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Candle Safety

Candles and tea-lights can create a relaxing or special atmosphere in the home, used by people of all ages. They are also part of many religious and cultural celebrations - but are also a major cause of fires.

Enjoy candles, incense and oil burners by following our top safety advice:

  • Candles and incense sticks should always be held firmly in tight fitting holders and placed on a flat, stable heat-resistant surface where they won’t be knocked over
  • Without proper holders, tea lights get very hot and can melt through plastic 
  • Never use a cracked or broken essential oil burner and never let the oil burn right down
  • Keep candles and flames away from clothes, curtains, cushions, paper and other things that might catch fire
  • Keep candles and flames out of winds or draughts
  • Do not put them under shelves, they can heat up the shelf above and cause a fire
  • Ensure candles and other naked flames are out of reach of children and pets and never leave them alone with burning candles
  • Do not use them if you’ve been drinking alcohol or feel sleepy

Never leave candles, incense or oil burners unattended.

Always put them out when you leave the room, go to bed or leave the house.


Tea-lights are cheap and small but are just as dangerous as other candles, so treat them with the same caution.

The little metal pots that tea-lights come in can get very hot. They can melt through plastic and have the potential to start a house fire.

Never leave a lit tea-light unattended – even for a few seconds.

Oil lamps

While oil lamps don’t drip hot wax, they do contain liquid that can go on fire.

  • Keep them away from other heat sources, like radiators and fire places
  • Keep your spare oil in a proper bottle, away from heat and children
  • Keep the wick properly trimmed
  • Treat oil lamps as you would a lit candle

You should never:

  • Leave a lit oil lamp alone
  • Use a cracked or broken oil lamp
  • Fill them too much


Although there’s no flame, the burning embers of incense sticks or cones get very hot and can start fires. Treat them the same way you would a lit candle. Never leave lit incense alone and always use a proper holder that catches the ash.

Essential-oil burners

Most oil burners use tea-lights and should be treated the same as any other candle. Always follow the instructions. Never leave a lit essential-oil burner alone or use a cracked or broken one and make sure you don’t let the oil burn right down – the burner could crack and the tea-light fall out.

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