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Candle Safety: Why You Should Avoid Adding Botanicals to Your Candles

Posted on August 22, 2022

In summary, it is not safe to add dried flowers or herbs to your candles. Safety is of utmost importance in candle making, which involves using the correct wick, trimming wicks, and refraining from adding foreign materials to your candles.

Mushrooming wicks can cause debris in the candle and melt pool, which can become a secondary ignition source. If removing the mushroom and debris is crucial for candle safety, why would you intentionally add a secondary ignition source into your melt pool? Adding botanicals and certain crystals to your candles does just that.

Dried flowers can burn and can contain water and natural oils, which do not mix well with candles and can have disastrous results. Even a slight amount of water can cause little mini explosions when the water reacts with the super-heated wax and flame.

The debate on botanicals in candles has been ongoing for over 25 years. Large professional candle making companies do not sell "botanical candles" to department stores, and Bath and Body Works had to recall 20,000 botanical candles due to safety concerns and fire hazards. With the many types and amounts of botanical candles available, many companies offer guidelines and state to remove the botanicals before burning.

The insurance company's stance is that the wick must be the only combustible item in the candle at all times. If the flowers and/or crystals become combustible, it is not an accepted risk for the insurer. In the event of a candle catching fire, proving that it was not the botanicals that caused the fire can be a costly and stressful legal battle.

Many candle makers have dealt with consumers who are unaware of candle safety and how to properly burn and care for them. Adding flammable materials into your candle causes it to burn uncleanly, which defeats the purpose of using a clean-burning wax like soy.

Ultimately, the decision to add botanicals to your candles is yours. There are no regulations prohibiting it in this country, and few reports of botanicals catching fire. However, it is essential to test and keep detailed diaries as evidence, include detailed burn instructions to educate your consumer, and remember that it's a candle, not a forest.

UPDATE:  Since writing this blog the American authority on candle safety has released their own findings.  Please read below.