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Working with Wax Safety

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by CJ Cook   [ updated Mar 24, 2012, 5:58 PM ]

by Nancy Reid

Like any artistic endeavor or craft, spills can occur. Candle making is not a really messy craft and with a little thought accidents can be prevented and mishaps can be controlled.

Working with wax is just like working with cooking oil. At temperatures below 212 degrees Fahrenheit it is fairly stable and does not ignite. At higher temperatures it starts to vaporize and can ignite. This will occur at different temperatures depending on the type of was used. It is best to treat all waxes at temperatures above 212 F as though they are highly flammable. 

When heating wax:

  • Use a double broiler unless you need to heat about 212 F.

  • If you must heat higher that 212 F, and you use an open pan, never leave the wax unattended. Raise the temperature very slowly monitoring it continuously with a thermometer to preventing over heating.

Should your wax catch fire:

  • Switch off the heat immediately and cover the flames with a metal lid or a damp cloth

  • Do not attempt to move the pan

  • Do not try to put it out with water

Preventing accidents:

  • Designate an area where your equipment and materials are at hand and you have enough space to work without bumping into things.

  • Cover rugs or carpets or remove them completely.

  • Wear comfortable, old, snug fitting clothing. Loose clothing tends to knock things over.

  • Do not leave pan handles sticking out from the heat source, molten wax scalds, be sure children and pets are not near the area.

  • Never pour liquid wax down drains, as it cools it will harden and block the drain.

Clean Up:

  • Let spilled wax harden before attempting to remove it.

  • To remove wax spills on carpets, clothing etc., scrape off as much wax as possible once it has cooled and hardened. Use an absorbent paper such as kitchen paper towels and place on the spill. Use an iron to re melt the wax onto the paper. Change paper until all the wax is gone. Alternatively, you can have your clothes dry cleaned.

  • Wax spills on wood are cleaned by scraping off the wax and then polishing the residue with a soft cloth.

  • Wax spills on metal or plastic, immerse the item in hot water until the wax melts and floats to the surface.

  • White spirit or turpentine can be used to dissolve cold wax.

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