How to Burn Incense

How to Burn Incense: Stick, Coil, Cone and Powder

Incense is an ancient form of aromatherapy that has been used for thousands of years.

The word incense comes from the Latin “incendere” which means to set on fire.

Incense can be made by combining plant materials with fragrant essential oils and then either burning them as a stick, coil or cone incense or inhaling the smoke after grinding it into a powder.

In this blog post, I will go over how to burn each type of incense safely!

Stick Incense

Stick incenses are usually made from wood and then soaked in fragrant oils or resin for days before they’re dried out and ready to be burned.

To use this type of incense, you will need some sort of incense holder or some sand that you can put into a bowl.

To light the stick incense, first, be sure to shake off any excess oil from the outside of it.

Then hold your lighter about an inch away from the tip of the incense and slowly rotate as you move closer and further away until there is a small flame.

Once the end of the stick is burning, blow it out and let it smolder for a few minutes before placing it in your incense holder or on top of some sand.

Be sure to place in an area where there are no flammable materials nearby.

Also, the stick is not intended to be lit from underneath as this can cause it to burn unevenly.

You can expect about 30-60 minutes of burn time from a stick of incense.

Coil Incense

Coil incenses are popular in Asia and are made by tightly rolling up pieces of fragrant wood (bark) with several layers of thin paper.

The individual coils can then be burned or you can use them as part of a stick.

To light, the coil, hold your lighter an inch away from one end until there is a flame and then blow it out.

Make sure you place this coil on a proper coil incense holder.

You can expect a longer burn time normally than an incense stick depending on the length.

Cone Incense

Cone incenses are usually made out of bamboo slivers, wood powder or charcoal.

First, the bark is removed from the inside of a stick and then it’s soaked in oil before being rolled into an oblong shape that resembles a cone.

To light this type of incense, hold your lighter to the tip until it is lit and then blow out the flame.

Cone incenses typically produce more heat and smoke so make sure you definitely have a fireproof holder for it.

You can expect a shorter burn time with cone incenses compared to stick incenses depending on the length of each one.

They last for about 30 minutes.

Powder Incense

Powder incenses are usually made from a mixture of herbs, spices and resin that have been ground into fine powder.

To burn this type of incense you will need to sprinkle some onto an ash bed or charcoal disk.

You can also put the powder in an abalone shell if desired.

NOTE: Don’t use charcoal which is made for backyard grills. These can very damaging to your health. Instead, use these charcoal tablets designed specifically for incense.

You can expect a short burn time with this type of incense.


In this blog post, I went over how to burn each type of incense safely.

You can expect different types of incenses to have a different length of burn time depending on what they are made from and the way in which you light them.

Lastly, make sure you use a proper fire-resistant/fireproof Incense holder otherwise, it could cause a fire.

And remember you should never leave an open flame unattended.

Take care when burning any type of incense!

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