Are Candles Allowed in Dorms?

Dorm life can offer a lot of new experiences that students are not prepared for. There are rules and other expectations that students have to get used to when they move in.

Some of the things that you are used to having access to in your home will not be allowed in the dorms.

This can apply to TVs in some dorms and it always applies to alcohol and drugs. There are more mundane items that are not allowed in your dorm rooms either.

You might have questions about which kinds of items are not allowed in your dorm room and candles are a common item that is asked about when students are moving into the dorms.

If you want to know if candles are allowed in dorms, read on!

Are Candles Allowed in Dorms?

The answer to this is, no. Open flames are not allowed in dorm rooms. Even if you are using small candles for the scent alone, this still counts as an open flame.

You will also not be able to use candles on birthday cakes or for other holiday functions.

Open flame of any kind is not allowed in your dorm room, so even scent burners are not allowed. Tea candles and other small candles are just as likely to cause a fire or set off the fire alarm system as a large scented candle.

Some students ask about hookahs and other smoking items and these are not allowed either. You will not be allowed to smoke in your dorm and your hookah will not be allowed to be used either.

You will have to enjoy these indulgences away from your dorm or campus and you might want to have your birthday at a location that allows birthday candles. There are some limited exemptions at some colleges related to religious needs.

What Are Some Other Reasons That Candles Are Not Allowed?

Many candles smell quite strongly, which can lead to allergies in other students. If you are not a fan of the smell of a candle that someone is burning, you might feel sick or get a headache from the smell.

This is a secondary reason that candles are not allowed in the dorms. If you must use an air freshener, you need to use a plug-in air freshener or a spray.

Many dorm rooms have very sensitive fire systems as well. This can mean that even the heat and smoke from a very small candle can set off fire alarms.

In addition, most of these systems have a sprinkler system that will be set off at the same time as the alarm. You will have to evacuate the building and there is a chance that the sprinklers will deploy.

The water from the sprinklers can ruin people’s possessions, textbooks, and electronics.

You should consider the needs of others before you decide to burn a candle and break the rules. There are many reasons why this is not a good idea, and you will find that breaking this rule can be very serious.

What Other Items Are Not Allowed in Your Dorm?

These are some of the other items that will not be allowed in most dorm rooms. These are items that are usually forbidden for safety reasons.


This is obvious. The mess a pet can make, as well as the distraction of an animal in such a small space, is easy to contemplate. Pet damage and pet messes, as well as barking or other noise, can be very distracting to other students.


While you might want to paint items in your dorm, this is not allowed. The smell of the paint can be bad for you and those around you and painting your dorm room is not usually allowed.

You can hang up posters and pictures and other décor in most cases, but you usually cannot paint anything in your room. At the end of the day, there are very few surfaces to paint and you will get more done with wall art and posters than paint in any case.

Toasters and Blenders

These items are not usually allowed because they are a big power draw and they can also lead to fire or injury risk. Blenders can lead to cut fingers and they are very messy and noisy.

Toasters are also messy and can get quite hot and create smoke. This is another item that can set off the smoke and fire detectors.

Electrical cords

You might think that you should bring a lot of cords for your various items that need to be plugged in, but this can lead to a fire and safety risk. These cords need to be surge protected and they are a tripping hazard as well as unsightly.

You might be given power cords to use that the college has approved or you will likely be able to add a power strip to your desk area. The use of lots of extension cords is often prohibited.

Candles Are a Fire Risk in the Dorm

Candles are too big a risk to be allowed in your dorm room. Between the smells and the open flame, they are a big risk to safety for the entire dorm. If you are caught burning a candle in your dorm room, you might be facing serious consequences.

If you love good smells, you can consider an air freshener spray or a wall plug-in unit. These should more than take care of your need for fresh smells in your dorm room.

This is one of the items that is often clearly forbidden in orientation as well as in written materials that are provided when you are ready to be assigned a dorm room.

You should have no confusion about whether or not candles are allowed in your dorm room well before you move in. There are many fun items that you can bring with you into your dorms, but candles are not one of them.

Always consider reaching out to your RA or college if you have questions about which items are going to be allowed in your dorm room.

Leave a Comment