Your Scented Candles May Be Cute But Please Don't Leave Them Burning For Too Long

Everything in moderation.

Cover image via @lifeofadoctor (TikTok) & Skylar Baldry Marking (Facebook)

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A woman on TikTok had the shock of her life one morning when she discovered that her nose had a black powdery substance coming out of it after sleeping with a scented candle burning all night

In response to the video, TikTok user @lifeofadoctor explains that the black powder is actually soot, which is a deep black powdery or flaky substance consisting largely of carbon. 

In a separate incident in October 2020, a mum shared her scary experience when she found her son's oxygen levels deteriorating. She recalled that another mum of a baby she had been babysitting that week had asked her if her kid had played with crayons because it looked like he had stuck a black crayon up his nose.

She wrote that a doctor later told her the incidents were a result of leaving candles burning for too long. The mum then took to Facebook to warn others that burning candles for long hours can be harmful for the lungs, especially for those aged three and below.

In the TikTok, @lifeofadoctor shares that leaving scented candles burning over their stated time produces soot that will eventually enter your lungs and cause damage

Why does this happen? To get slightly scientific, the combination of carbon particles in the wax (that aren't completely burned) with a bit of steam is what causes the smoke. This then produces a black substance from the flame once it's released into the air.

According to the US National Candle Association, candle soot is not actually considered a health concern and is likened to the type given off from a kitchen stove.

However, burning candles does release particles into the air that can enter your lungs over time, which this study shows isn't great for inhaling. Simply put, breathing too much of any type of smoke can potentially damage your health.

Kathy LaVanier, chief operating officer of Renegade Candle Company, says that candles are usually optimised to burn for three to four hours, and leaving them for too long is like letting your car overheat.

But aside from damaging your health over time, candle soot can often get all over your appliances, walls, or cabinets.

So it's important to put them out and not leave them burning for too long.

According to candle experts, here are some other tips on how to reduce soot:

– Keep candles away from drafty areas, like air vents, fans, or open windows.
When a breeze causes a candle flame to bounce around, the size changes and will draw oil up the wick at an inconsistent rate. When too much oil is drawn into the wick and the flame size shrinks, the extra oil is expelled as soot into the air.

– Trim the wicks.
If the flame looks too big or is bouncing around, despite being away from a windy spot, then it's probably best to trim the wick. 

– Use a candle warmer instead.
A candle warmer does not require a flame to burn but it still lets you enjoy the scent. Plus, it's much safer to use. Here are several minimalist options on Lazada and Shopee.

Candle warmers use electricity to warm the wax and do not require any fire.

Image via pinkoi

Candles make the home so much cosier, just make sure you're burning them in moderation! Check out this list of local brands offering aesthetic ones:

Or you can even make your own at this shop in PJ:

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