The popularity of candles has grown exponentially over the last decade, especially with the advent of scented ones. Not only does the soft diffused light create mood and atmosphere, but they fill the room with the soft fragrance of one’s favorite scent. The variety of available scents is endless, from berries, to floral, musk, vanilla, and lavender; candles are used to hide cooking odors and even illicit moods of relaxation.
Find candles in various shapes and sizes as well as unscented ones that are best used when serving dinner. Light unscented candles when serving and eating food to make sure that you are able to smell and enjoy the prepared feast. Votives, tapers, pillars are loose candles while glass and ceramic jars are available filled with scented-wax delights.
While the popularity of candles has increased, so have the incidents of house fires caused by candles left unattended. Enjoy these scented wonders, but also burn them safely and responsibly. Always burn candles within sight. Keep the flame low by keeping the wick low – before lighting the candles, cut the wick down which will also prolong its longevity and make it burn more evenly. Create a little cup inside the candle by pouring off a little wax right after lighting. The candle will then burn down, not out and spill over.
Always burn a candle on a glass, ceramic, or metal holder. Do not use plastic as it can melt from the warm wax.
If you are worried about the safety of burning candles, one option are flameless luminaries which provide the flicker of a candle while emitting a fragrance. Battery operated, flames candles are a great, no fire alternatives to real candles and even available with a timer. Flameless candles are unscented.
Another alternative to scented candles are diffusers. Fragrant oil is contained in a glass jar and wood sticks are placed in the jar which absorbs the oil. The fragrance is emitted slowly through the sticks. The smell is subtle and lasts a long time.
Create a centerpiece of dried greenery that smells good to boot with potpourri. This fire safe alternative stays fragrant for weeks, sometimes months. Like the diffusers, there are room sprays, similar to air fresheners with a lot less aerosol.
Be careful with fragrant plug-ins. The technology has come a long way, but at one time the housing caused a few electrical fires from being plugged in too long, getting overheated, and causing a spark. Always watch these plug-ins, they do smell great and keep a room scented for a long time.
For those who love the light candles, safety is the key to enjoying the fragrance and atmosphere created by the soft diffused light. If you use matches to light your candles, make sure the match is completely out before tossing away. A garbage can fire will block out the vanilla scent. Butane lighters are quick and easy, won’t burn your fingers, and allow you use a candle all the way to the bottom.
Enjoy all the scented choices available, but do so responsibly.
By Eugenia Orr