Scented candles can make a home cozy and welcoming. When used properly, candles are a safe way to add warmth and fragrance to a space. However, burning candles does introduce an open flame, wax, and heat into an environment. Taking appropriate precautions when using candles can help ensure safety for you and your home.
Always Place Candles on Stable, Level Surfaces
Never put a burning candle near anything flammable. Candles should be on surfaces that cannot catch fire like metal, glass, or ceramic. Don’t put candles directly on wood tables or furniture. Use candleholders made of heat-safe materials. Place candleholders on small plates to catch melting wax. Position candles away from table edges or anyplace they could easily be knocked over.
Keep Candles Away From Drafts and Vents
Drafts and vents can blow candle flames in unpredictable directions, increasing fire risks. Don’t put candles near open windows, doors, or air conditioning vents. Ceiling fans and portable household fans can also cause flames to flicker and leap in ways that are hazardous.
Trim Wicks to 1⁄4 Inch Before Lighting
Long or curling wicks can cause uneven, rapid burning and release more scent and smoke than desired. Always trim wicks to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to prevent excess carbon buildup. Long wicks create tall, reachy flames more likely to ignite other materials. Trim wicks as needed to maintain the proper 1⁄4 inch length.
Don’t Burn Candles Near One Another
When burning multiple candles, make sure they are spaced at least 4 inches apart. Candles placed too closely can melt one another, drip wax where it’s not desired, or make flames spread. This rule also applies to candlesticks, pillars, and votives. Give each candle adequate surrounding space to burn freely.
Keep Candles Away From Flammables Like Curtains
Hair, clothing, blankets or any flowing fabrics should stay 3 feet from candle flames. Don’t place lit candles under cabinets or shelves either. When using candlesticks or candelabras on dining tables, avoid dangling centerpieces over the candles. Always keep a safety zone around burning candles.
Don’t Leave Candles Unattended
Never leave a burning candle alone in an empty room. It only takes a moment for a pet to knock over a candle or a draft to push it too close to items that can ignite. Stay in the same room with candles when lit, and keep an eye on them. Blow them out if you leave the area.
Avoid Falling Asleep Near Candles
Dozing off while candles are still burning is extremely hazardous. Candles can tip over, wax can melt and ignite objects, or fires can begin while people are asleep. Make sure all candles are extinguished before going to bed. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles in bedrooms.
Keep Candles Up High, Out of Reach of Kids and Pets
Curious children and pets can easily knock over unattended candles. Always place lit candles up high, out of the reach of kids and animals. Never let children or pets remain alone in a room with burning candles. Supervise young children closely around any open flame.
Burn Candles in Stable Holders Made For Their Size
A top cause of candle fires is putting them in containers not intended to hold heat. Only use sturdy, non-flammable holders designed specifically for candles. Glass, metal and ceramic holders work well. Ensure the candle fits well in the holder – too loose and it can tip, too tight and the heat can crack glass.
Follow Recommended Burn Times
Candle manufacturers recommend burn times for each candle type. Burning a candle beyond this point can cause unsafe, uneven melting and clogged wicks. Jar candles typically have burn times of 60-80 hours, while pillars, tapers and votives often burn 15-20 hours. Extinguish candles after the recommend time.
With some care and common sense, scented candles can be used safely to delight senses and set a relaxing mood. Paying attention to simple precautions allows full enjoyment of candles while preventing fire hazards. Responsible candle usage provides all the benefits of scent and flame ambiance without unwanted risk. So light up your favorite candle and let yourself bask in the cozy glow – safely.