The list below not only covers the improper ways consumers may use candles, but also provides some safety precautions, advice and useful cleaning tips.
The list was compiled from helpful information available on products, years of browsing the internet, and some from personal experience. In no way are we claiming this information to be ours. Its intended to be useful for your safety and for the safety of others. We trust it will be viewed and received in that manner. We value everyone's contribution to making candle safety a priority.
A burning candle is an open source of fire. It can be beautiful and calming, but also extremely dangerous.Any flammable item can be lit by it. It can cause great damage to property and endanger life if special precautions aren’t taken.
For your safety and the safety of others it is therefore advisable to read and understand what the possible risks are:
When buying candles, read, fully understand and follow the instructions on the lables, stickers or leaflets. It’s for your own safety, the safety of others and in everyone’s best interest.
Before lighting a candle, remove all informative wraps/lables/stickers, and discard it. Burning a candle with all its lables is fuel for a bigger fire.
Keep a burning candle within sight at all times. Never leave it unattended, not even for a few seconds.
Never leave children or pets unattended in a room with a lit candle in it.
Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children. Preferably locked away in a cupboard or on a high shelf. Children are naturally curious and are drawn to flickering flames. Did you know that molten wax may reach temperatures higher than boiling water and poses a great risk of burning? They may accidentally drop a burning candle on a carpet or flammable piece of furniture, resulting in a fire. Playful pets may in passing by, with one wag of a tail, either burn their tails, or knock the candle off a coffee table or low surface.
Completely extinguish the burning flame before leaving a room or going to bed. Did you know that a smoking wick may flare up, relight the candle and continue burning?
Keep candles away from flammable items, i.e. books and other paper items, wood, plastics, fabrics. Even outdoors, candles pose a fire risk when in contact with dried leaves, twigs and grass. Did you know that decorations, flowers arrangements and wreaths in close proximity to candles are the single biggest cause of home fires in the world.
Drafts can blow lightweight flammable items, i.e sheets of papers, dried leaves etc. into the burning flame. Curtains may be drawn closer to a flame in the same way, resulting in fire. Refrain from placing candles in windowsills or entry ways where unexpected drafts may occur.
The pool of molten wax around a burning flame should be free from any foreign objects, i.e. pieces of snipped wicks, half burnt matches, even insects like moths and bugs. These objects can cause the candle flame to flare up.
It’s not recommended to move a burning candle with a pool of molten wax around its flame. The sides are normally soft, and handling it may result in collapse, or the bottom may collapse too. This may cause injury, or a big mess. Leave it to cool down to room temperature before handling.
Rather blow out a candle that smokes, flickers or has an unusually large flame. A candle flame should at all times be stable once lit. Let the wax cool down, trim the wick to 6mm and relight. If the problem persists, discontinue use.
Avoid burning candles in a bedroom where you are likely to fall asleep.
Never burn too many candles in a single room without enough ventilation. The candle flames burn up oxygen and releases carbon dioxide into the air.
Burning candles in restricted spaces, i.e. bookshelves are not recommended. The heat above the flame builds up over time, heating the surface above it. The rule of thumb is 1m clearance from the flame to the surface above it. Glass shelving may crack or shatter.
Place candles on uncluttered surfaces, with the closest item 50cm away from the burning flame.
Take care when reaching over candles. A piece of clothing, or your hair can catch alight.
When lighting a group of candles, light the furthest ones first, to avoid burning your hands, arms or pieces of clothing.
Never throw used candles in a dustbin directly after its burnt out. Rather leave it for later. It might just smolder and set the bin alight.
Most fires start when things that can burn come into contact with an open flame.
For the best results, burn candles for the specified time on labels and packaging. It’s normally been tried and tested.
The increased levels of oxygen with drafts causes rapid uneven burning, swaying the flame in all directions, burning the sides, causing it to drip and it to discharge soot/black smoke. When this happens, its recommended to blow out the candle, wait for the molten wax to cool, then move to a more suited position with less of, or no draft.
Burn a group of candles at least 10cm from one another. When in close proximity, the emanating heat from one candle causes the other candles to soften and melt.
Scented Candles turns to liquid in order to release its scent. It is recommended to place these types of candles in containers that are heat resistant and deep enough for the molten wax it may produce.
A candle will burn longer with a shorter wick. Try and keep a candle’s wick trimmed to at least 6mm.
Avoid trimming the wick of a new candle though. It is recommended to allow the candle to burn and melt wax from side to side first, before trimming it.
The best way to light a candle that has burnt way down is to either use a long nosed lighter, or long matches. A spaghetti stick will do the trick too. You may even light a match, held between your index finger and middle finger to extend your reach into the wax cavity. Hold the candle at a slight angle, leaving enough room for your fingers and match to enter, but also more oxygen to be available for fueling the flame.
USEFUL CLEANING TIPS
Spilled wax on a glass/metal/smooth surface should be scraped off with a plastic egglifter/spatula first. Refrain from using sharp metal items to scrape wax off surfaces. They usually scratch and spoil surfaces if used. The remainder of the wax can be removed with a soft cloth and a bit of paraffin.
Wax is difficult to get out fabrics but can successfully be removed if you know how.
Here are 3 potential ways of cleaning the mess.
Pop the piece of fabric into a freezer immediately, leaving it until the wax is frozen. It should peel off the surface.
Place the fabric or piece of clothing on a flat surface, then gently scrape the majority of wax off with a flat (not sharp) knife or object. Once done, take a soft clean cloth and dab with paraffin. With a circular movement rub/dissolve the remainder of wax. Add a bit of dishwashing liquid and some hot water to the area, rub it into the fabric until a thick lather is reached. Leave it for a few minutes and rinse or pop into the washing machine.
Wax can also be ironed out of fabrics by placing the affected area between two sheets per side of super absorbent paper towels or brown paper.
Remember, when in doubt, rather leave the cleaning to the professionals