While candles are a relaxing and gorgeous addition to any home, as open flames, they have the potential to become as dangerous as any other fire source. Although candles are one of the leading causes of accidental fires in one’s home, the CPSC explains that 85% of these fires are preventable through following three easy steps:
- Do not leave any candle unattended (especially for extended periods of time).
- Keep candles away from anything flammable (such as curtains or plants).
- Make sure that candles are kept away from (and out of reach of) children and pets.
In addition to these basic tips, there are a many things that you should consider before lighting a candle, while a candle is burning, and when extinguishing a candle’s flame. In addition to those listed above, I’ve included a few suggestions, what I like to call candle burning 101.
Before Lighting a Candle
- Invest in candleholders or decorative plates to add a lovely ornament to your candle while protecting yourself and your belongings from unwanted drips of hot wax.
- Trim the wick about 1/4 of an inch to ensure even burning and prevent flares.
- Make sure that your room is well ventilated so that you don’t have to worry about too much smoke, which can be hazardous to one’s health.
- To prevent damage and protect from flames in unwanted places, make sure to place your candleholders or plates on heat-resistant surfaces.
- Keep your wax drippings clean—make sure that you don’t leave any matches, trimmed wicks, or other material in the plate or holder as this can lead to an unintentionally large fire.
- Don’t light your candle in a windy or breezy space as flames can easily be carried across rooms.
While a Candle is Burning
- If you need to move or touch a candle, make sure to extinguish it first. While this may seem like a pain, remember that flames can travel immense distances with the slightest of movement or breeze. So, if you need to search through the house in a power outage, using a flashlight is your safest bet.
- Going back to our three simple tips, remember to never use a candle as a nightlight or in any situation when you are at risk of falling asleep.
- Make sure that candles are at least three inches away from one another to avoid fusion and flaring.
- While you may initially think that candles should be burned to stubs, candles should actually be retired when there is only 2 inches of wax remaining in order to avoid flares and other safety concerns.
When Extinguishing a Candle
- While blowing out a candle is still perfectly fine with small candles such as birthday cake candles or tea lights, you’ll want to use a candle snuffer for larger candles to prevent any spray of hot wax.
- Do not use water to extinguish a flame, as moisture can actually cause many candle bases to crack or break altogether.
- Before leaving an extinguished candle unattended, make sure that it is actually completely out.
- Wait until the candle and holder or plate is completely cool before moving them in order to avoid burns and wax spills.
When buying a new candle, make sure to also check out the suggestions provided by the manufacturer, as these guidelines can include additional and important tips for candle safety. Now that you know some basic candle safety, consider adding some of my favorite candles to your home to compliment each room!