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By: - at May 14, 2013

Proper Candle Care and Safety Tips

beautiful candlesBurning candles fills your home with the aroma of your favorite scents, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. If you’re an avid candle user, you know that the best candles are often expensive to purchase but they burn longer and with a truer scent than cheaper versions. However, I have discovered that many people who love candles often care for and use their candles improperly, shortening the lifespan of the candles and even creating potentially dangerous situations. By following a few simple rules, you can extend the life of your candles and avoid common mistakes which may lead to injury or fire in your home.

Storing Your Candles

Many people buy candles for special events such as holidays or special dinners that are only used a few times a year. For candles that are not often used, proper storage is essential to prevent damage and keep your candles looking their best.

  • Always store your candles in dark, cool, dry place such as a cabinet, closet or box. Exposing your candles to bright sunlight or artificial lighting will fade the color of your candles over time. Taper candles and boxed candles (such as tea lights) should be stored flat to prevent warping.
  • Do not pile too many candles on top of each other. Excess weight can damage your candles and even affect their scent. To avoid scent transfer, keep scented candles in their original packaging. This will help to prevent the scent from fading and mixing with your other candles. Candles that are no longer in their original packaging should be wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • To prevent candles from chipping while stored, place tissue paper or bubble wrap in between your candles.
  • Do not store your candles in the freezer! Although this popular wive’s tale persists, storing your candles in the freezer will cause the wax to crack and not all of the cracks may be visible. This is especially true of taper candles, which are thinner, and lighting a candle with a crack is a potential fire hazard.
  • Remove dust and dirt from the surface of your candles with a dry or slightly water dampened piece of cloth.

Candle Safety Tips

Candle TipsUsing your candles properly is of the utmost importance. Remember, this is an open flame burning in your home. You must take care to place your candles in safe places and practice proper burning techniques. At best, an improperly placed candle will damage carpeting and furniture with hot wax. In the worst case scenario, a candle can cause a fire in your home. According to the National Candle Association, an excess of 15,000 candle fires are reported each year. Many of these fires were a result of improper burning procedures and candle misuse. Follow these candle safety tips to prevent your home from becoming another candle fire statistic.

  • Using a glass container that is not qualified for candle burning is never recommended. Glass that is not rated for burning candles can crack and even shatter resulting in injuries and fire. Never use everyday glassware for your candles.
  • Do not use sharp objects such as knives to remove wax from your candle’s jar or candle holder. Scratching the surface of the glass can weaken its integrity and cause it to break when the candle is lit.
  • Always keep an eye on any candles that are burning in your home. Never leave candles lit when you leave, even if you only plan to be gone for a few minutes. Extinguish all candles before going to bed at night.
  • To reduce the risk of fire and injury, place all candles out of the reach of pets and children. Never place candles in precarious places such as small ledges, window sills, or the edges of tables and other furniture. Doing so places your candle at greater risk of being knocked over. Always place candles on solid, stable surfaces.
  • Never place candles near flammable items such as curtains, on carpeting, furniture, books, near chemicals or bedding.
  • Trim candle wicks to ¼ inch before each use. Untrimmed candles wicks can cause uneven burning and wax dripping. This can damage surfaces and increase the risk of fire.
  • Keep the wax pool of your candle free of debris and remove any wick trimmings or matches before lighting.
  • Always use candles in well ventilated areas. Burning a candle in a small space can affect the exchange of oxygen and result in breathing problems.
  • Never place a candle in front of a draft, fan or direct air current such as a window.
  • Hot candle waxRead and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your candle. Do not burn the candle for longer than recommended and never burn the candle all the way down. Although you may be tempted to get the last bit of scent from your candle, exceeding the safe burning limit can result in injury and fire. Candles should not continue to be used when they are with ½ inch of the bottom of the jar. Candles in votives and holders should not be used when only 2 inches of wax remains.
  • Any candles that exhibit a higher than normal flame, begin smoking or flickering consistently should immediately be put out. This is a sign that your candle is not burning properly and the flame is uncontrolled. Extinguish the flame and allow the candle to cool completely. Check the wick length and ensure no drafts are present in the candle’s location.
  • Never move a lit candle or an extinguished candle whose wax has not solidified.
  • Groups of candles should be at least 3 inches away from each other to prevent excess melting and the creation of their own draft. Placing candles 3 inches apart allows air to flow freely between them ensuring proper burning and reducing the risk of fire.
  • Never blow on your candles or use water to extinguish the flame. This is a dangerous practice which can cause wax to spatter and burn you or others. Using water may cause the candle’s glass container to shatter. Use a candle snuffer to safely extinguish your candles.
  • Never place jarred candles on candle warmers. Candles warmers are not meant for glass containers and the heat can cause the jars to crack and even explode.

Final Words
Candles can be a delightfully fragrant way to add warmth and ambiance to your home. However, you must make sure to follow proper candle safety techniques to prevent injury and fire from occurring in your home.





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