How to use candles safely

There is no light in the home more romantic than the one given by a candle. The soft glow of a candle can soothe a troubled mind and lift a sagging spirit. With Bahoma’s fragranced candles the added benefit of beautiful fragrances filling your senses enhances the transcendental effect of burning candles. But the light from a candle, however beautiful it looks, however delicate it looks, comes from a naked flame and as with any flame the utmost care must always be taken to enjoy a candle to the fullest and to stop, what should be a pleasurable experience, becoming dangerous.

At Bahoma we have made millions of candles since we first started making candles on Valentine’s Day 2007, so, here we will try to explain some of the more useful facts we have learned about candles and their care.

  • Never leave candles unattended, all it takes is a gust of wind or an object to fall on a candle to create an uncontrollable situation.
  • Always extinguish candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
  • Never use water on a candle or candle fire as water can cause the flames to grow larger as it mixes with wax. Always smother any flame caused by candles. Removing oxygen from a flame will always kill it. This is why snuffers are always recommended for candles. If you don’t have a snuffer, then use a spoon.
  • Blowing on a candle to put it out can also be dangerous as this can cause hot wax to splash on you or objects nearby.
  • Never burn candles near anything which is flammable. Always keep candles away from curtains and blinds, carpets, any linens such as bedding, books or any paper objects, clothes and in fact anything which can burn.
  • Never place a lit candle under a shelf, as this is the surest way to heat up your shelves and perhaps start a fire. Always leave at least a meter distance between lit candles and any surface, such as a ceiling or a shelf.
  • Always place lit candles on a heat resistant surface. Remember that the base of a candle can get hot, especially when the candle has been burnt for a while and the flame is low. Burning candles directly on expensive furniture can be a mistake and cause damage, so don’t do it. Also placing glass candles on a heat resistant surface will help prevent the container from cracking if it gets too hot.
  • Never burn a candle for more than 3 hours. Always extinguish any candle after 3 hours and allow the wax surface to harden before re-lighting.
  • Always trim a candle wick to no more than 4-6 mm before any lighting. Longer wicks will create a brighter and larger flame, this will also produce more smoke and excess heat, which can lead to discoloration of walls and surfaces and to the candle container cracking.
  • Always clear any debris from the candle melt pool, such as used match heads or cut wick ends.
  • Always keep lit candles away from any draughts or moving air currents. Fast moving air can promote uneven burning as well as excess soot production. Heavy draughts can also blow curtains or other flammable materials towards candle flames where they can catch alight.
  • Conversely, do not burn candles, especially more than one candle in a non-ventilated room where the air is not being regularly refreshed.
  • Remember if you have a heat source near the candle then the melting may not be even and this can cause the wick to ‘subside’ and slip. A radiator or other lit candles placed too close to another candle can cause this to occur.
  • If the wick moves away from the centre of a candle while you burn it then extinguish it and try to reposition it at the centre of the container. Be careful when you do this as the wax in the candle will be hot when it is in liquid form, the best way is the get some long scissors and put tape around each blade to stop it cutting the wick, then to hold onto the wick with the scissors as tongs until you can replace it to its original position.
  • Never place candles too close to each other as this can cause the heat profile of a candle to become skewed. This can lead a candle to burn unevenly or the wick can subside. All lit candles should be at least 15cm apart.
  • If you burn a candle which is not already in a container then make sure that the candle is placed firmly and always in an upright position so it can’t fall over or the wax splash on a flammable or delicate surface.
  • If you have children or pets, or are expecting guests with children or pets then extra care has to be taken to make sure that candles are placed well away from any places where they can be knocked over. A little care with candles could save a lot of trouble later.
  • Never attempt to move or touch burning candles. We have all seen period history movies when people walked around with lit candles but these days are gone and we no longer need candlelight to see and the risk of moving a lit candle is too great when electric lighting does the job well enough. Don’t risk it, don’t do it.
  • Also, be extra careful if you use a lit candle as a light source during any power failure because if any flame problems occur while the candle is lit then it will be harder to get it back in control without adequate electric lighting. Using candles in this way is no longer recommended, it is better to use a battery powered torch.
  • Never do anything which might weaken the container of your Bahoma candle, such as scratch the glass with a sharp object or try to engrave it without contacting us first. This can weaken some glasses to the point that they can break when the candle is lit and heat is generated.
  • It may be tempting to burn your favourite Bahoma candles all the way down but resist this temptation. Burning a candle all the way to the base can cause excess heat to be generated in the base of the candle and this can sometimes cause cracking as well as excess soot production. Extinguish the flame when it gets too close to the container or holder base. A good safety margin for candles is to leave about 7-10mm of wax at the base of a container candle and about 30-40mm of wax on a pillar or dinner candle.
  • If you want to have small flame when burning your favourite Bahoma candles then try putting the candles in the fridge before lighting, the cooler the candle the smaller the flame with which it burns. This will also have the effect of extending the lifetime of your candles from the stated minimums but remember that the fragrance strength will also weaken when the candle is cold.
  • Always make sure that a candle is completely extinguished and that the wick is not glowing before you leave a candle unattended. It is possible for candles to re-light themselves when the wick is still hot in some circumstances, e.g. if a draught blows on it.
  • Candles are as old as human civilization and throughout this time they have brought us great benefits but also led to terrible disasters, so following these little steps will help ensure that you never have to experience any disasters and will always benefit by burning a Bahoma Candle.

    *This information is given in good faith and does not claim to be exhaustive and is not meant as a substitute to professional advice when assessing fire risks in your home. Whereas these tips and instruction are for Bahoma candles their general advice is relevant to all candles no matter what they are made of or who makes them.