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Candle Safety Tips to Illuminate and Fill Your Room with Pleasant Scents Safely

Couple Sitting on Couch

Candles have been used for centuries to add a warm and inviting ambiance to our homes, creating a calming atmosphere and infusing the air with delightful scents. However, with their allure comes the need for caution when having an open flame in your home, as candles can pose potential fire hazards if not handled properly.

The National Fire Protection Association reported in a 5 year period:

Candles caused 2% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 4% of the direct property damage in home fires.

To enjoy the beauty of candlelight without compromising safety, here are some candle safety tips.

Never Leave Lite Candles Unattended

The cardinal rule of candle safety is to never leave a burning candle unattended. Whether you're stepping out of the room or going to bed, always extinguish all candles beforehand.

Keep Away from Flammable Materials

Make sure to place candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, such as curtains, paper, flammable decorations, or anything that can catch fire. This will help prevent accidental candle fires.

Place Candles on a Heat Resistant Surface

Always place candles on a stable, non-combustible, heat resistant surface. Candle tins, glass jars, and other containers heat up quickly and the container alone will not protect the surface it's placed on.

Trim the Wicks

Before lighting a candle, use a wick trimmer or scissors to trim the wick to approximately 1/4 inches to prevent excessive flickering, soot buildup, and potential fires. Do not leave the wick trimmings in your candle and dispose of them properly. Leaving trimmings in the wax can cause them to reignite resulting in uneven burning of the wax and potentially an uncontrollable flame.

Stop Burning Candles when Only 1/4 Inch of Wax Remains in the Container

It's understandable that you want to get every last drop of wax out of your container, but the increased fire risks far outweighs the reward.  As the wax level gets very low, the flame can come into direct contact with the glass or metal container. This can lead to overheating and potentially damaging the container along with the surrounding areas, greatly increasing the risk of fire. 

Avoid Drafty Areas

Drafts can cause candles to burn unevenly and increase the risk of accidents. Keep candles away from open windows, air vents, fans, and other air currents.

Extinguish Candles Properly

Gently blow out or use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. Avoid using water, as it can cause hot wax to splatter or in the case of glass containers, the hot glass will shatter. Also, avoid using the candle lid to extinguish a wick. Doing so traps the smoke inside the container which can cause the soot smell to bond to the soy resulting in negatively effecting the candle scent. More importantly, some candles come with a wooden lids which are flammable.

Keep Out of Reach of Children and Pets

Place candles in areas where children and pets cannot reach them. Curious little hands and paws can accidentally knock over candles, leading to dangerous situations.

Don't Ignore Candle Safety Labels

Read and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions and warning labels on the candle packaging. These provide essential information on proper usage and potential hazards.

Light Multiple Candles with Care

When lighting multiple candles, ensure there is enough space between them to prevent heat transfer or the risk of the flames merging.

Be Mindful of Burn Time

Avoid burning candles for more than four hours at a time. Let the candle cool down before relighting it or moving it to a new location. Candle tins and glass jars can get extremely hot, so you don't want to pick up a candle until it has completely cooled.

Scented Candles Should Not Be Used In Emergencies

As temping as it may be, you should not use scented candles during a power outage. Scented candles are not designed to produce much light and can not be burned for more than four hours. The safest solution is to use battery powered LED lights the next time a storm takes out your power. Flameless candles are also an option where you'll have the look of a candle with an LED flickering light all powered by batteries, but the downside is those generally will not light up an entire room.

Bonus Tip: Consider Flameless Alternatives

If you have concerns about traditional candles, consider wax melts with an electric heating element. Wax melts are typically offered in the same scents as wicked candles, but without the risks associated with open flames.

By following these candle safety tips, you can enjoy the soothing glow of candles without compromising the safety of your home and loved ones. Whether you use candles for relaxation, decoration, or celebrations, practicing safety guidelines ensures that candlelight remains a symbol of warmth and comfort, rather than a cause for concern. So, illuminate and fill your space with pleasant scents responsibly and enjoy the serenity of candlelight in a secure and risk-free environment.