Candles are popular for adding warmth, ambiance, and fragrance to our homes. While botanicals, or plant materials, are often associated with natural beauty and scent, using them in candles may not be the best idea. This blog post will explore why botanicals shouldn't be used in candles and discuss safe practices to keep candles secure.
Why Botanicals Aren't Ideal for Candles
- Scent: One of the main reasons people use candles is their fragrance. However, botanicals may not be strong enough to be noticeable when burning. Achieving a consistent and long-lasting fragrance can be challenging with botanicals alone. Alternatives such as synthetic fragrances and essential oils often offer a more comprehensive range of scents and better scent throw.
- Allergies: Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain botanicals. Using them in candles could cause allergic reactions, which can be unpleasant and counterproductive to creating a relaxing atmosphere. It is essential to consider the potential risks before incorporating botanicals into candles.
Safe Candle Practices
When using candles, it is crucial to prioritize safety to prevent accidents. Here are some safe practices to keep in mind:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended: Always extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Unattended candles can pose fire hazards.
- Keep candles away from flammable materials: Ensure that candles are placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface and away from curtains, furniture, and other flammable objects.
- Trim the wick: Before lighting a candle, trim the wick to approximately ¼ inch. This helps control the flame height and reduces the risk of excessive smoke or soot.
- Use candle holders: Place candles in appropriate holders that can catch dripping wax and provide stability. This prevents the candle from tipping over and causing accidents.
- Create a safe zone: Establish a safe distance between burning candles and other objects or people. This reduces the risk of accidental contact and minimizes the chance of burns or fire.
Tunneling is a common issue affecting candle performance and aesthetics. It occurs when the candle burns straight down, leaving a tunnel-like hole in the center and wasting a significant portion of the wax. Here are some tips to prevent tunneling and ensure a longer-lasting candle:
- First, the burn matters: When you light a candle, allow it to burn long enough to create a melt pool that reaches the edges of the container. This helps set the "memory" of the candle and prevents tunneling in subsequent burns.
- Burn the candle appropriately: It is essential to allow it to burn long enough for the entire surface to liquefy before extinguishing it. This ensures an even burn and prevents tunneling.
- Avoid short burn times: Burning a candle for short intervals, such as a few minutes, can lead to tunneling. Instead, ensure the candle has enough time to create a wide melt pool each time you light it.
- Trim the wick regularly: A long wick can cause the candle to burn hotter and faster, increasing the likelihood of tunneling. Trim the wick to the appropriate length (around ¼ inch) before each use to promote a steady burn.
- Avoid drafts: Drafts can disrupt the even burn of a candle, leading to tunneling. Place candles in draft-free areas to maintain a consistent flame and prevent uneven melting.
While botanicals are often admired for their beauty and scent, there may be better candle choices. Weak scent throw, potential allergies, safety concerns, and cost considerations make alternatives such as synthetic fragrances and essential oils more practical. Finally, by following safe practices, such as never leaving candles unattended and trimming the wick, we can enjoy candles while minimizing the risk of accidents.
Now, a disclaimer....I AM NOT saying that you can't or shouldn't buy candles that have botanical items in them. Please practice safety and caution with any candle and if you love those, go for it.