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Candle Burning Safety - How to Burn Candles in Your Home Safely

Make Candles Safely and Burn Candles Safely

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Girls Lighting Candles

Even children can learn to burn candles safely!

George Marks / Getty Images
One of the worst things you can do with your candles, after you've spent the time and creativity making them, is not to burn them. Candles were meant to be burned. But even worse than not burning them at all, is not burning them safely. Here are a few tips and guidelines for burning your candles safely.

The Cardinal Candle Burning Rules
A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that the vast majority of candle fires could be avoided if consumers followed these basic safety rules:

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Just don't.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Always burn candles on a heat/fire resistant surface.
  • Always keep candles well away from flammable materials like curtains, lampshades, decorative items, plants etc.
Additional Important Candle Burning Guidelines
Follow these additional guidelines to make sure that your candles not only burn safely, but also burn well.
  • Even if your candle is set on a heat/fire resistant plate or candle holder, be sure that the candle holder itself is placed on a safe stable surface.
  • Keep your wicks trimmed. This is essential for the candle to burn cleanly, safely and without smoking. Trim your wick to about 1/4" every time you burn them.
  • Keep candles out of drafty locations.
  • Keep wick trimmings and other debris out of the pool of melted wax.
  • Never move a lighted candle.
  • Don't burn a candle longer than 1 hour for each inch of its diameter. That is, don't burn a 2" votive more than 2 hours...or a 4" pillar for more than 4 hours.
  • Don't burn candles all the way down. Leave an inch or two at the bottom of pillars, and at least a half inch with votives and container candles.
  • Don't burn a defective candle. If it's not burning properly - if it's sputtering or smoking or the flame is burning too high - don't burn it. Just make or get out another one that will burn properly.
  • Extinguish the candle properly. Using a candle snuffer is by far the best way to put out a candle. But in the absence of a snuffer, use the forefinger candle blowing technique.

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