Will A Candle Burn Itself Out?

will a candle burn itself out

With so many people around the world using candles every day you have to wonder how many people just let their candles burn out on their own. Most people have been guilty of it at one time or another, even me. However, is this something people should do? How risky is it? Let’s take a look at what could happen if you let a candle burn out.

Will a candle burn itself out? Leaving a candle burning will most likely mean that it will gradually burn itself out. In most cases, for candles to burn on their own, a self-extinguishing wick, for example, a metal tab should exist. However, allowing the candle to burn on its own is dangerous and should be avoided.

Particularly for candles you bought at your local store, and for which there is no evidence of the type of wick used, you can not be certain that the flame will self-terminate.

Therefore, it is not advisable for any candle to burn itself out and homeowners should not allow for a candle to burn for more than 4 hours, which is the time proposed by most candle providers, nowadays.

Leaving A Candle Burning

Can you let a candle burn out? Although many homeowners may let their candles burn out, there are several dangers associated with such a practice. After hours and hours of burning, the jar where the candle is placed can become too hot. That excessive heat may cause it to break or even explode.

The initiation of a fire or serious damage to nearby items, like furniture may be the result of such heat gathering around, and unfortunately, severe damage may occur to the owner’s health, as well.

There have been cases of people suffering from burns or eye damage due to a candle’s jar explosion.

Moreover, in the event that the glass of the jar containing your candle breaks down, the melted wax will normally leak out. That wax may stain the surfaces underneath it and there is little that can be done to clean them up afterward. For all those reasons, never let a candle burn out.

Why can’t you burn a candle for more than 4 hours? Burning a candle for more than 4 hours should be avoided since carbon will collect on the wick and it will become unstable. In turn, the flame will get larger than normal and your candle will start to smoke. That smoke poses a danger to health since dangerous soot will be released into the air.

Therefore, it is important to extinguish a candle just before the four-hour mark and allow it to cool for at least two hours before relighting it.

When To Stop Using A Candle

When should you stop using a candle? Stop using a candle when there is about half an inch of wax left at the bottom. If you keep burning the candle past this point, the flame will get too close to the base of the container or jar. That may cause heat damage to both the surface the candle is placed upon and the container itself.

Why shouldn’t you burn a candle all the way down? Allowing the candle to burn all way down may cause serious damage. Apart from the obvious danger of fire, certain candle waxes can be really toxic and emit hazardous chemicals and substances in the air we breathe. Particularly in a closed space where no windows are present can cause serious issues.

Some of these health issues are respiratory problems. Particularly if you already suffer from some type of health issue, like asthma, the danger of deteriorating your current condition is, unfortunately, more than possible.

Moreover, as the candle keeps burning, it is possible that the melted wax catches fire, as well. That will cause a quick flutter and fire blaze for a couple of seconds.

However, particularly if left unsupervised, this tiny blaze is capable of spreading the fire around.

Particularly if you have placed the jar near an inflammable source, the danger of an unexpected fire is quite prominent. Avoid placing a candle near curtains, bedspreads, pillows, and cushions or near drafty and open areas.

Candle Burning Out Risks

What happens when you let a candle burn out on its own? There are numerous risks associated with unsupervised candles. Irreversible damage could occur and this is why you should never let a candle burn out or go to sleep with a candle burning anywhere in the house. To start with, the candle could be accidentally knocked over.

Even if you live alone, a pet or large insect, or even a sudden event like an earthquake may knock over the candle.

That may lead to the initiation of a fire, particularly if the candle is placed near an inflammable surface.

And that’s not all. Direct wind or a blowing curtain may also, result in an accident if the candle is left to burn on its own, particularly unattended.

Besides all that, allowing a candle to burn on its own while you are presently doing something else, or just taking your evening nap can be really harmful to your health.

Why is that? Because burning candles can emit chemicals and other air pollutants, including carbon monoxide.

Although the chances of such a thing happening are relatively low, there have been reported cases of poisoning in the past.

What If You Remember A Candle Burning

What to do if you realize that you left a candle burning? If you realize that you left a candle burning with no one else home, the best option is to get back as soon as possible. It is a good idea to ask a friend or neighbor to check the candle once in a while, provided that it is placed near a window.

If you have a spare key somewhere secure, you could also, avoid such problems in the future. You could simply have a friend or family member blow out the candle for you if they know where you keep the key.

It is also, really important to always burn a candle on a heat-resistant surface. For example, a kitchen countertop, dining room table, or stovetop are great choices. You can also get glass table toppers or mirrors that are quite a heat resistant and make great places to put your candle centerpiece.

Alternatively, purchasing a candle holder or metal plate will provide a safer surface for the candle to burn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can candles go out on their own?

Candles can go out on their own, however, letting a candle go out on its own is dangerous. When a candle is allowed to burn all the way down it can overheat the container and the surface it is sitting on. It can cause damage, break the container, produce soot and even start a fire.

Is it safe to leave candles burning overnight?

It is not safe to leave a candle burning overnight. Candles can begin burning irregularly after a while and produce soot, if a candle produces soot all night while you are sleeping it can cause respiratory problems. There have been multiple cases of people ending up in the ER from candles producing soot in their sleep.

How long should you let candle burn?

You should let a candle burn for a minimum of 1 hour but no longer than 4 hours. You want the wax to melt from one edge of the container to the other, but you do not want the wick to become mushroomed. In addition. let the candle cool for at least 2 hours before relighting it.

Why can’t you burn a candle for more than 4 hours?

You can’t let a candle burn for more than 4 hours because carbon begins to build upon the candle wick. When carbon builds up on the wick, it is called “mushrooming”. It makes the candle burn a large hot flame that can produce soot and heat the candle and container unevenly.

Should you pour wax out of candle?

Don’t pour wax out of a candle if it appears to be burning regularly. However, if your wick seems to be drowning in the molten wax you may need to remove some of the molten wax and wax around the edges of the container. This will allow the candle to burn properly again.


In conclusion, it is never a good idea to leave a candle burning and a candle that is burning itself out could end up causing damage or completely destroying your home.

As mentioned above, allowing a candle to burn on its own can be dangerous. However, in some cases, homeowners may have forgotten to blow off their candles before leaving the house. This is why it is important to have contingency plans for such events. Like a hidden key that a friend or family member can use to get in and blow the candle out.

The last line of defense for a forgotten candle that is burning away is to make sure you get heat-resistant surfaces to place your candles on. What if you don’t remember leaving a candle burning at all?

Having a heat-resistant surface for the candle to rest on is your last line of defense.

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.

Recent Posts