9 Tips to Burn a Candle Safely and Last Longer

9 Tips to Burn a Candle Safely and Last Longer

There's something alluring about burning a candle.  The flicker of the flame can be mesmerizing and relaxing.  The memories triggered with a particular scent lifts ones mood.  Can create a particular mood, like a romantic setting.  Candles can even be life saving in times of power outages and natural disasters proving both light and heat.  However having a burning candle with an open flame can be very dangerous and no matter the circumstance, ignorance is NOT bliss.  In a split second house fires can start causing damage, severe burns can happen, and even loss of ones home.  There are ways to enjoy a burning candle safely without the threat of a fire or injury with these 9 easy tips.

andle caution label

1.  Always read and follow the caution labels on the bottom of your candle.  Every candle is required by law to have a sticker - usually found on the bottom of a candle stating all the safety measures of properly burning a candle.  Do not assume all instructions are the same for all candles, all it takes is one minute to read the caution sticker to prevent unwanted fires.

2.   Always burn candles within sight.   Never assume that even with the most cautious of actions, candles in another room - unsupervised, will be ok.  Something as simple as an imperfection in a candle to forgetting a candle is left burning in another room is a recipe for disaster.  The best way to solve this is extinguish the flame when leaving a room and relight it when you come back. 

3.  Do not burn a candle where children and pets are around.  It is easy for children to be calm one minute and the next minute show off their gymnastic or karate skills which can lead to objects falling or drafts that can catch nearby flammable items on fire.  Don't forget children are often curious about fire too which can lead to playing with lit candles too.  With pets, one wag of a tail or an instant game of chase breaks out are all recipes for disaster that can not only cause a fire, but harm your pet too.  To prevent any of this from happening is to not burn candles around children and if you do, make sure an adult is present.

4.  Limit a candle's burn for no more than 4 hours at a time.  The reason for this is when wicks become too long this can lead to a large flame and the larger the flame the more likely of a fire.  Also, candles left lit longer than 4 hours are more likely to cause a glass jar and/or the wax to heat up too hot causing a flashpoint or explode to due the constant contact to a hot flame.  Another reason is soot can build up and clog the wick also resulting in explosive candle that shatters glass.  The best solution is extinguish the candle after 3 hours, let it cool for a little bit, then relight it again.  

5.  Do not let your candle burn with less than 1/4 of an inch of wax.  Wax is a fuel that allows a candle flame to burn.  When the fuel is gone, in most cases, a flare up or explosion type reaction can occur.  While there are some occasions a flame can self extinguish itself when there is little to no wax left, this is not common and not worth risking.

Keep wicks at 1/4 of an inch tall

6.  Do not move a lit candle.  One of the most common causes for injury and fires - according to local fire departments, is when people pick up a lit candle.  People often underestimate how hot a candle jar is, where the first reaction is to let go of the candle.   Before you now it, it drops and shatters, hot wax is spilled on ones skin, or worse the lit candle is dropped or thrown and catches the house on fire.  The best thing one can do is extinguish the candle and let it cool down until it is safe to move.

7.  Burn candles only on a stable heat resistant surface. This means any surface that could catch on fire, is not heat resistant.  Also make sure surfaces are flat and stable and do not wobble.  All it takes is a person to walk near a burning candle on an unstable surface that can cause the floor to move and shift, can ultimately allowing a burning candle to fall and crash or cause a fire.  To make a surface safer one can burn a candle on a coaster, ceramic or glass plates, or anything else that can absorb or disperse heat.

exploded candle

8.  Use a candle warmer as a flameless candle option. Candle warmers are a GREAT solution to those who love the aroma of a burning candle but fear the possibility of having one's home go up in flames.  Candle warmers generally are ceramic in nature and tend to come in two parts - a base and a dish that rests on top of the base.  The way a candle warmer works is that you plug it into an outlet which goes to a light or warming element in the base that warms up the ceramic dish.  The candle rests on the dish and as the dish warms up, so does the candle releasing the scent.  For those who love the flicker of a candle flame, there are warmers that have a glowing light that resembles a flickering flame.

9.  Safely extinguish candles by snuffing them verses blowing them out.  One way to make your candles last longer is to snuff a burning candle via blowing it out.  The reason for this is it is sure way to make sure the flame is 100% out verses possibly relighting.  One effective way to snuff a candle is use a candle dipper (which can be found via a simple google search) where with the a hook end of a dipper dips the lit wick into the melted pool of wax and pull it back out when extinguished.  This leaves very little smoke and completely smothers the flame encasing the wick in wax.  When the wick is extinguish this provides a good time to trim the wick too.  

Have you found these tips useful?  Have additional tips to share? Comment below!  Hopefully these tips will inspire you to get some candles and start burning.  And as always, burn your candles safely!  

- Written by Michelle Sholund, owner of Destinations Scented Candles


  • Tina

    I love burning candles in my home. These tips really helped me to understand ways to be safe when burning candles. I learned a lot from these tips. Thank you!

  • Zoe Campos

    Thanks for reminding me that I should never forget to extinguish the flame in the candles before fully leaving the room. I’ve seen some crystal candles for sale online and I think that they can be a good addition to my collection of scented candles. Still, I want to prioritize safety, so I’m thinking of printing the tips you stated in your article and leave them at my desk as a daily reminder.


  • Two Bears

    1st advice composium I’ve read in which I actually learned something. How come there is very little about pillar candles? I have a 3×9 bee wax coming.

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