Welcome to www.GelCandlemaking.com!
Gel Candle Scare Stories 


The purpose of this website is to educate people, not to scare them.  But truthfully, there are unfortunately many gel candles on the market that are being made improperly.  This has caused some problems in the past, and once in awhile you'll hear a "horror" story about a gel candle catching fire or "exploding".  The thing to remember is, many times these stories end up being exaggerated after they've been passed around and re-told by so many people, and many times they contain inaccurate information. 

Here is an example of a common "chain letter" type e-mail that has been circulating around the web recently and has made many consumers and candlemakers very concerned:

Subject: Gel Candles 

You don't use Gel Candles, do you? I received this from a friend of mine and wanted to make you aware of this terrible episode with candles. 

Thought this might be of some news to you! 

Hi all, my former secretary had a terrible thing happen to her and her family last week, and I wanted to share it with all of you so that you could be warned and warn your friends and family as well. 

She had a gel candle burning in her bathroom...it exploded and caught her house on fire...the house burned down and they have lost everything. The fire marshal told her that this is not the first incident where a gel candle has exploded and caused a fire. He said that the gel builds up a gas, and often times it explodes and sets fire to the room it is in, which is what happened to her. The fire was so hot it melted the smoke alarm, and they did not discover the fire until there was an explosion, which was her toilet blowing up, and then it was too late...the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames. 

Smoke damage and water damage have destroyed what wasn't destroyed by fire. I know that there are roomies and friends that I don't have on this list because I can't remember how to spell their screen names...please pass this along to anyone I missed. I would not want this to happen to anyone else. 

Her family is devastated. All their mementos and everything of value and meaning are gone. I'm not trying to bring anyone down...just a friendly warning to all of you about the use of gel candles left unattended. 

Thanks and take care! 

NOTE: Marty and I know a lady who loves the gel candles. She had one burning on her mantle and it caught fire just like in the message above. 

She was at home at the time and saw it happen and grabbed the candle to keep it from setting her home on fire and it came apart in her hand. She saved her home but suffered 3rd degree burns to her hand and 3 fingers! 

Please, if you or anyone you know have these candles, don't light them, they are dangerous. 

Please, pass this on. 
God Bless 

I can't tell you how many times I have received forwarded copies of this exact e-mail letter from worried candlemakers writing to ask me if this story is true!  I'm sure this is not the only one going around, but it's the most recent and the most well known story.  Here is my personal response:


That e-mail that you sent is a chain letter type of mail that's been circulating around the web for months now.  I don't know where it started or who wrote it exactly, and there is no way to know or prove if there's any truth to it.  In fact that letter is even listed on the Urban Legends & Web lore site, check out this link:

I do believe that it is definitely an exaggeration if not total fiction.  Gel does not produce any "gas" that I'm aware of, and I don't see any way it could possibly "blow up" a toilet.  The problem here is misinformation.  It's not that gel candles produce some kind of gas in the air, the problem is that some gel candles are not made properly and with the correct type of supplies, so they can be unsafe.  The most common cause of a gel fire is use of the wrong type of fragrance oil in the gel.  Polar fragrance oils can separate from the gel and form pockets, which can cause the candle to burn improperly or possibly flare up in spots.  If the oil is a low flash point, it is more likely to flare up, and it also lowers the overall flash point of the finished product to an unsafe level. 

Also, gel does burn hotter than regular wax, so great care must be taken to use only thick, quality heat resistant glassware that won't shatter when burning.  Candles don't "explode" so to speak, but they can crack or shatter if they get too hot and the glassware is too thin.  The third problem is, even as it mentions in that story, that people are leaving their candles burning unattended in another room.  Consumers need to start reading the caution labels and taking it seriously. 

Gel candlemakers need to study and research and be sure to use only the correct types of supplies so they produce safe gel candles, and they need to test burn their products before putting them on the market.  It's unfortunate that there are so many unsafe candles on the market that it's giving all candles a bad reputation.  But I have begun creating a website in hopes of reaching the gel candlemakers and the public with the safety information they need to know, and hopefully the word will be spread that these candles can be safe as long as the right guidelines are followed.  The site isn't finished yet, but if you'd like to take a look at it I'm sure the information I have there so far will be very helpful.  The address is:  www.gelcandlemaking.com. 

If you have any other questions or if I can help in any way just let me know!

Doneen St.John
BITTER CREEK CANDLE SUPPLY - www.candlesupply.com
Complete line of supplies for making candles, soap, incense, bath & body, gel candles & more! 
THE CANDLE CAULDRON™ - www.candlecauldron.com
The complete candlemaker's resource online, everything you want to know about candles! 
LEAD FREE CANDLES . ORG - www.leadfreecandles.org
Dedicated to public awareness on candle and wick product safety!
U.S. ORDERS: 1-877-635-8929 (1-877-MELT WAX) 
LOCAL & FOREIGN CALLS: (715) 278-3900 
TECH SUPPORT & FRONT SHOP: (715) 278-3869 
FAX: (715) 278-3904

Here is another response to this folk lore/hoax e-mail on Snopes.com.
The following link is to a very well written article on this subject, that basically confirms
and backs up my own statements.  The article is written by Barbara Mikkelson, who
I do not believe is even a candlemaker, but she does a brilliant job of dispelling 
some of these rumors in her article!   This is a must-read! 

Now I am not a scientist or a chemist, so I make no guarantees.  I can only go by the information I've been given by professionals in the industry, and by a combination of personal experience, the experience of other candlemakers who share info with me, and a little bit of common sense.  The opinions stated above are only my personal opinion at the time being, but I will continue to research and check into these things, and any new information I find will be added to this site.  If there are real true "horror" stories that can be verified or proven not to just be "web lore", then we all need to know about them so I will definately post them here if I find any! 

I certainly don't know everything, and there's always a possibility that I could be wrong about some things, so I encourage everyone to study on their own and double check the information you've learned here with other sources.  I do my best to research and provide the most accurate and up to date information I can, but I am always learning new things and am open to any new information that I come across.  I welcome your feedback, opinions and experiences, and I am always glad to try and answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability.  If I do not know the answer I will try to find it so we can both learn more together!

NFPA Fact Sheet on Candle Safety
NFPA Fact Sheet on Fire Extinguishers
NFPA Fact Sheet on Smoke Alarms


We recently received the following information from Penreco:

From: Potter, Ed [mailto:Edward.Potter@penreco.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 9:39 AM
To: 'BitterCreek - Rich Hansen'
Subject: NFPA statement on Gel Candles

Dear Rich,
I wanted you to be one of the first to see this recently issued 
statement by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 
regarding gel candles. The NFPA is a non-profit, non-affiliated 
association dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of fire and 
other hazards on the quality of life. They are the publisher of the 
National Electric Code and other Internationally accepted safety 

About 8 weeks ago the NFPA came to Penreco and the NCA in an effort 
to learn more about gel candles as many of their fire protection 
associations had been questioned about "exploding gel candles". The 
NFPA spent some time learning as much as they could about the product 
and although the NFPA is not allowed to make recommendations on 
consumer products they found that gel candles are no more likely to 
cause a fire than a traditional wax candle and essentially found no 
real evidence of exploding gel candles.

I've attached the links to their home page and the report for you 
review. Please feel free to use it as you may.

Take Care,



My thoughts:

Woohoo! It's about darn time some authorities on fire stepped in and 
started shedding some truthful light on the subject! I say we all 
spread this all over the web and start an email chain letter just 
like the exploding myth one! That mail sure got the rumor spread that 
gel is bad, so using the power of the web, we could spread the truth 
just as wide! Whaddyall say huh? I think we should all send this 
news to everyone we know, and tell them all to do the same! 
Eventually if people keep passing it on, it will hopefully get spread 
all over the web just like the bad letter did!

Happy Candlemaking,

Doneen - Site Owner




For the best in gel candle supplies click here!
Bitter Creek... Your Gel Candle Supply Headquarters!


Sponsored by

This site designed and created by Doneen St.John.
All contents, graphics & page design property of:
w w w . G e l C a n d l e m a k i n g . c o m
Copyright © 2001.  All rights reserved.