Fire department provides tips for proper candle use

  • Published
  • By Kurt Stranick
  • Edwards Fire Department
Candles are safe products but may become hazardous when used improperly or in an unsafe manner. National fire safety agencies report the reasons for the bulk of candle fire incidents in the United States are consumer inattention to basic fire safety and misuse of candles.

The following are safety tips when using candles:
  • Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
  • Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper or flammable decorations.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.
  • Trim candlewick to a quarter of an inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks cause uneven burning and dripping.
  • Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, smoking and excessive dripping.
  • Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
  • Do not burn a candle for longer than the manufacturer recommends.
  • Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container.
  • Never touch or move a┬ácandle container when the wax is liquid. Extinguish pillar candles if the wax pool approaches the outer edge.
  • One of the safest ways to extinguish a candle is to use a candle snuffer, which helps prevent hot wax from spattering.
  • Do not extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to spatter and can cause glass containers to break.
  • Always store candles in a cool, dark, dry place. Tapers and dinner candles should be stored flat to prevent warping.
  • Clean solid candles with a piece of nylon or a dry or damp soft cloth.
  • Remove wax from holders by running very hot water over them.
  • Never use a knife or a sharp object to remove wax dripping from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use.
  • Candles will fade if left in the light for an extended period of time. Never put candles in a window or directly expose to bright outdoor light or indoor spotlights.