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Candle Safety Tips
Warning labels for candles don’t often tell “why” specific actions are needed to stay safe. We aim to tell you the why so you have a more thorough knowledge of candle burning for safe candle enjoyment.
Never snuff a candle by blowing directly at the flame.
To be perfectly safe, use a metal candle snuffer to extinguish the flame. When blowing out a candle, hold your finger in front of the flame and blow at it. The air will flow around the finger and extinguish the candle from both sides. This will prevent hot wax from splattering.
Always keep wicks trimmed to 1/4” (1/8” for jar candles).
This keeps the flame low which helps prevent sooting and makes the candle burn longer. The flame melts the wax, the liquid wax is what the flame uses (as fuel) to keep itself burning. The bigger the flame, the more fuel it needs. Your candles will burn up to 25% longer by trimming the wick every couple of hours using a high quality wick trimmer.
Center the wick during the burn and re-center just after putting out the candle.
A lit wick that gets too close to the side of the container will crack the container, liquid wax will leak out. After the candle is put out, moving the wick to center will insure the candle burns evenly the next time its light. Once the wax hardens it’s too late!
Keep burning candles away from children and pets.
Children need to know a candle is hot and is not a toy. Children and pets, both curious, may be intrigued by the flickering light. Keep candles far out of reach. Pets can knock the candle over or brush by the flame... singe the tail and catch fire to themselves or the curtains or, well, you get the idea.
Keep burning candles away from drafts or ceiling fans.
The flame needs stability. Flames that flicker can cause sooting. Breezes or drafts can cause the flame to burn erratically and cause the flame to not be as hot as it needs to be to burn off all the carbon and thus will produce soot. A nice even steady flame, ideally about 1/2” in height is perfect.
Never leave the house with a candle still burning.
Would you leave with the oven on, or the iron on, or the coffee pot on, or would you leave a campfire burning and walk out of the woods? If the candle was burning and you left the house, who would trim the wick?
Do not burn candles (even in holders) directly on furniture.
The candle holder or candle jar will get hot. The heat could mark up your furniture. Try putting it on a coaster, or pad or doily.
Keep burning candles far away from anything flammable.
If the window was open (which it shouldn’t be if the candle is nearby) the breeze could blow your curtain right into the flame! Also, think about what is above the candle, like a shelf or cupboard, heat rises.
If the candle is smoking or sooting, trim the wick.
No one wants soot on their walls or ceiling. Candles left go for extended periods always need the wick trimmed. The smoking or sooting is most likely caused from the flame being too large, trim that wick, often using a high quality wick trimmer.
Burn candles on sturdy, stable, flat, and level surfaces.
An antique end table in the middle of a high traffic area of the house is not a good place for a flame. It could get bumped into. Candles will burn down evenly if used on level surfaces.
Let the wax cool and harden before touching or moving the candle. Liquid wax is very hot and messy. The container will be hot. Don’t make the mistake of moving it and then your hand gets hot and bam! the candle goes down. Or candle wax splashes around in the container, very unsightly.
If the flame seems too weak, extinguish the candle and pour a little of the liquid wax out (never down the drain).
A candle with a weak flame will tunnel. The candle will burn down but not out. It needs to burn out to use up all of the wax. If you have a tart burner, pour the wax inside there, let nothing go to waste.
Don’t be a stacker!
If you burn votives, always remove the metal clip that’s left at the bottom when the candle is finished. Don’t stack another votive on top of the wick clip. This will cause the votive candle to burn unevenly and the flame will get to close to the sides and crack the holder.
Don't use imported candles with lead wicks.
The majority of wicks manufactured today in the U.S. are made of 100% cotton – with no metal core, such as our candles. Those few wicks with metal are typically zinc-core wicks. All of these wicks are safe. Companies belonging to the National Candle Association make about 95 percent of the candles manufactured in the United States today. It is possible that a small percentage of imported candles on the market today contain lead-core wicks. However, the National Candle Association and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have taken strong action to remove candles with lead-core wicks from store shelves. How to tell whether a candle has a lead-core wick? Rub a piece of paper on the tip of an unused metal wick. A lead-core wick will leave a gray pencil-like mark, while zinc or tin will not.