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How to Light a Candle Safely Without Getting Burned

Updated on December 28, 2012
lovely to look at but these lit candles pose a serious fire risk.
lovely to look at but these lit candles pose a serious fire risk. | Source

Frightening Statistics in U.S.A. (from the NFPA)

Between 2006-2010 –

  • 11,640 home fires caused by candles
  • 126 deaths
  • 953 injuries
  • $438 million worth of property damage
  • 35% candle fires start in the bedroom
  • 32 candle fire calls reported per day
  • 11% candle fires due to falling asleep
  • 11% candle fires in December alone (peak month)
  • More than 50% of candle fires start when items or fabrics that can burn are too close to them.

Candles and Candlelight ~

Lighting candles is something many of us do instinctively without perhaps looking at whether it is being safely done.

How many of you have ended up with minor burns as a result of improper candle lighting? I know I have for sure.

One of my great passions is candles, the more the merrier and when I think back to the large amounts of candles I have had lit at one time, it is frightening.

Candle light can be soft, magical, romantic, relaxing, and decorative and the list goes on and on.

From religious candle lighting ceremonies to being used as a light source, candles are loved everywhere and are here to stay so let’s start treating them with some care and respect.

Candles are a solid block of wax with a wick embedded in the top of them and are predominantly made of paraffin wax, beeswax, soy, plant waxes or tallow.

Gel candles are a mix of mineral oil and a polymer.

However much we love them, they produce an open flame and are potentially capable of taking lives, and it’s that simple.

Candlelit Dinner Anyone?

romantic yes . . . fire hazards yes . . .
romantic yes . . . fire hazards yes . . . | Source

Ways of Lighting Candles ~

How people light their candles, be they large pillar candles or small tea-lights, I guarantee you will differ with how they SHOULD light their candles!

Here are the best choices for lighting candles without getting burned and make fire safety sense.

Butane Candle Lighter

easy and safe method of lighting candles. refillable or disposable lighters are available.
easy and safe method of lighting candles. refillable or disposable lighters are available. | Source

Long Handled Butane Lighters

I find these extremely useful and ideal for igniting candles and the fire in the fireplace. There are three different forms I recommend:

Disposable Lighters are inexpensive and found in a variety of stores and online.

Refillable Butane Lighters which are available in a variety of prices depending on brand and composition. Check out craft stores, jewellery stores, department stores or online for these.

2 in 1 Refillable Lighter and Candle Snuffer are an excellent buy if you need both. I have separate items but if I needed both I would certainly consider this option as it is very cost effective and practical.

Lighting Birthday Candles

light candles starting from the inside and work to the outside to avoid stretching over the flames and risk getting burned.
light candles starting from the inside and work to the outside to avoid stretching over the flames and risk getting burned. | Source

Safety Matches



Most homes will often keep a box of matches handy in a drawer, for lighting gas stoves, candles, fires, cigarettes or cigars. The problem with regular sized matches is they are too short and thin to safely use for candle lighting. They burn quickly and will often come into contact with the skin easily.

Safety Matches or Extra Long Matches specifically designed for lighting products easily and safely are definitely worth having instead. One match will often light numerous candles when grouped together making them more economical too.

When using for candles, make sure no fabrics, inflammable objects or hair (for the long haired candle lovers) are anywhere near the candle before striking the match.

Strike the match close to the end of the candle wick (not on it or it will go out) and wait for it to ignite. Blow out your match when finished and discard safely. Something I do is to run a few drops of tap water over the match to be 100% sure the flame is out.

Store the matches away safely in a drawer or high shelf out of reach for children and pets.

Candle Safety Tips

  • Always blow out candles or use a candle snuffer when you leave a room and NEVER light candles in the bedroom as much as it is tempting for ambiance and creating a mood.
  • Candles should be displayed 12 inches away from anything it can ignite.
  • Make sure candles are in a sound secure candle holder on a level uncluttered surface.
  • Always keep hair and loose clothing away from candles when lighting them and when lit.
  • Never ever light a candle if there is oxygen in the home.
  • Never allow a candle burn all the way out. Extinguish it before it reaches the bottom of the holder or container.
  • Keep wind up torches, rechargeable torches or battery powered lighting on hand in case of a power cut, avoid using candles. In power cuts people often have a habit of lighting a candle then carrying it around rooms or upstairs which is highly dangerous.
  • Instead of a fragrance candle why not have homemade room fresheners or easy to make potpourri instead?

Ceremonial Candle Lighting

Independence day in Pakistan is cause for celebration.
Independence day in Pakistan is cause for celebration. | Source

Candle Lighting for Hanukkah


Do you practice safe candle use?

See results

Ceremonial /Religious Candle Safety Tips

Lit candles are use in places of worship, religious services and in the home as part of a religious service, tradition or custom throughout the world. Regardless of whether you plan on using one candle or more than one in a kinara, menorah or candelabra a few safety rules should be followed.

  • Make sure candle holders are sturdy and the candle or candles fit properly.
  • Avoid passing a lit candle to another person.
  • Make sure any lit candles on window sills are not close to curtains or blinds as they are a fire risk.
  • When lighting a candle in a lighting candle ceremony, make sure the person with the unlit candle lights theirs from the already lit candle.
  • Candles placed on or near shrines, altars or tables need to be monitored by an adult at all times.
  • Make sure to extinguish all candles before going to bed.
  • If you must keep a candle burning through the night, make sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in the sink, a basin or a metal tray filled with water.

Extra Candle Care At Christmas


Candle Care At Christmas


Additional Tips At Christmastime

In America, the month of December accounts for 11% of all house fires caused by candles and the majority of incidents fall on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day so beware and be vigilant during the festive season.

  • Avoid placing candles at low heights easily reached or knocked, particularly by children and pets visiting.
  • If placing as a centrepiece on the table why not use a decorative candle instead with no flame. Avoid lit candles on your dining table as it is a sure way of someone reaching across the flame and getting burned.
  • Make sure there is constant adult supervision in your rooms with lit candles or blow them out.
  • Don’t leave candles burning too late and make sure to blow out completely before bedtime.

By applying simple candle safety tips can make all the difference to avoiding starting a fire so please do take note candle lovers and make you and you loved ones safe.

Blow Candles Out Before Bedtime

keep safe with simple candle care tips at home.
keep safe with simple candle care tips at home. | Source

Author Info ~

Information on the author her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ

Credit to homesteadbound ~

All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs

How to Light a Candle Safely Without Getting Burned Comments

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      great hub! Thx for sharing this!

      In case you just like the way fire looks like, there are several virtual fireplaces or candles on the Internet. It´s safe and definitely won´t burn down anything. There´s a youtube channel which produes great fireplace videos, and also videos showing candles. They´re really romantic, so you might consider taking a look :) here´s a link, if you´re interested:

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi teaches,

      I use the butane lighter too and love it. So much easier and safer for candle lightening. LED candles are a good idea, thanks for that! Glad you enjoyed and appreciated the dangers associated with candles!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Suzy, I use those long butane lighters to light my candles. I feel safer using them and they are easy to use. Also, I prefer to use the LED candles in the home because of this reason -- fire safety. Great hub post and it will help many to have a better outlook on using candles in the home.

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi ishwaryaa,

      Thanks so much for that, I read your hub and loved it so have linked back to this with your lovely gel candles.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      I already linked your hub to my hub. Thank you so much. Happy New Year to you & yours! Take care

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi ishwaryaa,

      Thanks so much for visiting and reading! I would be honoured to have you link to my hub, many thanks for thinking of that I so appreciate it!! I will return the compliment. Delighted to see you too are a huge candle fan like I am!!

      Thanks again for all your votes, shares and pin -

      Have a great New Year my friend :-)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      An extremely well-written and detailed hub with helpful tips. Like you, I am fond of candles. I have many Indian oil-lamps, tea-light candles and recently created gel candles. I and my family are always cautious but still, I decided to pin this handy hub for future reference. Well-done!

      P.S. I seek your permission to link this useful hub of yours to my candle hub. Thank you.

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up, pinned & shared

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Glimmer Twin,

      Glad you found this useful and good to hear you are careful with candles. Your decorative Epsom ones are a fab way of introducing safe candles to a room and they are easy to make! Many thanks for sharing this on!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      7 years ago

      This is a great hub and incredibly useful anytime of year. I'm really careful with candles, I love them but they make me nervous. Shared and thanks for linking my hub!

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi MJ,

      You do make me laugh! Oxy-Acetylene sounds a bit O.T.T for my liking and maybe just a wee bit dangerous but then what do I know!! I don't think I want to ask how you start a fire . . . I can only guess!! LOL

      many thanks for your votes pin and share, much appreciated my friend!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Suzie Q

      Fabulous hub and pics. Especially love the first pic. If anyone needs safety advice on this topic it's me as I generally lite candles with the oxy-acetylene welding torch. I better not mention how I lite the fire.

      Voted up, pinned and shared.


    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Statistics are alarming , your right. Hopefully more people are wiser to the dangers of candles. Thanks so much Bill for your comments and wishing you and your family all the very best for the holiday season!! :-)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Suzie. Great advice for something most of us take for granted. The statistics are alarming. Frankly candles scare me. I like them but I always worry about fires so I never take my eyes off of them when we have them burning.

      This is another winner here. Great tips, especially for this time of year. Enjoy the holidays and stay safe.

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi midget,

      Many thanks for dropping by from Singapore!! A wonderful place to visit and where I saw in the new year from many years ago!! If everyone took extra care with candles it would make a difference, particularly at holiday times, religious ceremonies and vigils. Appreciate your interest and comments!!

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi faythef,

      Glad you enjoyed this and maybe pass them on to your candle friends so they take precautions! It is so important, appreciate your visit and input!!

    • Suzie HQ profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Belated birthday greetings to Bev! I trust you cooked up a delicious meal with all your recipe know hows!!

      Candles I love and always have some at home but when you look at how easy they are to be abused or used with little regard to safety . . . its scary so I felt the urge to do my bit. Glad you enjoyed this my friend always a pleasure to hear your thoughts and have your friendship :-)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Suzie, this is great, especially when the Xmas vigils are being held. Will keep this hub for reference. Thanks for sharing!

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe Payne 

      7 years ago from USA

      All good safety tips.......I always worry about those I know who use a lot of candles...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Suzie, I feel safer already! I was just about to shut it down for the day, since it's Bev's birthday and I need to cook dinner, when up popped this safety course on lighting candles. :)

      Somehow I have managed to survive sixty-four years on this planet without setting myself on fire, and now I know I'll make it the rest of my life in safety.

      I hope you are well my friend. With five days remaining, I can now safely say Merry Christmas!


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