Important Safety Tips to Remember When Burning Scented Candles

Burning a scented candle is such an enjoyable and relaxing activity. Whether you’ve added it as part of your self-care routine (a warm bath sounds like a great idea right about now) or you’re simply enjoying its fragrances as you go about your other tasks (Zoom meetings are a lot more fun with them!), we can say it’s essentially an idle activity. You light it up and just bask in the aroma of candles scented with wonderful fragrances. As such, it’s quite easy to forget about it and lose track of time while your scented candle is burning.

And because candle fires can quickly become out of control it’s critical to take basic safety precautions and know the basic candle safety guidelines.

At Innerfyre, we take candle safety very seriously, and we believe that these helpful tips will help you stay safe while enjoying scented candles at home. To make the most of your experience, we also recommend these best practices when burning a scented candle. And, if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Here are our scented candle safety tips:

Important Scented Candle Safety Points to Consider

In case you don’t have time to read the entire article, we’ve summarised the key points below. We do strongly advise you to read through all of our candle safety information, once you have the chance. But in the meantime, here are our top tips for burning scented candles.

  • The first burn of any candle should be long enough for the entire top layer of wax to liquefy. This will ensure that the candle burns evenly on each light.
  • Trim your wick to 3mm before each lighting to allow for optimal burning.
  • Always keep protected the surface on which the candle is placed. 
  • Never leave a candle burning unattended. Keep it out of reach of drafts, pets, or small children.
  • Extinguish the flame carefully. Snuffing it is better than blowing on it.
  • Once the flame has been extinguished, check that the wick is upright and centred.
  • Keep in mind that the candle jar will be hot after burning, so allow it to cool completely before handling.
  • Avoid burning a candle for more than 3 hours at a time, and never burn a candle with less than 1cm of wax at the base.

Understanding How Your Scented Candle Works

man lighting a scented candle with a match
Photo by S Migaj on Unsplash

Through the simple process of combustion, candles produce both light and heat.

While the candle’s wick appears to be on fire, it is just supporting the flame. The wax is actually the one that is burning. Because the wick is absorbent, it draws molten wax up to the flame, where it ignites and vapourises.

This is also why the candle’s wick lasts so long — it simply serves as a fuel line. The majority of the light and heat are produced by burning wax vapour. Once the wax has been consumed, the candle cannot be burned anymore because there is no longer any fuel for the fire.

Therefore, candle safety entails remembering that a candle is an open flame. Problems then become unlikely as long as it’s treated with the respect it deserves.

Before Lighting Your Scented Candle

Trim the wick

Before lighting a new candle or relighting an old one, the wick should be trimmed to about 3-5mm. Wicks that are too long or too crooked can cause uneven burning, dripping, or flaring.

Light your scented candle in a well-ventilated area

Don’t use too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home with limited air circulation.

Place the candle on a heat-resistant, stable surface

We recommend using a candle holder designed specifically for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, stable, and large enough to catch any drips or hot melted wax. It’s also critical to place the holders on flat, sturdy surfaces to reduce the likelihood of them tipping over.

Always place candles, including those in containers, on a heat-resistant surface. Night lights and tea lights, in particular, should be handled with extra caution because they can become hot enough to melt the plastic.

Keep the scented candle away from anything that could catch fire

Check that nothing flammable is in the vicinity of your scented candle. Keep burning candles away from curtains, drapes, bedding, carpets, furniture, books, paper, flammable decorations, clothing, and hair, among other things.

Because there is a lot of heat above a burning candle, you shouldn’t put your candles under shelves either. Make sure that the distance between the candle flame and the surface above it should be at least 1m.

Keep the wax pool clear

Always keep your candle free of wick trimmings, matches, and debris, as these can catch fire.

Stay away from drafts, vents, and air currents

Keeping the candle away from drafts, vents, fans, or air currents will prevent rapid and uneven burning, as well as flare-ups and sooting. Keep in mind that strong drafts may also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame, causing them to catch fire.

While candles must be ventilated to avoid exhausting the oxygen in the room, they should also be kept away from drafts to ensure a controlled burn.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines

Because each candle is unique, make sure you thoroughly read and follow each manufacturer’s instructions for proper lighting, burning, and extinguishing. Never burn a candle for more than the time recommended by the manufacturer.

While Burning Your Scented Candle

Keep the candle within your sight at all times

We’ve already established that burning a candle can cause a fire, so even if you’ve followed all of the other safety tips in this article, you should still not leave a lit candle unattended. Because fire is unpredictable, you should always keep an eye on how your candle is behaving. If you’re going to leave the room, make sure to extinguish all the candles first. 

It’s a simple rule for anything that burns: never leave a fire unattended. This is especially true of candles, as some can easily tip over, increasing the likelihood of a fire. The presence of pets only heightens the danger. Clearly, when it comes to fire, seconds count — and unattended flames mean that no one will be there to act in the most crucial seconds. Simply put, it is not worth the risk.

Never light a candle on or near flammable materials

Keep burning candles away from furniture, curtains, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, and other similar items.

Fire thrives on oxygen, so using candles in a home where someone uses oxygen is asking for trouble. The extra oxygen speeds up combustion and turns almost any spark into a wildfire. While oxygen tanks are enclosed, they should still be kept far away from candle flames. It is simply not worth the risk of burning a candle anywhere near oxygen.

Multiple burning candles should be kept at least three inches apart

multiple scented candles in votive glass
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

When arranging your scented candles, keep them at least 10cm apart from one another. This will help prevent the candles from melting each other or creating their own drafts, which would result in uneven and inefficient burning.

Avoid touching or moving a burning candle

Never touch or move the candle once it is lit. You may be surprised at how hot the container can get, and besides, hot liquid wax is dangerous. Make sure to read our other article for tips in case candle wax has been spilt on surfaces.

Don’t let a candle burn all the way down

Don’t let your candle burn down to the bottom. If you’re using a container candle, it’s best to stop using it when there’s only 1cm of wax left. This ensures that the wick remains vertical and that the burn remains under control all throughout.

Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes excessively hot or flickers frequently

Allow the candle to cool before re-lighting it. We also have instructions further below to know when you could relight your scented candle.

Don’t use your scented candle as a nightlight

Before going to bed, make sure all your candles are properly extinguished.

Exercise caution when using candles during a power outage

Torches and other battery-powered lights provide a safer source of light during a power outage. Never use a candle to search for items in a closet or to fuel equipment such as a lantern or kerosene heater, especially during a power outage.

Keep candles away from children and pets

Lighted candles should not be placed in areas where they could be knocked over by children, pets, or anyone else. For candles scented with essential oils, make sure that the blends are safe for all members of the family.

What Should You Do If Your Candle Isn’t Burning Properly?

If your candle starts to smoke, flicker or the flame becomes too high, take the following steps:

  • Put out the candle.
  • Allow the candle to cool before trimming and repositioning the wick.
  • Before relighting, check for drafts.

Extinguishing Your Scented Candle

Use a candle snuffer

hand extinguishing a scented candle using snuffer
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

When extinguishing candles, it is always best to use a snuffer. Snuffing out the candle with this specially designed tool is the safest way to avoid accidentally knocking it over and splattering hot wax.

A candle snuffer works by depriving the flame of oxygen, ensuring that it is extinguished gently. It is the safest method of extinguishing a candle without risking spatter or burning one’s fingers on the wick. If you don’t have a snuffer, a metal spoon will do.

Never use water to put out your scented candle

The combination of cold water and hot wax can cause the wax to splatter everywhere, potentially resulting in burns. The cold water can also be hazardous to glass candle holders, as the sudden temperature drop can cause the glass to crack, and spill hot wax all over. 

Double-check that your candle is completely extinguished

Make sure that your scented candle is completely extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed. Check to see if the wick ember has stopped glowing.

Move the candle only after it has completely cooled.

Don’t touch or move the candle immediately after extinguishing it and allow proper time for it to cool down.

Don’t use a knife or a sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder

The glass might scratch, weaken, or break upon subsequent use.

Light Up the Fyre Safely

Scented candles are a lovely addition to any room, but remember that any open flame should be treated with caution. By following these safety tips, you avoid hazardous candle mistakes and experience the full benefits of scented candles, and you can then enjoy a worry-free scent therapy routine. For a relaxing experience with health benefits, make sure that you choose candles scented with therapeutic essential oils.

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