Light Up the Night With Outdoor Torches

lit tiki torch

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Make your backyard more festive this summer by enlisting the help of outdoor torches. There's just something about a flickering flame that is both comforting and exciting. Fuel-lit torches provide ambient lighting and can also fend off mosquitos and other nighttime insects when used with citronella. Plus, they are an affordable option for livening up a dinner party or BBQ and can be used all summer long. Yet, similar to anything that involves a fire or open flame, you must exercise caution when installing, handling, and storing these units. 


Click Play to Learn How to Use Outdoor Torches in Your Backyard


Use outdoor torches to light the patios, walkways, and decks where you'll be entertaining. Evenly space them out, leaving about 6 to 8 feet in between each one. This allows people to move around them without the danger of catching themselves on fire.

Position torches at least 6-feet away from your house or any other structure. And avoid placing them under trees or overhangs, where they could easily burn leaves, branches, wood siding, or soffit materials. 

Make sure your torches are stable by pushing their spiked end 6 to 8 inches into the ground. Use a torch stake or stand for extra stability. Or, for more permanent placement of weatherproof torches with removable heads, dig holes for each unit and backfill them with cement, once each pole is set.

Filling an Outdoor Torch

Most outdoor torches can be refilled from the top by removing the ring that houses the wick. To do so, first, make sure your torch is cool. Next, rotate the wick's ring until it pops off. Using a plastic or metal funnel, pour the fuel into the vessel, filling it two-thirds of the way full. Replace the wick and secure the ring. Immediately cap the fuel bottle and store it in a cool place out of the reach of children and family pets.

For accidental spills on the patio or in the garage, soak up the excess fuel with kitty litter, and then use a commercial cleaner that cuts grease and oil to clean up the rest of the spill. Dry out the affected area by opening doors and windows, depending on the location.


Most torches come with a snuffer cap attached to the wick ring of each torch. This acts as both an extinguisher and protective housing for the wick. To extinguish your torch, carefully place the snuffer cap over the wick so that it covers it completely. Leave it in place until the flame goes out, and then remove it to allow the wick to cool completely. Replace the snuffer cap to protect the wick from the elements, once it is cool.

Storing the Fuel and Torches

Make sure you're careful when cleaning up and storing your torches for later use. You can leave the fuel inside of the torches, but store them upright and secured so that they do not tip over. Place them in a cool storage place, away from the possibility of any flame. And if you plan to store them outside or in a non-insulated shed, do so only if you live in a climate where the unused fuel won't freeze.