Candle burning myths

Though lighting candles should be an enjoyable experience, it is important to remember that they can be dangerous. There are many myths surrounding candle burning that can cause complacency or unnecessary concern and can even deter people from purchasing candles altogether. Here are five candle burning myths debunked so you can continue to enjoy burning candles safely. 

1.    Burning unscented candles is safer than burning scented candles

Both unscented and scented candles are a fire hazard. A lack of scent doesn’t make a candle less likely to catch fire or cause injury. It is important to practise proper candle care with all candles. This includes properly extinguishing them, keeping them away from draughts and never leaving them unattended. 

2.    Wickless candles and tea lights are completely safe

As their name suggests, wickless candles don’t contain a wick and are instead heated with a warmer that is placed underneath. This usually requires a tea light, which is used to heat the wax and release the candle’s fragrance.

It is important to remember that tea light candles are still candles. Whenever there is an open flame, there is a risk of it causing a fire or burning someone. A safer alternative to using tea lights to heat wickless candles is to use an electric warmer. However, there is still a small chance it could cause an electrical fire. No candle is one hundred percent risk-free.  

3.    Placing candles on countertops eliminates the risk of a fire

It’s important to keep lit candles away from fabrics and household objects, but this doesn’t mean that placing a candle on a bare countertop eliminates the risk of a fire. People can easily brush past a candle, allowing flames to catch onto their clothing or hair. A pet or child could push a candle off the countertop, or a draught could knock it over. This is why you should never leave candles unattended. 

4.    Some candles don’t produce soot or smoke

There is a misconception that candles made of certain waxes don’t produce smoke and soot. While it is true that some waxes, such as soy wax, smoke less than others, this doesn’t mean that they are smoke or soot free. You can, however, minimise candle smoking by caring for your candle's wick and trimming it back to ¼ of an inch after use.

5.    Burning candles scented with essential oils eliminates the risk of adverse health effects

Essential oils are far healthier for your lungs than artificial fragrances. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t cause adverse health effects or exacerbate existing medical conditions such as asthma and migraines. If you or a loved one are particularly sensitive to fragrances, it’s best to opt for an unscented candle.