Candle and Incense Safety Posted on 04 Aug 02:01

Hopefully this should go without saying but please be very careful when burning incense and candles. It may sound a bit basic but people still manage to burn their houses down from time to time. For the sake of a few simple precautions you can save yourself (not to mention your family and pets) from what could be a very unfortunate situation.

Make sure you place the incense or candle in an appropriate holder and light it in a safe place away from any combustible material and completely out of the reach of pets and children. Spare a thought for draughts, gravity and bad luck and make sure that you haven’t placed your candle or incense anywhere precarious. If a problem does occur you can only solve it if you are there so if you are leaving the room make sure that the item is completely extinguished.

It's unusual for the small amount of smoke produced by incense to set off smoke alarms but if this happens do not disconnect the battery or disable the smoke alarm. Move the incense to another part of the room to avoid getting smoke into the detector.

Candle and insense holders are designed to safely catch falling ash or wax but most are not completely heatproof. Please ensure that you place the holder directly onto a heatproof surface like a hearth or place a heatproof tile down first: nobody likes scorch marks. Even after the burn has finished be aware that the holder may be hot for some time and can still hurt you. Metal conducts heat particularly well and parts which haven’t even been near the flame can still be very hot.

The charcoal discs used for powders and resins burn at a very high temperature and should be treated with extra caution. They burn for quite some time and it is not always easy to tell whether they have gone out or not. Once they have been burning a while they will develop a layer of white ash on the outside which can hide the glow of the core and this looks almost identical to a completely extinguished disc. If you are unsure whether the disc is still burning or not you can test it by sprinkling a small amount of incense on it to see whether there is enough heat left to melt or burn it. Even after the disc has dropped below the temperature needed to burn incense it will still be hot enough to damage you, the cat and the carpet so once it's out wait a bit until you're sure it's cool... and then wait a bit longer just in case.

All the holders which we sell for use with charcoal are designed to be filled with a bed of sand onto which the disc is placed to help absorb and distribute the heat and prevent intense hotspots from causing cracking or warping. Be very careful of any holder you buy for use with discs which doesn’t use a layer of sand (or similar) and make sure you haven’t bought an oil burner by mistake!

You might want to have a look at our Introduction to Candle Magick which is packed with ideas on how to use your candles as a part of your practice.