Candle Fire Safety Guidelines
How to burn a candle safely
Before burning, always trim the wicks to 1/4 inch. You can use a wick trimmer, nail clippers, or scissors. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping, or flaring. They can also drift in the wax and scorch the glass, which can cause the glass to weaken and shatter.
Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches, and other debris at all times. The heat from the flame or hot wax can catch these bits of debris on fire, igniting the entire melt pool of wax.
Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. It should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax. If your candle is in a jar or other container, be sure to place it on a heat resistant surface such as marble, granite, or a trivet to avoid scorching furniture.
Check the surface of your candle before lighting. Candles are sensitive to temperatures and light, leaving them prone to sweating. If you see beads of 'sweat' on the surface of your candle, use a paper towel or cloth to dry the candle completely before lighting. This will help prevent accidental fires.
Burn candles in a well-ventilated room:
Avoid drafts, vents, or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping. It will also keep your candles healthy, increasing their burn time life, maintain good scent throws, and avoids accidental fires should the flames reach objects or weaken the glass.
Follow the candle maker's recommendations on burn time and proper use. In general, it is recommended that candles do not burn for longer than four hours and cools for at least two hours before relighting. At Coffee & Fumes, we recommend a 2-3 hour burn time with each lighting of the candle.
When lighting a candle, use long matches or a long reach lighter. Keep your hair and loose clothing away from the flame. Be sure to keep any debris from wicks or matches out of the wax.
Never leave a candle unattended. Even if you follow proper candle safety protocols, accidents can happen. Be sure to keep eyes on every time you light a candle.
Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc. Remember that flames produce heat and even if the flame doesn't reach objects, the heat from them can scorch or ignite objects just as easily.
Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over or grabbed by children, pets, or anyone else.
Never touch or move a candle while it is burning or while the wax is liquefied. The wax inside the candle can make the container hot and increases the chance of accidental fires or burns if one should attempt to move a candle while it is burning or a wax pool is present.
Don't burn a candle all the way down. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 1/4-1/2 inch of wax remains in the container or 2 inches if using a pillar candle. This ensures the container doesn't shatter from heat or instability. To use the leftover wax, use a spoon to scoop the remaining wax out and place in an electric wax warmer. Once the wax is removed from the container, you can wash and reuse or recycle.
Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don't melt one another or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.
Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool completely, trim the wicks, and check for unwanted drafts before relighting.
Never use a candle as a nightlight or while you may fall asleep.
Be vary careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure. Never use a candle during a power outage to look for things in a closet or when fueling equipment - such as a lantern or kerosene heater. If you choose to use candles as a source of light, be sure to adhere to the burn times of the candle (2-3 hours), rotating out the candles when the time is up to ensure no accidental fires occur.
When extinguishing a candle:
Use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. It's the safest way to prevent hot wax from splattering. It also decreases bacterial growth in the wax and helps cut back the amount of smoke output.
Never use water to extinguish a candle. Water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might break a glass container. The wax is also made of material similar to grease and when water connects with wax and a flame, it can trigger what is known as a wax fire (very similar to a grease fire).
Make sure the candle is completely out and the wick embers are no longer glowing before leaving the room. If there is even a slight glow to the wicks, there is a chance of them reigniting on their own. After snuffing the candle, you may replace the lid to fully extinguish the remaining glow.
Don't touch or move the candle until it has completely cooled. This ensures you do not accidentally burn yourself, others, or spill hot wax onto objects, floors, etc.
Never use a knife or sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken, or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use. If a glass container is cracked, chipped, or broken, do not use the candle. Contact the candle maker for recommendations on how best to proceed or resolve the issue.