Do Candles Go Out On Their Own (Risks to Avoid)

Do candles go out on their own?

Yes, but it depends on the candle.

It’s not always predictable whether a candle will go out on its own, and it’s not something you should do for safety reasons or to get the best performance from your candles.

Read on to find out why.

What Happens When Candles Burn Out on Their Own?

Candles with metal wick tabs, aka wick sustainer, will self-extinguish when left to burn out on their own.

The wick tab keeps the wick secured while also forcing the candle to self-extinguish when the candle burns down to the top of the wick tab. Below is a picture of a wick tab.

picture of a wick tab securing a wick

If you look at the picture of the wick tab above, you’ll notice the neck of the tab, which sticks up in the center. The neck of this tab is standard height, but wick tabs are available with extended necks to extinguish the candle’s flame earlier in the combustion process.

The extended wick tab can be a safer approach by forcing the flame to go out earlier, with the trade-off being more wax left unused at the end of the candle’s life.

If you’re making candles, don’t default to the tallest wick tab. You’ll want to tailor the size to your specific candle and, of course, always test.

However, this is not a foolproof process, and complications can cause the wick tab to fail in self-extinguishing.

If the wick tab is not correctly sealed either to the container or the wick, the wick can continue feeding on the fuel (wax), and it will not self-extinguish, no matter the height of the wick tab.

Container Risk

Certain containers, like glass containers, can be prone to heat issues when burning for too long.

The container can become too hot, leading to cracks or a total break.

At best, this can damage any surrounding objects and, at worst, may cause a fire.

Carbon Buildup

No matter how great the candle is, excess carbon will build up around the wick if you burn it too long.

Carbon buildup can cause the flame to flicker and the wick to mushroom, leading to problems with the flame that can become a safety risk.

Not Good for Candle Burn Quality

By letting a candle go out on its own, you’re robbing yourself of burn time from the candle. The candle will burn through the wax much faster than if you were to burn the candle properly.

Also, by burning a candle for too long, you risk drowning the wick with too much fuel, which will impair the flame.

How to Burn the Candle Properly

When you burn your candles, burn them long enough to reach a full melt pool.

A full melt pool is when the entire surface of the candle has melted.

The time it takes to reach a full melt pool depends on the candle size and how many wicks the candle has, but a broad estimation is one hour for every inch in diameter.

Once the candle reaches a full melt pool, blow it out and let it harden again. Then repeat the process the next time you want to enjoy your candle.

By burning the candle this way, you’ll get more hours of candle time, a better quality burn, and avoid candle memory issues.

Before each time you light the candle, trim the wick to remove excess carbon.

Use a Stable, Heat Resistant Surface

If possible, use a level and heat-resistant surface to place your candle in case of any accidents.

Place away from flammable objects and other heat sources.

Avoid placing the candle in an area with drafts that can disrupt the flame.