Comparing Candle Snuffers and Blowing Out: Which Method is Best?

Comparing Candle Snuffers and Blowing Out: Which Method is Best?

Candles have been around for millennia and have served multiple purposes - from lighting homes to providing a soothing ambiance to a space. But with the numerous benefits that candles bring, there is always the concern of how to properly blow them out once they have served their purpose. It's a question that has intrigued candle users from across the globe for centuries. So, what's the best method of putting out a candle - using a snuffer or blowing it out? Let's explore.

The History of Candle Snuffers: How They Came to Be

Candle snuffers first came into use in the 17th century, and were developed as a safer alternative to blowing out candles by hand. The earliest snuffers were typically made of brass or iron, and designed with a cylindrical shape and a hinged lid that served as a mechanism for snuffing out the candle's flame. As time progressed, artisans started to design more elaborate snuffers, sometimes embellishing them with intricate designs or adding extra features.

During the 18th century, candle snuffers became a popular household item, and were often made of silver or other precious metals. They were also frequently given as gifts, and were sometimes engraved with the recipient's initials or a special message. In addition to their practical use, snuffers also became a symbol of status and wealth, as owning an ornate snuffer was seen as a sign of luxury.

With the advent of electric lighting in the 19th century, the use of candles and candle snuffers declined. However, they still remain popular among collectors and enthusiasts, and can be found in antique shops and online marketplaces. Today, candle snuffers are appreciated not only for their historical significance, but also for their aesthetic appeal and unique designs.

The Pros and Cons of Blowing Out Candles

Blowing out candles has been the common approach for putting out candles for a long time. It's quick and easy, but this method has its downsides. Firstly, blowing out candles can produce a lot of smoke. This can not only be a nuisance but also a health hazard if inhaled regularly. Secondly, blowing out candles can spread wax drippings and increase the chances of fire accidents if not done carefully.

However, there are also some benefits to blowing out candles. For one, it's a traditional and nostalgic way to end a celebration or event. Blowing out candles can also create a sense of unity and togetherness among the people present. Additionally, some people believe that blowing out candles can make a wish come true, adding a touch of magic to the occasion.

Despite these benefits, there are alternative methods to blowing out candles that can be safer and more environmentally friendly. One option is to use a candle snuffer, which extinguishes the flame without producing smoke or spreading wax. Another option is to simply let the candle burn out on its own, which can be a more natural and calming way to end the evening.

Candle Snuffers: A Comprehensive Guide

Candle snuffers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. The snuffer's basic function remains the same regardless of its design - to extinguish a candle's flame by cutting off the wick's oxygen supply. The snuffer's hinged lid fits over the candle's flame, and as it is lowered gently, the flame is extinguished. There is a wide range of choices - from traditional brass snuffers to contemporary glass ones. Some snuffers even come adorned with decorative trinkets or personalized messages.

When choosing a candle snuffer, it is important to consider the size of the candle you will be using it with. A snuffer that is too small may not be able to fully cover the flame, while a snuffer that is too large may be difficult to maneuver. Additionally, some snuffers have longer handles, which can be useful for reaching candles that are placed in deeper candle holders or on high shelves.

It is also important to properly care for your candle snuffer to ensure its longevity. After each use, wipe the snuffer clean with a soft cloth to remove any soot or debris. If your snuffer is made of metal, you may also want to polish it occasionally to keep it looking shiny and new. With proper care, your candle snuffer can be a useful and decorative addition to your home for years to come.

The Benefits of Using a Candle Snuffer

Using a candle snuffer has numerous benefits. First, it's a safe option because it eliminates any risks of injury from hot wax or fire by maintaining a distance between you and the flame. Secondly, snuffing out candles using a snuffer results in less soot and smoke, providing a healthier environment, especially for individuals suffering from respiratory issues. Lastly, snuffing out a candle using a snuffer reduces the amount of wax that drips out of the candle, better preserving the overall condition of the candle.

In addition to the above benefits, using a candle snuffer also helps to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the candle. Blowing out a candle can cause the wick to move, resulting in an uneven burn and an unsightly appearance. However, using a snuffer ensures that the wick remains centered and straight, allowing for a more even burn and a visually pleasing candle.

Why Blowing Out Candles May be Harmful to Health

Blowing out candles can produce smoke that is harmful to your health. If you inhale it straight from the burning wick, the smoke may contain ultrafine particles that can penetrate deep into your lungs. Breathing in large amounts of this kind of smoke over a long period can lead to respiratory diseases like asthma or emphysema. Additionally, blowing out candles produces carbon dioxide, which takes up space in a room and can lead to feelings of suffocation.

Furthermore, the act of blowing out candles can also spread germs and bacteria. When you blow out candles, you release droplets of saliva and mucus into the air, which can land on the cake and be ingested by others. This can lead to the spread of illnesses like the common cold or flu. To avoid this, consider using a candle snuffer or simply removing the candles from the cake before blowing them out.

How to Properly Use a Candle Snuffer

Using a candle snuffer requires a gentle and steady hand. To use, place the snuffer's cone-shaped top over the flame's tip without touching the wick's surface. Then, gently lower the lid over the flame to extinguish it. It's critical to ensure that the snuffer's tip covers the entire flame's diameter. This will ensure that it goes out efficiently and completely. To minimize any smoldering or flaming caused by the snuffing process, wait for a few seconds before removing the snuffer.

It's important to note that candle snuffers should only be used on candles that are in a stable and secure position. If a candle is wobbling or unsteady, it's best to blow it out instead of using a snuffer. Additionally, always make sure that the snuffer is clean and free of any debris or wax buildup before using it. This will ensure that it functions correctly and doesn't cause any accidental fires or damage to the candle.

The Different Types of Candle Snuffers and Their Uses

There are three main types of candle snuffers - the cone-shaped snuffer, the bell-shaped snuffer, and the scissors snuffer. Cone-shaped snuffers are the most common and are usually made of brass or stainless steel. Bell-shaped snuffers are used mostly for pillar candles and have a bell-shaped lid that sits over the flame. Scissors snuffers are great for container candles with hard-to-reach flames. They use a scissor mechanism to clamp around the wick and snuff it out.

Aside from the three main types of candle snuffers, there are also decorative snuffers that come in various shapes and sizes. These snuffers are often made of materials such as ceramic, glass, or even crystal, and are designed to add a touch of elegance to your candle display. However, it's important to note that decorative snuffers may not be as effective as the traditional cone, bell, or scissors snuffers when it comes to extinguishing the flame.

Another important factor to consider when using a candle snuffer is the size of the snuffer in relation to the candle. It's important to choose a snuffer that is large enough to cover the entire flame, as this will ensure that the candle is fully extinguished and prevent any potential fire hazards. Additionally, it's recommended to wait until the wax has cooled before removing the snuffer, as hot wax can be dangerous and cause burns.

Safety Tips When Using a Candle Snuffer

When using a candle snuffer, ensure that the snuffer's end is not heated. If the snuffer's end is too hot, it can cause burns. Make sure to use a snuffer that is proportionate to your candle size to ensure that it covers the entire flame's diameter. Lastly, using a snuffer does not guarantee 100% safety. Ensure that you place the candle on a stable surface and away from anything flammable before you begin.

Additionally, it is important to never leave a burning candle unattended, even if you are using a snuffer. Always extinguish the flame completely before leaving the room or going to bed. It is also recommended to keep candles out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidents. By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the ambiance of a candle without putting yourself or others at risk.

The Environmental Impact of Blowing Out Candles vs Using a Snuffer

From an environmental sustainability perspective, using a snuffer is a better option than blowing out candles. Blowing out candles produces smoke and carbon dioxide, which can contribute to air pollution. Additionally, if the wick is still burning, you waste more wax that would otherwise melt down to be used in a later burn. A snuffer, on the other hand, reduces wastage by ensuring the candle stops burning as soon as the wick is snuffed out.

Another benefit of using a snuffer is that it reduces the risk of accidental fires. When blowing out a candle, there is a chance that the flame can spread to nearby objects or surfaces. This can be especially dangerous if the candle is placed near flammable materials. Using a snuffer eliminates this risk by extinguishing the flame directly at the wick, without any additional air or oxygen being introduced to the flame.

The Aesthetics of Using a Candle Snuffer

Using a snuffer adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your candle-burning experience. They come in various unique designs to complement your home decor, whether traditional, modern, or eclectic. Additionally, they offer add an extra layer of intimacy to the candle lighting and blowing-out ceremonies when you have company over.

Another benefit of using a candle snuffer is that it helps to prevent wax from splattering when you blow out the candle. This is especially useful when you have a candle with a large flame or when the wax has melted down close to the bottom of the candle. By using a snuffer, you can extinguish the flame without any mess or fuss.

Furthermore, using a snuffer can help to prolong the life of your candle. When you blow out a candle, the wick can sometimes continue to smolder, which can cause the wax to burn unevenly and create a tunnel down the center of the candle. By using a snuffer, you can ensure that the flame is completely extinguished, which will help your candle to burn evenly and last longer.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Candle Snuffer

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your candle snuffer are crucial in prolonging its life and ensuring its effectiveness. The first step in cleaning your snuffer is ensuring that it is cooled off completely. Wipe it clean gently using a soft cloth with soapy water. For brass snuffers, you can use a brass cleaner, followed by polishing it with a soft cloth. Ensure to dry it properly before storing it away to avoid mildew growth and rust development.

It is important to note that different types of candle wax can leave residue on your snuffer. If you notice any buildup, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water to remove it. Simply dip a soft cloth in the solution and gently wipe the affected areas. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly before storing.

In addition to cleaning, proper storage is also important in maintaining your candle snuffer. Store it in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing it with other metal objects to prevent scratches and damage. With proper cleaning and storage, your candle snuffer can last for years and continue to effectively extinguish your candles.

The Psychology Behind Blowing Out Candles vs Using a Snuffer

Blowing out candles is a simple and instinctual act that requires almost no thought - much like breathing or coughing. Alternatively, snuffing out a candle requires a bit of conscious coordination, a gentle hand, and a quick and patient motion. This introspective and slow act of snuffing can offer an intimate and meaningful experience, particularly when using a beautifully designed snuffer.

Research has shown that the act of blowing out candles can be associated with a sense of power and control. It is a symbolic act of conquering and overcoming something, as if blowing out the candles is a way of extinguishing any negativity or obstacles in one's life. On the other hand, using a snuffer can be seen as a more respectful and mindful way of extinguishing a flame. It is a way of acknowledging the beauty and importance of the flame, and taking the time to carefully and gently put it out. This can create a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the small things in life.

The Cultural Significance of Candle Snuffers in Different Countries

Candle snuffers have different meanings and cultural significance in various parts of the world. In Japan, for instance, the use of a candle snuffer is considered a way to show respect, and using a snuffer enhances the candle ritual's sacredness. In Spain, using a candle is considered a symbol of devotion, and a snuffer is used by priests to extinguish candles during religious ceremonies.

In India, candle snuffers are used during Diwali, the festival of lights. The snuffer is used to extinguish the candles and diyas (oil lamps) that are lit during the festival. It is believed that using a snuffer to put out the flames is a way to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and prosperity to the household. The snuffer is also decorated with intricate designs and patterns, making it a beautiful and important part of the Diwali decorations.

Combining the Two Methods: When to Use Both Blowing and a Snuffer

When it may be necessary to combine the two methods - blowing and snuffing - to extinguish a candle flame. For instance, when the wick has burnt too low and is close to the candle's base, snuffing the flame using a snuffer may not be enough. Blow the candle out gently to ensure that the remaining wick that has fallen into the melted wax will not reignite. Alternatively, if the snuffer is not available, you can carefully blow out the flame, but be extra careful not to touch the molten wax or spread the smoke around the room.

It is important to note that blowing out a candle can create a gust of air that may cause nearby objects to move or even knock over. To prevent this, it is recommended to hold your hand or a piece of paper a few inches above the flame to create a shield against the air flow. Additionally, blowing out a candle can produce smoke and soot, which can stain walls and ceilings over time. To minimize this, blow out the candle from a distance and avoid blowing directly onto the wick.


Both snuffing and blowing a candle have their pros and cons, and, ultimately, the best method depends on personal preference. However, snuffing out a candle using a candle snuffer is a safer and healthier alternative that can add an extra layer of elegance and sophistication to your candle-induced ambiance. By being mindful of the different types of snuffers and their uses, the correct safety protocols, and the overall psychological and cultural significance associated with using snuffers, you can make a more informed decision and enjoy the optimal candle experience.

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