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 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: