There are rumors and e-mails going around about exploding
gel candles. It is not the gel that is
unsafe, it is the way the candles are made. Here is the
truth according to several sources.
Gel wax is made of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer
resin, neither of which is an explosive. It would take an extreme
condition to make the candle explode. Gel wax heats up when burning
and thus heats the container it is in. If this hot candle is moved
to a very cold surface, then yes, it might explode, as would any
container candle that has been burning a long time.
I use Calumet/Penreco Gel
in all the candles.
The gel wax container can crack or break from the
heat. Gel candles must be in a container made for candles.
Those pretty "drink" gel candles in champagne flutes or
regular glassware are an accident waiting to happen. As stated above,
because the entire gel candle gets warm while burning, the container
heats up. If the container is not made of heatproof glass, it will
crack, break, or in extreme conditions, shatter.
I only use Anchor-Hocking heatproof glassware
made for containing candles.
Too much fragrance oil, be it synthetic or natural,
or improper blending of fragrance and wax will cause the flame to
flare up. This is true of any candle, be it gel, paraffin, soy, or
beeswax. Proper measuring is a must, any book on candle making gives
the ratio of fragrance to wax and also warns of using too much. When
the fragrance is added to the melted wax, it must be stirred well
to incorporate thoroughly. When you stir gel wax before pouring then
the resulting candle has a lot of bubbles. To avoid this, some do
not stir well enough, leaving pockets of fragrance trapped in the
wax or causing the fragrance to separate from the wax in the container.
I carefully measure the exact amount of essential
oils added to every batch of our candles and stir thoroughly before
pouring. I make an extra candle out of every batch
that I burn as a means of testing the batch. If the candle
has too many bubbles then I place them in a sunny location for a
few hours as this gently heats the wax and lets the bubbles escape.
Gel candles are supposed to have a
smaller flame than traditional candles. Trim wicks to 1/4 inch before
lighting. Do not burn gel candles for more than 2 hours at a time.
Let cool completely before moving a gel candle, do not move while
gel is liquified. Do not use if the container is cracked.
Always follow general candle burning guidelines: