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Can Candles Explode? (And How Does It Happen?)

Can Candles Explode? (And How Does It Happen?)

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So many people love candles and they enjoy being able to use them to provide lighting or to make certain areas smell nicer. Candles are definitely popular and they’re very useful overall.

However, some people are a bit afraid of using candles in their homes due to hearing about candle explosions. Can candles really explode or is that just some type of weird rumor?

Sadly, candle explosions are very real and it’s going to be best to be aware of this. Candles do have the possibility to explode and if you keep reading, you can learn about the science behind why this occurs.

The fact that candles can explode doesn’t mean that you need to throw away all of your favorite candles, though. You just need to be mindful of using candles safely so that you can avoid any problems that could occur from accidents.

Candle Explosion Might Not Be the Right Term to Use

Broken Glass Jar

Firstly, it should be said that candle explosion might not be the right term to use. Candles aren’t little sticks of dynamite that are waiting to go off or anything like that.

It’s more accurate to say that candles can cause fires and that a candle fire could cause a type of explosion. You know that candles are generally contained in glass bottles or vases but you might not know that these glasses and vases can explode if certain conditions are met.

When water comes into contact with candle wax, it has the potential to create a reaction that will cause the wax to splatter. Wax melts at very high temperatures and this is going to cause the area around the candle to get hotter and hotter.

The hottest area of a candle is typically going to be the very center of the candle. Once things get hot enough, the glass container or vase is going to explode due to the heat.

As you likely expect, this is going to be very dangerous and you don’t want to be anywhere near a candle when it explodes. You could wind up being injured by glass shards and you certainly wouldn’t want to get glass in your eyes.

It’s also very possible that this candle explosion could cause a large fire and that could be more than problematic. You might not want to be too far away from the explosion because you want to be able to put out the fire before it jeopardizes your home.

Be Careful with Your Candles

Candle and Christmas Decorations on Fire

The best way for you to protect yourself from candle explosions is to be careful with your candles. You want to ensure that you’re placing candles in positions that will not be in danger of water exposure.

Nothing should be dripping on the candle and you shouldn’t run the risk of having something spilled on the candle or near the candle. If you take common-sense precautions such as that, then you’ll be much less likely to ever have a candle explode on you.

Most of the time, when people have candles explode on them, it’s because they were negligent. For instance, someone might completely forget to blow out a candle before they go to bed.

Something could happen in the middle of the night that would cause the candle to be exposed to water. You might have a pet that could knock something over or some other thing could occur while you aren’t paying attention.

When that water comes into contact with the hot wax from the candle, it’s going to make things dangerous. You need to make sure that things such as this don’t happen and that’s why you must use candles responsibly.

Be sure to blow out your candles when you’re done using them and never leave candles lit in rooms that you aren’t using. It’s much better to err on the side of caution than it is to have to deal with a small fire in your home that occurred due to a candle explosion.

Keep Candles Away From Kids and Pets

Cat Near Lit Candle

It should go without saying that you need to keep candles away from kids and pets. Even if your kids are very smart and know not to touch hot things, it’s still possible that accidents could occur.

If your child was to spill something near a candle, then that could be the catalyst that will start a candle fire. You can avoid this by simply ensuring that candles are placed in safe spots.

Keeping candles away from pets might be trickier in some instances. If you’re a cat owner, then you know that cats are capable of climbing and they can technically reach candles that are on shelves.

Be especially mindful of where you’re placing candles when you own cats because you don’t want them to get hurt.

You also don’t want them to accidentally cause a candle fire by knocking a candle down or knocking something else down near a candle.

Candles Near the Bathtub

Relaxing Bathtub Surrounded by Rose Petals and Candles

It isn’t unusual at all for people to put candles by their bathtubs because many people find them to be relaxing. You can do this if you want to but you do need to be mindful of the situation.

If you like using candles while you bathe, then you’re going to want to be careful about sloshing water around when you move in the tub. It would be bad to accidentally expose the candle wax to water and cause it to spread.

If you’re right there and paying attention to things, then there might not be that much to worry about. You can handle things before anything gets out of control and it probably won’t ruin your bath. Regardless, it is possible to turn this into a dangerous situation if you’re being careless.

Just be cognizant of the fact that you don’t want to expose the candle wax to water so that you can have a safe time.

What to Do When a Candle Gets Wet

Candle Melted Low

Sometimes you might have a situation where your candle will get a bit wet. For example, you might take your candle outside and it will then get exposed to light rain. This might not cause a candle fire problem right away but it can still be problematic.

If a candle gets wet this way, then you might want to consider throwing it out instead of using it again.

This largely depends on the type of candle that you’re using. If your candle is very solid and you can easily dry it off using a simple towel, then it might be just fine to save it for another day.

You have to use good judgment when deciding whether to keep a candle after it has gotten wet. Remember that candles can be easily replaced and that being cautious is often the best route to take.

You should also be mindful of the specific instructions that came with your candle. Most candles are going to come with information about the contents of the candle as well as instructions for what to do in certain situations.

The instructions might mention where a candle can get a bit wet and then be dried off. You should always go by the instructions that you receive with your candles even if things appear to be fine to you.

How to Put Out a Candle Fire

Baking Soda in Wooden Bowl

Putting out a candle fire is certainly not as simple as dousing it with water. As you have likely guessed by reading the information above, water is just going to make your problem worse.

Sadly, many people’s first instinct when they see fire is going to be to douse it with water. This could wind up turning a small candle fire into a large one if you are not careful.

What you’re going to want to do is to take the time to interrupt the chemical process. The candle fire needs oxygen so that it can keep going and you want to take that away by smothering it.

If you have some baking soda somewhere around your house, then that is going to work out well to smother the fire. Simply place baking soda on the fire and around the fire to keep it from spreading.

If you do things properly, then you should be able to handle this situation without causing things to get worse. Knowing about candle fires and the potential for harm will prevent you from making bad choices if you ever have to deal with one.

It’s definitely best to prevent candle fires before they ever start but you’ll still want to be able to deal with them if they happen. Keeping baking soda handy is certainly a good idea but you do have some other options.

Dirt can work well enough when you’re in a pinch and you don’t have any baking soda around. If you happen to have a small fire extinguisher at your place of residence, then you could use that too. Just avoid using water to try to handle a wax candle fire and you’ll be golden.

Keep your wits about you and you’ll be able to keep using candles safely.

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