Candles add fragrance to a room, and the flickering flame provides a pleasant ambiance. Learn how to effectively and safely extinguish the flame. Fire is dangerous, so please use caution when using lit candles in your home, especially if pets or children are present.
Blow It Out
The first -- and probably the most obvious way to extinguish the flame -- is to blow out the candle. It's effective, and it works every time. However, the problem with blowing it out is that the candle is still exposed to air and, therefore, is likely to continue to smoke and smolder, erasing whatever pleasant scent the candle gave off; instead, replacing it with a smoky "just-had-a-birthday-party" smell. While blowing out the candle works, it's not the best-smelling method.
Snuff It Out
Another way to extinguish the flame of a candle is to use a snuffer. A snuffer -- also called an extinguisher -- is a small metal, cone- or bell-shaped "hat" that goes down on top of the wick and flame, which causes the flame to go out. Extinguishers, or snuffers, are still available and used today, even though they are often considered antiques. They are fairly inexpensive and can be found at most places candles are sold or through online retailers.
If you don't have a candle snuffer, no need to run out and buy one: Just make your own. Create a slightly-larger-than-thimble-sized shape out of foil. If you use a large enough sheet of aluminum foil, you can twist up one end to create a long handle for the snuffer, so you won't get your fingers close to the flame you're extinguishing.
Snuffers work best on narrow or taper candles because they can cover the entire top of the wax area to deprive the flame of oxygen.
Suffocate the Flame
Another way to extinguish a candle is to put a lid on it. Many candles sold today come in jars with matching lids, so, if you keep the lid, it's ready to use when it's time to put out the flame. Set the lid down on top of the jar, and you don't have to press it down or snap it shut; just set it on top. The lid closes off the candle to any new air, so the flame uses up all the oxygen in its enclosed environment and dies. This method causes very little smoke or smoldering, and any smoke that is emitted when the flame goes out is contained under the lid and not stinking up the room.
If the lid was accidentally thrown away, fear not. Select a dish or plate with a base that's larger than the candle jar's opening and place it on top. Be careful to not not use plastic or a cherished dish that you don't want to mar with soot.
If you still need to extinguish a candle, and all else fails, eventually the flame will reach the end of the wick and go out by itself. But if the flame gets out of control, call the fire department or use a fire extinguisher. Personal safety is always more important than the candle.
Kristen R. Watterson
Kristen Watterson is a professional graphic designer, and illustrator, and has been working in the design and print industry for the past 16 years. She started writing professionally in 2008, with work published locally in newspapers and magazines in the Tulsa area. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design in 2004. She's also certified by the state of Oklahoma to teach secondary art and biology.