Candles And Broken Glass Containers

broken glass container

The dreaded broken glass candle container is the nightmare of all premium candle lovers. If you paid upward of $30 for your soy wax scented candle the last thing you want to see is a cracked or broken container. However, it is a common problem for candle lovers, and in addition, it can happen for a variety of reasons.

Candle Glass Issues

Broken Glass Container

While we expect a glass candle container to be strong and safe for regular use, there are times when they crack and break. Breakages, when not the result of physical forces or accidents, tend to have other explanations. Why did my candle glass break?

Candle glass containers break due to changes in heat within the glass. Extreme changes in the temperature of the container can cause it to break. Examples of this change in temperature are an off-center or leaning wick or splashing water on the candle container.

Cracked Glass Container

If you have returned to a candle to discover a crack that wasn’t there before, there is the chance that someone dropped the jar, put the candle back in place, and didn’t realize there was damage. Why did my candle glass crack?

Candle glass cracks because of extreme heat, abrupt temperature changes, because there is not enough wax left to hold the heat or because the candle was placed in the freezer. Candles should not be placed in the freezer, it will do more harm than good.

Glass is susceptible to damage at high temperatures and cracks in the candle container are the first visible sign. Most of the time, you can burn a candle safely enough and not have to worry about heat damage. But, there are exceptions. They are,

a) the candle burned for too long causing excessive and prolonged temperature changes in the glass

b) there wasn’t enough wax left in the candle holder to hold the heat, leading to higher temperatures than normal.

Therefore, your candle is more at risk of cracking if you leave it burning for too long or when trying to use up the last little bit of wax. So, it is important to think about the conditions while burning the candle.

Exploding Glass Container

In rare cases, candle jars can explode. It will take some extreme conditions for the glass to get to a point where it shatters and shards go flying everywhere. Why did my glass candle explode?

Extreme changes in temperature can cause your candle glass to explode. The heat causes the glass to expand and if the temperature is uneven across the glass it creates stress and pressure and if the temperature differential is great enough the glass can explode.

You may have experienced a situation in which you were pouring something got in to a glass container and that container burst because it was far cooler than what was being put in it. This causes it to expand and contract rapidly causing it to shatter. It is rare for glass candle jars to get to this point, but it is possible.

Burning a candle for too long

If you let a candle burn continuously for long periods, the heat inside the container can build. The flame melts the wax down bit by bit and the heat extends out to the glass in the container. Eventually, there will be nowhere for the heat to go and the temperature will build. This will place greater stress on the glass and put it at risk of cracking or breaking more significantly.

Therefore, it is best not to let the candle burn for more than four hours or so. Enjoy the product in smaller sessions rather than relying on it for ongoing scent. You certainly shouldn’t let it burn overnight as this means the flame is unattended and a fire hazard.

Burning a candle that is too shallow

It is understandable if you want to burn every last bit of wax that you can within a candle to get your money’s worth from them. Some large candle jars are not cheap. But, the less wax you have to burn the greater the chance of the heat spreading to the glass and causing damage. It isn’t worth the risk.

As you can see, incorrect use of a candle can lead to cracks and eventual breakages. This leads to another important question.

Can a candle explosion cause a fire?

Yes, a candle explosion can cause a fire. It isn’t just an unattended candle flame that is a fire hazard. When a candle gets too hot or explodes from the pressure, hot wax can spit out with it. There is also no container for the flame and the wick, which could still be alight. If this lands on curtains or soft furnishings then there a big fire risk.

Can you use a candle if the glass is broken?

If you are looking at a broken candle jar with a decent amount of wax inside, you may be tempted to try and use it. Perhaps some big cracks and tiny fragments are missing, but it is pretty much structurally sound. Can you use a candle if the glass is broken?

Do not use a candle if the glass is broken. The flame heating the glass is likely to cause it to further break which can create a hazard in which you might cut yourself, get burned, or even start a fire in your home.

Even if you can still light a wick and use the container, that doesn’t mean you should.

There is a risk that continued use will put the remaining glass under more pressure, leading to further damage or an explosion. There is also the risk of molten wax pouring out of any gaps. Besides, it is no longer attractive, calming scented candle it once was.

Can I use a candle if the glass is cracked?

A small hairline crack in the glass might not seem like a big issue if there is no noticeable break or other damage to the container. You may be able to pick up the jar and light the candle as though nothing happened. Can you use a candle if the glass is cracked?

Do not use a candle if the glass is cracked. That fracture has weakened the structural integrity of the container. If you light it again and the jar gets hot, the crack could easily worsen and lead to breakage and fire risks.

How can you salvage a candle in a broken glass?

Some candle-lovers post their top-tips for extracting wax from a broken candle. However, these methods are time-consuming, potentially dangerous, and not worth the effort.

Some talk about putting the broken jar in hot water to soften the wax and then scooping it out. But, you are still handling broken glass and exposing it to more temperature changes. You would also need a suitable container and a new wick for the extracted wax. By the time you have set this up and ordered what you need, you may as well have bought a new one.

So, if you have a candle that is cracked or broken, is best to admit defeat rather than try and light it or salvage the remains. Learn from your mistakes and be more careful when burning your brand new candle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you burn a candle without a jar?

If you scooped a candle out of a broken jar, you cannot burn the candle without a new container. Candles in containers are designed to melt all the way across the surface in order to have a better scent throw. Without a container, you will only make a huge waxy mess.

Can you fix a broken candle jar?

It is not possible to fix a broken candle jar. Once a candle jar is broken the best course of action is to completely remove the candle from the jar and find a new container, or simply discard both the candle and the jar, replacing them.

Are candles in glass jars dangerous?

Candles in glass jars are not dangerous as long as they are burned using manufacturer suggested burning practices. This normally means burn at least 1 hour every use, but no more than 4 hours at a time. Trim the wick after every use and do not place candle in the freezer.


In conclusion, owning and using candles in glass containers or jars can at first glance appear to be complicated. Sometimes problems occur and sometimes accidents happen, however, candles in jars are generally considered to be safe as long as you follow some basic rules.

As long as you follow suggested burning practices, do not freeze your candles, do not use them near a sink or shower or place them near curtains you do not have much to worry about. It is also a good idea to get a heat resistant surface to place your candle containers on. Something like a piece of glass, slate or a mirror.

Just be responsible and you will have no problem enjoying your favorite scented candles!

Carl Adamson

Hi, I'm Carl Adamson, one of the founders here at Candleers. A few years ago I got really into the art and craft of candle making, initially with soy wax container candles. My friends started asking me to make candles for them and pretty soon it turned into a nice side-business. I started this website as a way to document what I've learned over the past few years and hopefully help others in the process. I still love candle making but I'm learning that what I enjoy even more is the business side of things - and for this reason I've started consulting others on how to start and grow their own candle-making businesses and side-hustles.

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