From setting the mood on self-care Sundays to creating the perfect ambiance for a romantic dinner, we can all attest to the power of candles. But what do to do when — gasp! — your precious candle jar gets a crack? Is it safe to light a candle in a cracked glass?
You shouldn’t burn a candle in a broken jar because the heat from the candle can transfer into an already weakened glass and cause it to break or shatter completely. Additionally, if the crack is big enough, the molten wax around the wick could spill out and make a very sticky mess.
Glass candle jars or holders are often quite fragile because manufacturers like to make their products thin and sleek. While this makes for a beautiful decoration, it doesn’t do much to promote durability — and we often end up with cracked jars. Let’s take a closer look at why this happens and how to handle such a wick-ed situation.
Can You Burn a Candle in a Broken Jar?
A whole, unscathed glass candle jar can usually withstand the heat from a burning wick and molten wax without issue.
But, a crack, no matter how small, means that the glass is weakened. And when you add heat to the equation, it’s only a matter of time before the glass gives in and cracks even more — or shatters.
If your glass shatters, you’ll be dealing with not only broken glass but also with hot wax and an open flame. If the wax spills on your furniture or floor, removing it can be a pain.
So, the answer is essentially no, you should never burn a candle in a cracked jar.
What Should You Do if a Glass Candle Holder Breaks?
If your glass candle holder breaks, your first priority should be safely removing the glass shards to avoid accidents. Then, if the candle wax hasn’t already spilled, you can try to salvage it and pour it into a new container.
Here’s a quick guide on handling a broken candle jar:
Step 1: Let the Wax Cool
If the candle is still lit, carefully blow out the flame and let the wax cool down for a few minutes before handling it. Don’t ever pour water on a hot wax fire! It can cause wax splatters that can seriously burn you.
Step 2: Clean the Area
If the glass jar hasn’t shattered yet, try to transfer the whole candle into a container that can hold the molten wax. A heat-resistant metal pot or a bowl should do the trick. Make sure you wear gloves to avoid accidental burns.
Things will be a little more complicated if the glass is already in pieces. In this case, start by looking around to ascertain how far the glass has spread. Then make sure your kids or pets don’t come close while you’re cleaning the space.
You should also wear thick-sole slippers to avoid stepping on any glass shards.
Step 3: Pick Up the Glass
Use tongs or gloves to pick up the bigger pieces and place them in a cardboard box. Then get a broom and a dustpan and slowly sweep up around to collect all the tiny shards.
You can also vacuum the area to be extra sure you got everything off the ground.
Step 4: Remove the Wax
Solidified wax is pretty easy to remove from nonporous surfaces like tiles. You can usually peel it off like a sticker.
Porous surfaces like fabric, however, can be a little trickier to deal with. In this case, let the wax completely harden and then scrape off as much as possible with a blunt knife.
Then use a hair dryer to heat the remaining wax and lift it off with a paper towel.
Step 5: Reuse the Wax
It would be a shame to throw away all that expensive scented wax, right? Luckily, you can actually reuse it by melting it down and pouring it into a new container.
However, this can only be done if a decent amount of uncontaminated wax is left. Please don’t try to reuse scraped-off wax, as it’d already have all sorts of dirt and germs mixed in.
Step 6: Get a New Candle Holder
Even if your favorite glass candle holder broke, you shouldn’t give up on candles. Instead, invest in some high-quality glass holders, like these clear glass votive holders (on Amazon), and take special precautions to avoid a similar situation in the future.
Why Did Your Candle Jar Crack?
Although candle jars are made to withstand heat, they can still crack under certain circumstances. Here are a few reasons why your candle jar might have cracked:
The Candle Was Lit for Too Long
Generally, the longer a candle is lit, the more wax melts and the hotter the glass gets. When all of the wax melts, the heat starts transferring to the glass and can cause it to crack under the thermal strain.
To avoid this, always blow out your candles before they burn all the way down.
The Wick Was Too Close to the Glass
Sometimes, the wick starts to float in the molten wax and gets too close to the glass. This means direct transfers of the heat from the flame to the glass, and eventually, the glass cracks.
The solution to this problem is to trim the wick to about ¼ inch. You can use a wick trimmer (on Amazon) to do this. And again, don’t let the wax melt to the bottom.
A Sudden Change in Temperature
When you put a hot candle jar under cold running water, in the freezer, or just outside in the cold, the sudden changes in temperature create stress points in the glass and can cause the glass to crack. So don’t try to speed up the cooling process by using extreme temperatures.
A Damaged Jar
Although it’s pretty uncommon, sometimes the jar might come damaged or with a manufacturing defect that causes it to crack under heat.
In that case, that’s not your fault, and you should report the situation to the company.