Candle Labels 101: Understanding Product Claims & Safety Instructions

Whether you’re a long-time candle lover or a burning beginner, you may have a few questions when reading product labels on candles. Here’s what you need to know when selecting a candle, and the tools to help you follow manufacturers’ guidelines safely.

Label Statement: Made with a Lead-Free Wick 

What You Need to Know: Numerous products available on the market advertise their candles as being made with a lead-free wick. While having a wick that is free of lead is critical to consumer safety, there is no difference between candles sold in the United States that advertise their wicks as lead-free and those that do not. Why? Because there no lead wick candles sold in the United States. Lead wicks have been officially banned in the United States since 2003, and before then they were primarily limited to inexpensive imported candles. National Candle Association members voluntarily agreed to not use lead wicks in 1974, and have long supported the elimination of lead wick use.

Label Statement: Hand-Poured Candle 

What You Need to Know: Several candle manufacturers, especially smaller brands, may tout that their candles are hand-poured. This simply means that the melted wax is mixed with any fragrance and poured into the candle vessel by hand. Hand-poured candles are typically made in smaller batches and may have a more artisan feel. Regardless of the manufacturing technique used, all reputable candle makers observe rigid quality standards.

Label Statement: Burn Time 

A candle’s burn time is the estimated amount of time your candle will burn for. While many factors determine a candle’s burn time including the type of wax used and fragrance load, in general, the larger the candle, the longer the burn time will be.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not burn a candle for longer than recommended. In general, it’s advised not to burn a candle for longer than 4 hours at a time. Burning a candle for longer may cause carbon to collect on the wick and cause the flame to get too big and the candle to smoke. It’s also best to discard a candle when there is about a half-inch of wax left in the container.

Label Statement: Multi-Wick Candle 

Candles with multiple wicks have become popular in recent years as the demand for larger candles has increased. Having multiple wicks can help ensure a more even burn and prevent tunneling. Avoid candles that are extra wide and only have one wick as they may not produce enough heat to melt the wax evenly across the candle.

What to Look for When it Comes to Candle Safety 

When shopping, beware of purchasing a candle with no safety label. Reputable candle manufacturers follow industry standards, and this may mean that other important fire safety design guidelines are not being met.

The National Candle Association has played a leading role in the development of industry standards outlined by the ASTM F2058 Standard Specification for Candle Fire Safety Labeling. Under these standards, every candle should have a cautionary label or tag listing three key rules for candle fire-safety. The following graphic safety symbols should be included on your candle’s label:

Burn within sight: A reminder to keep an eye on all burning candles, and extinguish a candle before leaving a room.

Keep away from combustibles: A cue to pay attention to your surroundings. Keep burning candles away from  furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, and other flammable objects.

Keep away from children: Make sure your candles are placed up high and unreachable to children and pets.

For more information about product safety, visit our Learn the Label page.