Using candles safely

A few candles scattered round a room can lend a warm glow to an evening, but please remember that candles also bring fire into your home - so they need to be treated carefully.

Using candles safely

It's safer to use battery operated candles but if you're using wax candles to brighten up your home, follow our safety advice:

  • Keep clothes and hair away from the naked flame.

  • Always use a suitable holder when burning candles.

  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and away from pets.

  • Consider an extra smoke alarm in the rooms where you use candles.

  • Extinguish candles before moving them and don't let anything fall into the hot wax.

  • Extinguish candles before you leave a room and never go to sleep with a candle still burning.

  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out. Blowing them can send sparks and hot wax flying.

  • Don't put them under shelves - make sure there's at least one metre (three feet) between a candle and any surface above it.

  • Put them on a heat-resistant surface and be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic.

  • Scented candles turn to liquid in order to release their fragrance, so always burn them in a suitable glass or metal container that can withstand the heat of the liquid.

Jar candles

In relation to candles in jars, there have been occasions when glasses and jars have shattered without warning when the level of the wax in the jar falls to the base of the jar.

This is due to less heat energy being absorbed by the remaining wax resulting in the glass heating up excessively to the point when it may crack or shatter with force.

Users are advised to continually supervise all candles and extinguish the candle when the level of wax reduces close to the base of a jar, say to 1 or 1.5cm.

Even once the candle is out, never pick up a hot jar that has contained a burning candle until it has cooled sufficiently to be able to do so.


The following leaflet contains candle safety tips:

Candle Safety (new window PDF 131 KB)

General safety tips

  • Have a working smoke alarm on each floor level of your home

  • Check that your smoke alarms are working (check them each week)

  • Discuss and agree with your family what to do if there is a fire - plan an escape route


Last updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2023