How Do Candles Start Fires? Find Out Here!

Updated on December 8, 2022

Table of Contents

What Causes Candles To Start Fires?

Candle wax is made up of paraffin waxes, polyethylene glycols, and additives. These ingredients react differently depending on temperature and humidity levels. As a result, candle wax burns at different rates.

Paraffin wax melts at a lower temperature than polyethylene glycol, so it burns slower. However, if there is moisture present, the water vaporizes and increases the rate of combustion. Polyethylene glycol burns faster than paraffin wax, but it doesn't burn as hot.

As a result, the combination of paraffin wax and polyethylene glycol creates a combustible mixture. Candle wax starts burning when the wick reaches the flame. Once the wick touches the flame, the intense heat causes the wax to melt and drip down onto the floor.

Once the wax drips onto the floor, it ignites due to the presence of oxygen. The fire spreads quickly because the wax is flammable. You should never leave a lit candle unattended.

How To Safely Burn A Candle?

Never leave candle fires unattended. Candles can easily tip over and fall onto flammable materials. Also, never place candles near anything that might catch fire, such as curtains, plastic furniture, carpeting, or draperies.

Never light a candle without using a match or lighter. Never try to relight a candle after it has burned down. You may not realize that the wick is still hot enough to ignite nearby combustibles.

These safety tips should help prevent accidents caused by improper candle usage.

1. Never Leave Unattended Candles

Candle wax drips down onto hot surfaces and ignites easily. Never leave unattended candle fires burning. Even if you think you won't forget, chances are you will.

You might not realize it until there's a house fire. Wax tunneling, soot damage, and candle container damage could all arise from this.

2. Use The Correct Wick

To prevent a fire, you must use the correct wick. A wick is simply a long piece of cotton thread that runs through the center of the candle. The wick helps keep the wax inside the container. Without a wick, the wax would spill out onto the floor and cause a mess.

3. Keep Burning Candles Away From Flammable Materials

Candle wax is flammable, so keep burning candles away from flammable materials. You should never leave burning candles unattended near anything that might catch fire.

Keep burning candles away from flammable materials including curtains, bedding, clothing, paper products, wood furniture, carpets, rugs, and any other items that may burn easily.

4. Cut The Wick

To prevent this problem, you should cut off the bottom end of the wick. You can do this by cutting the wick at its base.

Then, hold the wick vertically and pull it straight up until the wick breaks. Once the wick is broken, you can remove the remaining portion of the wick.

5. Make Certain That The Flame Is Extinguished

To prevent a fire from starting, extinguish the flame after using the candle. Never let the wick burn down completely. Also, keep the candle away from flammable materials.

Don't place the candle near curtains, furniture, rugs, or anything else that could catch fire. Never place a wet candle close to a flammable object.

6. Maintain A Steady Flame

To avoid leaving a candle unattended, you should maintain the flame steady. Maintaining a steady flame means keeping the wick trimmed evenly and regularly. If you notice any signs of wax buildup, trim off the excess wax. Wax buildup can lead to uneven burning and eventually a fire.

7. Candle Storage

To keep your candles safe, store them in a cool place away from heat sources. You should never leave burning candles unattended. Candles burn at a rate of 1 inch per hour, so you may not notice that your candle has burned down until it's almost completely melted.

Is It Possible For A Candle In A Glass Jar To Start A Fire?

You should never leave a lit candle unattended in a glass jar. Even though it's unlikely that a candle in a glass will start a fire, it is still dangerous. Always keep a close watch on your candles and extinguish them if they ever start to smoke or smell bad. Never leave a candle burning unattended in a glass container.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Candle Jar Fires?

A glass jar is a safe container for storing candles. But, if you place a candle inside a glass jar, there is still a risk that it could ignite.


To prevent candle fires, keep your candle jars clean. Clean the inside of the jar regularly. You should wipe off any excess wax that may drip down onto the sides of the jar. Also, remove any debris that might block the wick. Finally, replace the lid after every use.

Burning Down All The Wax

There are several reasons why candle jar fires happen. One reason is that wax drips down onto hot surfaces, causing the wax to melt and drip onto sharp objects or nearby objects.

Another reason is that the wick burns through the bottom of the glass container. A third reason is that the wicks burn too fast and cause the wax to overflow.

Using Too Many Wicks

Candle jar fires are very common, especially among beginners. Candles burn at a high temperature, which means that if there are too many wicks, the wax can melt and drip onto the floor. Once the wax drips onto the floor, it can easily catch fire.

Unsuitable Glass

If you leave a glass jar containing a burning candle unattended, there's a possibility that the glass may break and cause a fire. You can prevent this by placing the jar inside another container, preferably made of non-flammable material.

High Level Of Fragrance

Fragrances are created using essential oils. These oils are extracted from plants and trees. There are hundreds of different kinds of fragrances available. Each kind of oil has a unique aroma. 

What Happens If A Candle Is Left Burning Overnight?

Candles are great for creating ambiance at night, but if left burning overnight, they can cause major damage to your house even if it takes just a couple of hours. The costs of fire damage restoration expenses are covered by insurance coverage.

When there is a power outage, use candles with extreme caution. Keep these safety precautions in mind if you plan to leave a candle burning overnight. You'll thank yourself later!

How Do You Put Out A Candle Properly?

A safer option is to use a candle holder. These holders keep the flame away from flammable materials and are usually made of glass or ceramic.

However, they are not ideal for every situation. For instance, if you are cooking food, you shouldn't use a candleholder. Instead, you should use a heat-resistant surface.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of 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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