Scented candles can make a great addition to any home. Their warm, inviting glow and lovely fragrances can help create a calm, peaceful atmosphere. However, candles do pose a fire hazard if not used properly. Follow these tips to enjoy scented candles safely in your home.
Choose Quality Candles
Not all candles are created equal when it comes to safety. Cheap, low-quality candles tend to tunnel and create hot spots that can lead to the jar cracking or the candle igniting objects nearby. Look for candles made from natural, high-quality waxes like soy, beeswax, or coconut wax. These burn cooler than paraffin wax. Also avoid candles with materials like paper or raffia embedded in them as these burn quicker and hotter.
Use Proper Candleholders
Always burn candles in proper holders made from non-flammable materials like glass, metal, or ceramic. The holder should be sturdy and wide enough to collect any melting wax. This prevents wax from spilling over and catching fire. Make sure the candle fits snugly in its holder so it’s not at risk of tipping over. Never burn a candle directly on a surface like wood or plastic.
Place Out of Reach of Children & Pets
Candles should be kept safely out of reach of children and pets to prevent knock overs and burns. Place candles up high, out of reach and supervision is always required. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Make sure candles are not placed near tails or paws that could accidentally knock them over.
Keep Away From Flammables
When burning candles, keep them away from anything flammable including curtains, rugs, furniture, books, paper, and more. Maintain a 12 inch safe distance between the candle and flammable items. Do not place candles under shelves or cabinets, close to windows, or in high traffic areas where they could get knocked over.
Always trim candle wicks to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to prevent dangerous, tall flames. Long wicks create smoke and release more scent which can trigger allergies or headaches. Trim wicks as needed each time you burn the candle to maintain the proper height. Use manufacturers recommend wick length when possible.
Allow Melted Wax to Cool
Before moving or extinguishing a candle, allow melted wax to cool and harden. Moving a burning candle or blowing one out can cause hot, liquid wax to spill out. Let the candle burn out completely on its own on a heat safe surface if possible.
Use a Candle Extinguisher
Candle extinguishers or snuffers are a safer option for putting out candles. Gently place the extinguisher over the flame to put it out and cover the wick. This prevents trailing smoke which could re-ignite. Avoid blowing out candles which can spread embers and smoke.
Never Leave Burning Candles Unattended
Never leave a burning candle alone for any period of time, no matter how small. Always stay in the same room and keep an eye on candles. Unattended candles are a leading cause of house fires. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles when you can’t monitor burning candles.
Avoid Burning Near Drafts
Burn candles away from drafts caused by vents, open windows and doors. Drafts can cause the flame to travel dangerously fast down the wick. This tunnels candles and causes the vessel to get too hot. Always protect the flame from any strong air currents.
Use a Candle Mat or Plate
Candle mats or plates provide an extra layer of protection from heat damage and wax spills. Consider placing a candle plate or mat underneath to prevent damage to surfaces.
Clean Up Wax Spills
Wipe up any melted wax spills promptly with a paper towel to prevent marks on furniture or surfaces. Wax can be difficult to remove if left to harden so clean up drips right away. Avoid using other fabrics which could catch fire if the wax is still warm.
Ventilate the Room
Burn candles in a well-ventilated room to prevent build up of smoke and allow candle aromas to properly disperse. Stagnant air can cause candles to emit more soot. Crack a window or turn on a fan to allow airflow and oxygen to move through the room.
Trust Your Nose
If a candle ever smells strange or you notice a lot of smoke, something is wrong. Extinguish the candle immediately and stop using it. This could signal a dangerous issue like an unstable flame. Don’t take risks with bad smelling candles.
Follow these candle safety tips and exercise caution when burning scented candles in your home. Pay attention while candles are lit, keep flammables at a distance, and properly extinguish to enjoy candles in the safest possible way. With the right precautions, you can reap all the benefits of scented candles without any fire hazards.