Do Candles Produce Soot, And Do They Harm Your Health?

March 06, 2023

Do Candles Produce Soot, And Do They Harm Your Health?

Ever wondered what those black markings that show up after you light up a fire?

Those are known as soots.

And while they may seem harmless, there are actually some properties in soot that are a cause for health concerns.

Not to mention, they’re not very great and helpful in maintaining a clean and safe home.

So before starting a fire or even lighting up that small candle, let’s take a deep look first at what soot is and what it can possibly do to your health, as well as the different sources where you can get soot from.

Burning candle

What is soot?

In simple terms, soot is basically a byproduct of unfinished or incomplete combustion of organic (meaning carbon-containing) materials or residues such as fuel oil, wood, plastics, and even other household materials.

The alarming components of soot are found in its physical properties, which are mostly composed of black or brown powdered texture material, some of the chemical prints that can be found are carcinogens which include cadmium, chromium, and arsenic.

Huge Burning Log

Are soots dangerous?

As mentioned earlier, soots carry carcinogens that are harmful to the human body. Carcinogens are substances that promote and progress the formation of cancer.

Soots bring danger to our health by entering our body either through digestion or inhalation, including passing through our skin and eyes. These toxic substances can cause a variety of complications which include asthma, coronary heart disease, bronchitis, and cancer, with those who already have respiratory complications at higher risk.

Studies from EPA (The United States Environmental Protection Agency) show that yearly an average of 40,000 people die in the U.S. due to soot compared to other air pollutants while also causing 30,000 asthma attacks every year as well.

Burning Charcoal

How to prevent and get rid of soot?

Now for some good news.

The good news is that while soot pose some danger to our health, there are a few quick and easy ways to prevent and get rid of them.

How to prevent soot

If a fire breaks out, the properties and chemicals of your household furniture can become a possible source of soot when lit up. So here are a few things worth considering to protect yourself from soot:
  • Check the quality type of your candles
    • Wick type - the more wicks, the larger the fire, the bigger the soot
    • Check the chemicals or ingredients used for making the candle
  • Before lighting a candle, make sure your home is well ventilated
  • Go to alternative candle options such as LED lights or a candle warmer lamp
  • Use a reliable air vent and filter system

How to clean up soot

But what do you do when there’s already a soot in your home? No worries, there’s a fix for that! Here are simple ways to clean up soot in your home:
  • Make sure you’re wearing protective clothing, not necessarily heavy duty but a simple mask, goggles, and gloves will work
  • Clean thoroughly! A simple scrub isn’t going to work. Make sure to use the correct cleaning products

Candles on table with statue

What about candles?

Before we wrap this up, I know you have a question that’s running through your mind:

If soots are dangerous, does that mean candles are dangerous?

Well, yes and no.

The danger of soot varies case-to-case, meaning depending on the situation and set-up, candle soot can or can’t cause any severe damage to your health.
For example:

  • If you use candles sparingly and not on a daily basis, then no, there’s little chance for you to get any health risks from candle soot
  • If you do use candles regularly but have great ventilation or follow any of the tips above for preventing candle soot, then there’s also not much threat with soot there
  • If you don’t have any pre-existing respiratory condition, then there’s also little risk that comes with using a candle

Burning Logs


That sums up our topic!

While soots may seem harmless at first, continuous and large consumption of it can cause serious health concerns including asthma, bronchitis, and even cancer.

However, there’s no need to panic as there are different ways for you to protect yourself as well as how you can get rid of soot if there is any in your home.

Also, there’s no need to worry about candles as they are still as safe as they can be; just take note of the different tips we shared on how you can protect yourself from the dangers of soot while using candles. Also, if you are ever in doubt, there are some great alternatives and tools you can use so you can still use your candles without exposing yourself to soot, just like candle warmer lamps!

Found this article helpful? Make sure to check out our other blogs for more insightful information on candles, candle warmer lamps, and other lighting products.

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