Seasonal candle safety – tea lights


“I can just use any old tea light….”

This time of year is candle season, more candles than at any time other time are lit and enjoyed and tea lights play a large part in the candle consumption.

It might seem trivial and I know, through my many discussions recently, that people believe all tea lights to be equal and can be used with any oil burner / wax warmer. Sorry to say, it’s not true and by ignoring some of the safety elements regarding tea lights you can cause some serious damage.

They’re tiny little candles, what harm can they do…. Quite a bit actually.

Unscented tea lights are designed to burn for certain lengths of time, usually 4 hours however there are some on the market that are meant to burn for 8 hours. These a lovely for open topped tea light holders where there is loads of air for the heat build up to be set free into, not so much underneath an oil burner! What happens is the heat build-up causes the burner to overheat, best case scenario is that the wax in the burner bowl is heated too high, the fragrance burns off really quickly and then soon just smells ‘waxy’. Worst case is that the heat intensity is too much for the burner and it cracks, this can cause the wax to spit and land in the flames OR the flame of the tea light becomes so intense that it licks up around the side the of the burner and catches the wax on fire…. My advice is to ensure that there is approximately 5 cm between the top of the flame of the tea light and the bottom of the bowl of the burner and that there is plenty of ventilation for the heat to escape.

Let’s double the scent throw!

Not only are tea lights that are too large for the burner used but some people also used scented tea lights which is really dangerous. The fragrance oil that is added to the wax to give it that amazing scent makes it burn hotter. For this reason scented tea lights should only be used where there is plenty of ventilation (and I don’t mean that your windows don’t fit or you’ve opened a window!)

When used safely and with a little thought, burning candles and tea lights creates a lovely warm glow and welcoming fragrance but please do be aware that naked flames can be dangerous.

Tea light top tips

  • Only use small, unscented tea lights in wax warmers
  • Ensure there is 5cm between the top of the flame and the bottom of your wax warmer
  • Scented tea lights should only be used in holders which have plenty of ventilation
  • Ensure your tea lights are in a suitable heat proof container
  • If the flame gets out of hand, extinguish immediately and allow to cool

Wishing you a safely fragranced and fun festive season



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