How to Reduce or Prevent Black Soot When Burning Candles: 5 Tips
How to Reduce Soot from Candles: 5 Tips
Candles are a big business in the U.S. and are enjoyed in seven out of 10 households, with annual sales of approximately $2 billion. There are candles designed to suit every desire and need, such as novelty candles, tealights, liturgical candles, tapers and birthday candles. The most popular candles are the container candles, votives and pillars.
More than a billion pounds of wax are used each year in the production of candles. Fragrance is the most important characteristic considered when consumers are shopping.
But what about the black soot?
The way candles are made and burn are direct causes of this black soot, but this can be prevented.
Below are 5 tips to help prevent the soot problem:
1 - Scented candles - Scented candles are a major souce of black soot, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Most of the fragrance oils used in scented candles are unsaturated hydrocarbons - which are liquid at room temperature. This causes the wax to soften and not burn as hot. When the candle burns cooler, it will produce more soot.
Additionally, candle waxes that contain more fragrance comes with a higher concentration of oils in the air and this produces more soot. Bear in mind, too, that you may have no idea what the oils are or even where the candles are made - meaning the oils may be inferior.
2 - The Wick - A common cause of smoke is when the wick is too long, because the flame cannot consume all of the wax being fed to it. Trim the candle wick to 1/4 inch or less - and by doing this you will reduce black soot and allow the candle to burn clean.
3 - The Flame - Make sure you have a small stable flame. A stable flame has a lower emission rate of black soot than a larger flickering flame - which burns with visible black particles, reports the EPA. Also, candles in glass jars cause more soot - when the candle burns down, needed oxygen is reduced.
Soot can also be prevented when you blow out the candle by then cutting off the tip of the wick. Doing this will eliminate emissions caused when a candle smolders. A smoldering candle will create smoke that contains unburned particulate matter.
4 - Drafty Conditions - Drafts in the home will cause uneven or incomplete combustion, and cause brief puffs of black smoke - which is made up primarily of carbon. Check for a still flame - this shows that the candle is burning properly.
5 - Toxic Lead Warning - Lead was commonly used in candle wicks until 1974. The candle-making industry volunteered to discontinue the use of this metal. The lead metal helped keep the cotton candle wicks straight, but served no other purpose. However, this lead use resulted in indoor air concentrations of lead above the EPA-recommended threshold; it spread particles throughout the home leaving soot and metal accumulations. Despite the voluntary ban, lead still remains in some wicks. It's easy to check by feeling the wick in the candle before purchasing.
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