Burn Responsibly: Candle Care & Safety
Well, as they say, ‘safety first’.
Allow me to share some childhood trauma to drive this point home. As a kid I attended a day-home after school, a beautiful old farmhouse. Part of the attic was renovated into a luxurious bathroom; plush towels, dried flower bouquets, complete with a claw-foot tub. Sean, the older boy that lived in the house had recently discovered that the key to relaxation in his stressful ten-year old life was indulging in daily bubble-baths. One fateful afternoon, Sean decided to light a few candles to up his bath game, which was against his mother’s rules of course. So there I am, minding my own business in the attic playroom, blissfully unaware of the mayhem about to unfold in the next room. Mid Barbie outfit and I hear Sean scream bloody murder from within the bathroom. I debated for a split second whether to ignore whatever horror had befallen him for fear of seeing my brother-like friend in the nude. Ultimately, I decided to come to his rescue, consequences be damned. I cautiously opened the bathroom door and it was like a scene straight out of Backdraft. A still fully clothed Sean (thankfully) was frantically fanning a towel at half the bathroom which was engulfed in flames. With a look of pure terror in his eyes he shrieked at me not to tell his mom, which I immediately and shamelessly ran to do. I don’t remember exactly how, but the fire was put out. Sean was relegated to the shower for the rest of his life and the charred remains of the bathroom still smolder in my memories. The seemingly innocuous little candle had been placed near a hanging towel and a dried flower bouquet which promptly caught fire and ignited the antique table beside the bathtub.
With this cautionary tale in mind, here are some general candle safety rules:
Always place your candle on a stable, heat resistant surface, away from anything flammable.
Never leave a burning candle unattended and never leave a candle lit while you sleep. We also like to caution against lighting a candle if you are tired or are laying down to ‘rest’. In most cases you will fall a sleep and your candle will stay a blazing.
Do not burn candles in a draft as it disturbs the flame and allow unsightly soot buildup or smoke stains inside the vessel.
Keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Cats are known for singeing their whiskers!
Do not exceed a four hour burn time. This helps to prevent carbon buildup on the wick that may cause it to “mushroom” which can make the wick unstable and produce a flame that is too large and potentially dangerous.
Keep wax pool free of any debris. Debris such as trimmed wick remains or used matches add more fuel to the candle than it’s designed to handle.
Stop burning your candle once there is half an inch of wax remaining and discontinue use if the wick has slid of center. In both scenarios, the flame will get too close to the glass and the heat may cause damage to the vessel and the surface it’s resting on. When a candle is made, the wicks are glued to the bottom of the glass, however, sometimes the wick can detach if the candle is dropped or it is exposed to below zero temperature. The candle is still completely fine to use, one just needs to be mindful that the wick could move off center when the candle is near the end of it’s burn life.
Trimming your wick to a quarter of an inch prior to lighting will allow for a consistent burn and safe flame.
Never extinguish your candle with water as water can cause the hot wax to splatter and burn.
Do not move or touch the candle while it’s burning and hot. Blow it out first and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before moving.
Milk Jar candles do require a little TLC in order to maintain their big beautiful flame and biggest boldest scent. Below are a few pointers to help your candle live its best life.
When burning your Milk Jar always allow enough time for it to burn until the wax is melted evenly across, this is called a full melt pool. Typically, we allow for about one to two hours of burning for this to occur.
Interesting fact: candles have a memory and if you don’t allow a full melt pool the wax will only melt as far as it did the first time you burned the candle. This starts an unfortunate tunneling process where wax residue is left behind on the edges of the candle. Once a candle starts to tunnel it typically continues to do so for its entire life. Tunneling wastes wax and affects the scent throw of the candle.
After you light your candle for the first time ensure you trim your wick prior to subsequent lighting, about 1/4 of an inch long. Wood wicks are very easy to trim. Gently snap off the ash or burnt wood along the top edge of the wick with your fingertips, light and enjoy. Trimming your wick allows your Milk Jar to burn evenly and stay lit. It seems counter-intuitive, however, as the wick burns the ends become thin and ash. Ash does not catch a flame so if you trim off the ash ends of your wood wick, the flame will be able to catch on thicker wood.
Try to avoid any extreme temperatures. If left in the sun or in a hot car, your Milk Jar will start to sweat and melt. We once mailed a Milk Jar to Florida and to our dismay it arrived in a half melted waxy disaster. As we mentioned earlier, cold weather causes the wax to shrink and can pull the glue securing the wick to the glass off, allowing your candle to be removed from its vessel. If this occurs, you may use hot glue to re-secure the candle into its vessel via the metal wick that is visible at the base. Or, just be mindful at the end of your candle’s life that the wick may slide off center at which point discontinue use.
I hope this has been an enlightening read for all you candle lovers; may you enjoy many candle lit bubble baths with the utmost safety and care.
Written By Kendal