporize and ignite wax from the candle wick.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 12:00

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