Fragrance Oils and Flash Point

Posted by andrew sanderson on

Do you look at the SDS (safety data sheet) for each of your fragrance oils? You should do. You need to understand what each section means and how that affects storage of the oil and your product. In our other business we handle and classify hazardous chemicals so we can help you. Our aim is to put together some bite sized blogs covering these sorts of topics. There are some articles already in our Facebook group including a link to the CLP course that we had input to, written by Dr Ken Westlake. 

One really important point to note is flash point. Each component within a fragrance oil has its own flash point. This affects the final flash point of the fragrance oil. The flash point is the minimum temperature at which the oil turns to vapor and can be ignited. Flash point is shown in section 9.1 of the SDS. If its classed as flammable you will see the flammable symbol in section 2 of the SDS as well as the hazard statement and precautionary statement. 

Why is this important to you? The lower the flash point, the more volatile the fragrance oil is. This means the fragrance oil will turn to vapour quicker and will be lost quicker. This is really important if you want your fragrance to last or to use it in candles. If the flash point is too low the fragrance could evaporate very quickly. The fragrance will be very strong very quickly but will not last very long, especially in a tealight warmer. This isn’t so much of a problem in melts but in candles it could mean the fragrance has evaporated from the melt pool before the candle has completely burnt down. This is why low flash point essential oils aren’t as good for use in candles as they are in melts. There are other issues to do with wicking and wax type which we will look at in a future blog. 

If you are using a low flash point fragrance oil or essential oil with a high melting point wax there is more chance of some fragrance notes evaporating while you are mixing them together and while the wax is cooling.  Storage, handling and shipping regulations are different for flammable materials than those for non flammable materials due to the risk of fire and explosion. We will blog on that subject at a later date.

Flammable liquids are classed as:

Extremely flammable

Liquids which have a flashpoint lower than 0°C and a boiling point (or, in the case of a boiling range, the initial boiling point) lower than or equal to 35°C.

Highly flammable

Liquids which have a flashpoint below 21°C but which are not extremely flammable.


Liquids which have a flashpoint equal to or greater than 21°C and less than or equal to 55°C and which support combustion when tested in the prescribed manner at 55°C.

When choosing a fragrance oil, bear flash point in mind. Consider storage of flammable fragrance oils and the longevity of the fragrance when burnt. For reference, we do not stock flammable fragrance oils.

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