Fiberglass Wicks vs. Cotton Wicks

by Susan Tysonby

Fiberglass Wicks vs. Cotton Wicks for Oil Lamps, Candles & Tiki Torches

replacement wicks - fiberglass wicks or cotton wicks

Fiberglass Wicks vs. Cotton Wicks

Unlike the replacement cotton wicks sold by many companies, fiberglass wicks will last indefinitely with normal use, saving you money and time. Fiberglass wicks offer better fuel flow to the flame than a conventional braided cotton product when using tiki torches. Fiberglass wicks “wick” fuels efficiently and economically for the best flame shape, color and smoke-free operation of your oil lamp or tiki torch. However, if you are using a small wick as you would in an oil candle, cotton wicks perform admirably. Here is a source for cotton replacement wicks.

Replacement wicks require only about 1/4″ to 1/2″ exposure from the torch or lamp. For best results, the fiberglass wick should be exposed just enough to provide a smooth and steady flame shape. If your wick is overexposed, the flame will be unsteady, ragged, smoke excessively and waste fuel. It’s best to start with a 1/4″ inch exposed wick, and work your way up from there until you achieve your desired flame.

Unlike cotton wicks, fiberglass wicks are not consumed during use, however, they may need to be replaced if contaminated with water or poor-quality fuel. You will find wick replacement necessary when switching between paraffin oil, torch fuel or kerosene, and remember to let a new wick absorb the oil in the lamp before you light it.

1/2” Diameter Round Fiberglass Wicks will will fit most tiki torches.

1/4” Diameter Round Fiberglass Wick this size candle wick also fits many tabletop torches and oil lamps.

1/8” Diameter Round Fiberglass Wick are perfect for oil or kerosene oil lamps.

7/8” wide Flat Fiberglass Wicks fit a variety of antique and modern hurricane lamps, oil lamps and lanterns.

1” wide Flat Fiberglass Wick – These replacement wicks will fit your antique lantern and oil lamps, as well as many contemporary lamps with #2 burners.

Here’s a new eco-friendly, smoke-free lamp oil.


Susan Tyson

VP Marketing at Firefly Fuel, Inc.
VP of Marketing at Firefly Fuel, Inc - An innovative, eco-friendly company supplying refillable oil candles and green fuel to homeowners, restaurants and resorts.
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  • cliff

    what is the defference between regular torch wicks & tiki torch wicks

    • Firefly

      Hi Cliff,

      A “Torch wick” is no different than a “tiki torch wick”. Tiki torches generally use a 1/2-inch diameter wick and the better torches use fiberglass rather than cotton wicks. I hope this answers your question.

      Phil Tyson

  • Greg Maxey

    We just bought Tiki torches that mount on our deck. Not sure if it is cotton or fiberglass. However, when they burn we notice small pieces of wick burning off with the smoke and gathering on windows and our patio umbrella. Is that an indication of cotton wicks? Would fiberglass wicks solve that problem. Wick is about 1/4 inch out of container.

    • Phil

      Hi Greg,

      Based on your description, it sounds like you are using a cotton wick. Cotton wicks are actually consumed along with the fuel when the torch is lit. We only use cotton wicks in our small oil candles and oil lamps.

      Cotton wicks are generally used in the less expensive torches. These economical torches are considered “throwaways” as most folks only use them once or twice.

      If you feel the torch you own is of a quality that you intend to keep and use for some time, I would suggest you use the cotton wick until it no longer performs and replace it with a same-size (diameter) fiberglass wick. When changing wicks, it is the time to make a commitment about the fuel you will be using in your torch. Wicks are very sensitive to changes in fuel, i.e., if you are using our Tiki fuel and want to switch to Firefly Safe and Green fuel to stop the smoking and soot from the torch, you would need to change wicks.

      I receive comments from customers quite often that upon switching fuel types that the torch did not work well. I do want to be clear about changing fuel types. If you are using a common tiki torch fuel and plan to use Firefly Tiki Torch fuel, I would switch wicks as Firefly is odorless and produces less smoke and soot. You can use any quality Paraffin fuel as they are compatible in most cases. There are a few “paraffin” fuels being sold that have additives such as colorants, fillers and perfumes that contaminate the fuel and ultimately your wick. So, stick with the clear pure Paraffin fuels.

      I am going to brag a little and mention our Safe & Green fuel as this fuel out performs all of the other fuels on the market and is 100% sustainable, does not smoke, can be used indoors or out has no odor while burning. Yes, it costs a little more but it will burn longer, provide a brighter flame and will help your wick last longer. Your torch will stay clean as there is not soot. I find it difficult to clean my torch after using any “tiki torch” fuel.

      One last comment, Safe and Green is compatible with our exclusive GUARDIAN additive that will do a lot more for keeping the mosquitoes, midges, gnats and noseeums away than Citronella or Eucalyptus oil.

      You can purchase fiberglass wicks online. Here are two sources for fiberglass wicks – and

      I wish you many fun times with your Tiki torches.


  • Becki Story

    I have small plastic floating lamps for vases for a wedding. They are 3 inches wide. When I burned the wick that was supplied with them they only burned for 1 and a half hours. I need much longer burning to last the wedding reception…what would you suggest I use. Thanks!!

    • Phil

      Hi Becky,

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

      Your description leaves me with some questions.
      First you mention a 3″ wide container. How much fuel does it hold?
      Second what size wick does it have? How high is the wick above the collar?
      Third is is this an indoor event?
      Fourth what fuel are you using?

      I will make a few assumptions. First, the wick is cotton and small say 1/8″- 1/4″.

      A quality candle fuel under those conditions should last 4-6 hours per ounce at least.
      A 3″ container should hold 4-6 ounces of fuel.
      The wick should not extend above the collar more than 1/8″. Any more and you are wasting fuel. If the flame is not adequate at that height the fuel and wick is likely of poor quality and will not be a good performing light.

      If you will provide answers to my questions I will be able to provide a more specific solution.
      Send a picture if you can of the candle.

      Phil Tyson

  • James

    So where would one get fiberglass wicks for the older #2 Burners?

  • Susan Tyson

    Hi James,

    Could you provide a little more information… such as…

    What is the wick used in? Size, shape and what is it made of?

    Thank you!


  • Yosef Farnoosh

    Hi, do fiberglass wicks burn well with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
    Will the wick be consumed?

  • Susan Tyson

    Hello Yosef,

    In a word… No. Fiberglass wicks do not work well with olive oil. Olive oil does not wick well. There are olive oil lamps available if you want to use olive oil as a fuel source. I believe the wicks are cotton. Here’s a link to Lehmen’s site. They sell the lamps as well as kits.

  • Steve Hazlewood

    i made tiki torches using wine bottles and have 1/2″ fiberglass wicks. I’m using Tiki brand bitefighter citronella & cedar fuel.The flame is very small, should I change fuels? Any other recommendations. I want biggest flame possible.

  • Susan Tyson

    Hi Steve,

    My guess, based on our customers’ experience, is you have a wicking problem. Your holder is probably too tight. I would search the Internet as too how you can modify it to allow greater fuel flow. If you don’t want to mess with it, we sell a 12″, 3/8″ wick and aluminum wick holder for use as wine bottle lamps with a globe or without the globe as a tiki torch…..

  • Molly Tyson

    I’m trying to find out if I can use a fiber-glass wick with home-made olive oil lamps? Citronella isn’t safe to use indoors, but my mother makes lamps out of wine bottles and she has so many to make, but she wants to use olive oil, because it’s a safer alternative. Just trying to find out if fiber-glass wicks and olive oil lamps go together.

  • Susan Tyson

    Sorry, Molly. I don’t know. Perhaps the company that sells olive oil lamps would be able to answer your question.

    I would suggest using Firefly Paraffin Lamp Oil for wine bottle oil lamps. It’s the purist paraffin lamp oil available based on industry standards. It is safe to use indoors, smokeless, odorless and is NOT flammable. It is combustible. Here’s a video showing what happens when an oil candle is tipped over.

    Additionally, we also sell wine bottle oil lamp kits, globes and wicks.

    I hope this helps.

    Happy Holidays!


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