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Can Candles Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? (And Ways To Prevent it)

Can Candles Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? (And Ways To Prevent it)

Making use of candles has a feel of its own. We all love to set up our homes and rooms with some level of ambiance. You want your rooms to have pleasant scents and look calming. The effect is beautiful, and we all love adorable sights.

Scented candles have become a part of what we use to set the mood. But when you start to make use of candles, what happens to the burning flames. Do candles cause carbon monoxide poisoning? Where do they go? Do they contaminate the air? Do candles put you at risk of serious health concerns?

These are the questions that arise with the use of candles. You do not want to put your health at risk to get some ambiance. Your safety is essential. This article answers the above questions and clears your doubts.

Read: Can Candles Explode? (And What Causes Them to Explode?)

Can Candles Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The first thing to know is that candles produce carbon monoxide. So, a candle can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if you take the right steps, you can prevent this from happening. This is major because the level of carbon monoxide a candle produces is measurable. It is unlikely to be harmful to your health if you do not allow it to continue.

The simple answer is yes, it can. Regardless of whether a candle is scented or not, it produces the same level of carbon monoxide. So, leaving a candle burning in a room with closed doors and windows is risky. When you do so, the burning flames cannot escape the room. They become part of the air you breathe.

Here are two reasons why you should never leave a candle burning in a closed room:

  • The first is to prevent a fire outbreak from happening. If the candle were to tip over and a fire breaks out, that will be tragic.
  • Secondly, a candle burning in a closed room will allow carbon monoxide to build up. That can potentially leave you with serious health issues.

You should stay extremely careful about carbon monoxide. This is necessary because your senses cannot detect it. You can be sitting right in it, and you won’t know. So, the best way to avoid it is to stay away from items that produce it.

What Can Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

A common form of carbon monoxide is the exhaust from vehicles. Typically, any form of exhaust refers to carbon monoxide. Several things in your home can create carbon monoxide. They include your generator, grills, and any fire which burns in your home.

If there is an item that you power with gas or fire in your home, such an entity will produce carbon monoxide. This is why you have to be extremely careful when around these things. Carbon monoxide is poisonous, but it poisons you slowly.

Carbon monoxide gets into your body through the veins which bring in oxygen. Since blood moves through your veins always, an introduction of carbon monoxide can affect you. Carbon monoxide is far stronger compared to oxygen. As a result, when it gets into the body, it pushes oxygen asides and starts to weaken you.

Read: Can Candles Set off a Smoke Alarm?

This is not a thing to take lightly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that carbon monoxide poisoning kills up to 400 people a year. Although this means the death rate is meager, you still need to exercise some care.

There are different symptoms to look out for. If you regularly breathe in open flames and you suddenly start feeling lightheaded, you should see your doctor. Other symptoms are flu, but one which doesn’t involve high temperature. If your memory is also failing you, you may want to see your doctor.

However, you should know these are common symptoms. As such, one isn’t enough reason to conclude you have carbon monoxide poisoning. But, if you are having multiple at once, you have a valid reason to see someone on that basis.

Do Candles Release Carbon Dioxide?

The simple answer is yes. One can understand this through how candles work. The candle makes light by making heat. To do this, there is a chemical reaction known as combustion. During combustion, the wax (derived from petroleum) makes a reaction with the oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide.

The amount of carbon dioxide candles produce depends on the number of candles. If you burn a paraffin candle for as long as an hour, you may have about 10 grams of carbon dioxide. This may take a long time to become harmful, but it’s still a valid concern.

Candles produce both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. This is why you should burn fewer candles.

Is It Bad To Burn Candles at Home?

You can burn candles at home. But when you do so, ensure there is proper ventilation. This will give the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide a means of escape out of the room or house. That reduces the harm it can cause.

Things may have downsides. But that doesn’t they are bad. Burning Candles still serve several purposes. You cannot do away with those. It will only help you do it moderately. One such thing you should not do is to sleep with your candles on.


Is It Dangerous To Sleep With Candles On?

People who sleep with candles do it for different reasons. Out of these reasons, two are common. For some, it’s the pleasant scent that comes with the candles. They love the scents and want to sleep knowing it’s radiating the room. For others, they find it visually relaxing. Putting on scented candles sparkles a space and brings some sense of calmness to it.

However, you should not place these reasons above your safety. Remember, once you sleep, you can no longer smell the scents or see the calming effect. The following reasons will help you understand the danger of sleeping with candles on.

1. What If the Glass Breaks?

Glass is a common material that serves as a candle holder. Although glass is not quite flammable, it breaks when it gets too hot. If you leave your candle burning and it gets too hot, the glass can shatter. This can cause more damage than just the glass breaking. It may inflict bodily injury on you and affect other items in your room.

Manufacturers understand the possibility of this. You may have seen writings warning against putting on candles for more than four hours. The warning is both for your safety and to avail the manufacturer of liability. Leaving your candle on while sleeping puts you at a greater risk.

2. Leaking Wax

In cases where the glass shatters, the wax can leak. Wax may not cause a fire outbreak. But it can damage the surface on which the candle stands. If you were awake, you can conveniently clean up the wax before it dries up. Because once it dries up, it hardens and becomes difficult to remove. You may have to scuff the surface while removing it.

The glass may not even shatter, and damage will still occur. This can happen if the glass is sitting on a surface that cracks easily. If the glass gets too hot, it can break the surface and cause some damage.

3. Gets Knocked Over with Ease

It doesn’t take much to knock over a candle. If you have pets at home, this can be the case. Your kitten or dog may jump onto the table you put the candle on. Within a blink of an eye, things can get worse. Also, if you live in a place where earthquakes happen frequently, they can topple your candle.

Just like small children, you cannot say what earthquakes or your pets will do. More so, you cannot control what they do when you are asleep. It may seem like you are safe, but what if you aren’t? Events like this take place quickly. So, you should stay safe.

4. Toxic Candles Are Not Healthy

Perhaps you do not know the candle you slept with is toxic. This can give you some health issues. Some candles, including those made of paraffin, release chemicals that contaminate the air. Air pollution can affect your respiratory system. You sleep with candles, not knowing you are harming yourself.

The risk is even higher if you shut your windows. Poor ventilation with burning candles can make carbon monoxide more harmful.

Read: Do Candles Burn Out On Their Own?

5. Fire Outbreak

A fire outbreak can start even when you do not expect it. It escalates faster when you are not present to take it out. Someone may have told you not to place a candle close to anything. The warning is to prevent a fire outbreak.

Keep your candle away from flammable materials. Several nearby objects can catch fire while you sleep. These include your curtains, clothes, lampshades, and a few others. Fire crawls from one item to another, and it may be too late when you wake up.

Ways To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

There are protective measures you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The steps help you stay healthy and prevent tragic occurrences from happening. This will also help you know when there is a high amount of carbon monoxide in your environment.

1. Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector

One of the best preventive measures you have is a carbon monoxide detector. You can get carbon monoxide from a store near you. The sensor helps you to detect when there is a harmful amount of carbon monoxide. If you have a few floors in your home, you can get one detector for every floor. 

It takes time before a candle’s carbon monoxide becomes harmful. So once the detector starts to alert you, you can quickly take action to solve the problem. This may include blowing out candles and opening more windows. Remember, you should ensure you properly ventilate your house if you want to use candles safely.

It will also help if you do not burn many candles at once. You may love the scents of candles, but you have to throw in caution. Be moderate about it. You have to strike a balance between your health and you love for ambiance. You can burn a few candles at once, but ensure they are small candles.

2. Do Not Sleep With Candles On

You need to put safety first. Sleeping with your candles on can be dangerous in so many ways. It can result in a fire outbreak or cause bodily injury. It can damage the surface you place your candles, and you will incur extra expenses. The best way to avoid this is to prevent it.

You can put on your candles, but put them off when you are about to sleep. After all, you cannot enjoy the pleasantness of the candles during sleep. Safety first.

Read: Can Candles Be Painted? (And Glass Candle Holders?)


Candles produce carbon monoxide. Although they have a measurable level, they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, if you do not take precautions. It is unlikely, but it can happen. This is why you need to understand how to use your candles safely. You do not have to put your life at risk while enjoying some ambiance. This article helps you to know how you can do that correctly.