Why Would A Candle Explode?

Updated on December 8, 2022

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Why Do Candles Explode?

As much as how relaxing and calming candles can be, they also have a dark side aside from the benefits of candles. While the flame of a candle is usually safe for you to touch, it's not always safe for your home or for yourself. If you don't know what causes candles to blow up, you may want to read this article on why candles explode.

Candle wax has a chemical composition that makes it very flammable. When heated, the wax will melt into liquid form. As soon as the temperature reaches its melting point, the wax begins to boil. The boiling process releases gases that are trapped inside the wax. This gas buildup creates pressure in the container. When the pressure becomes too great, the wax explodes.

Why Would A Candle Explode?

There can be different reasons why candle brands explode. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Excessive Candle Burning In Glass Jars

When candles are burned in glass jars, there is a chance that the heat from the candle burn could cause the busted candle jar to break. Once the glass breaks, the hot wax will spill onto the floor. It's best to use only clear glass containers when lighting candles.

Excessive Candle Burning In Glass Jars

You can buy candle jars at your local shops and reuse and recycle old ones. Before placing the candle inside, you must ensure that the glass is clean. Don't use jam jars, mason jars, or even plastic containers if you prefer. 

2. Reaction With Water

Not many know this, but one of the reasons why candles explode is because of water. If you leave a lit candle unattended near water, the wax will react with the moisture in the air. This reaction will create carbon dioxide bubbles which will eventually burst open.

Reaction With Water

When lighting candles, ensure no water is present near or around them. You should keep candles away from any sources of moisture, such as sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, etc.

3. Wax Reaching Its Flash Point

As candles burn down, their temperatures rise. At some point, the wax will reach its flash point. This means that the wax will begin to change color and become more fluid. The wax will bubble and expand when it comes to its flash point.

If you notice that your candles are starting to get bigger than usual, then you should take note of this. Check the labels on your candles to see if they say anything about reaching their flash points.

Wax Reaching Its Flash Point

4. Soot That Has Built Up On The Wick

Another reason why candles explode is that soot builds up on the wicks. The combustion of the wax creates soot. Over time, the soot will build up on the wick until it gets big enough to ignite the surrounding wax.

To prevent this from happening, you should wipe off the wick every few hours. You can use a damp cloth to remove the soot.

How Can I Prevent A Candle From Exploding?

Now that you know why candles explode, let's learn how to prevent this from happening and how to keep you safe from candle explosions:

1. Don't Burn The Candle For Too Long!

Some people tend to leave their candles burning for an extended period. While this might seem like a good idea, it isn't. Candles have a limited lifespan. They won't last forever.

The longer you leave a candle burning, the higher the chance it will explode. So, don't leave your candles burning for long periods. Instead, turn them off after 30 minutes. Be sure to learn more about candle care and choosing suitable fireproof containers.

2. Avoid Lighting The Candle Close To Any Wet Areas

Since water can be dangerous, you should avoid leaving candles near areas where water is present. This includes sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc. If you must light a candle close to these areas, make sure to place it far away from the source of the water.

Avoid Lighting The Candle Close To Any Wet Areas

3. Cut The Wick

One of the most common mistakes people make when using candles is cutting the wick too short. Trimming the wick too short will cause the flame to go out. As soon as the love goes out, the wax will stop burning.

This is why you should always cut the wick to a length that allows the wax to continue burning. It's best to cut the wick to about 1/8th of an inch. Moreover, it would be best if you never trimmed the wick. Trimming the wick will only shorten it further.

4. Keep Flammables Away From Fire

When candles burn and melt, they can produce flammable gases. These gasses can easily ignite if they come into contact with other combustible materials.

So, try to keep your metal tin candles away from fire whenever possible. If you're unable to, you should extinguish the flames before moving the candle.

5. Never Use A Broken Glass Jar

Some candle jars have glass lids. However, many of them also have metal caps or screwtops. Either way, you shouldn't ever use a broken glass candle jar.

A broken jar could lead to a leaky container. This could allow the contents inside to spill onto nearby surfaces. Once spilled, the contents could catch fire. There are a lot of candle container alternatives you may use to avoid candle explosion incidents.

6. Always Store Candles In Cold Places

It's always important to store your jars for candles in cold places. This is especially true during winter months. During these times, favorite candles are more likely to start melting. Most candle lovers and a faithful candle shopper know this is one common rule among candle safety rules.

To ensure that your candles stay lit throughout the year, you should store them in a cool area. Ideally, it would be best if you kept them in the refrigerator.

7. Keep It Away From Children And Pets

You should keep your candle type away from children and pets for safety and security reasons. Both of these groups of individuals may accidentally knock over the containers.

In addition, both children and animals may get burned by the hot wax. So, you should keep your candlesticks and votives away from kids and pets.

8. Avoid Air Drafts And Vents

Air drafts and vents are another reason why cute candles can blow up. When air passes through a vent, it creates a draft.

As a result, the candle flame will move around once air comes in contact with candle wax. This movement will create a lot of friction between the flame and the surrounding air. Friction causes heat which can eventually lead to the candle blowing up.

How Do I Extinguish A Candle?

Homemade candles can be extinguished in several ways. You can use a match, lighter, or even a candle snuffer. But, one method works better than any other: pouring water on the candle.

How Do I Extinguish A Candle?

Pouring water on a candle will quickly extinguish it. This is because water absorbs the heat produced by the candle. As a result, the candle will lose its ability to sustain itself.

However, pouring water on a candle isn't recommended for every situation. For example, you should avoid running water on a candle while burning. Doing so could cause the candle to burst into flames.

Moreover, you should never pour water directly on a candle fire. Instead, you should first remove the candle from its holder. Then, it would be best if you held the candle above the sink or tub. Finally, you should pour the water down on the candle fire.


To conclude, following the tips mentioned above can prevent candle explosions. By following these simple steps, you'll be able to enjoy your outdoor candles without worrying about their safety. For more information, you can always talk to a candle expert about alternatives for candles.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of NeoCandle.com where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay - so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions :) (pun intended ;) )

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