Does Incense Damage Electronics?

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Burning incense cones and sticks is very popular for many different reasons. People use incense for health reasons, relaxation, air freshening, and also meditation

Incense can be burned in all areas of the home. However, some things to keep in mind are where you’ll be using your incense, and does incense damage electronics?

In this article, we’ll discuss the best way to use your incense in order to protect areas of the home, our electronics, and children, cats, dogs, etc. 

Incense Smoke and Your Home

Nag Champa Incense

Most people don’t think of incense burning to have any type of residue or side effects, other than the scent. But some are bothered by certain incense scents, whether it be allergies, toxins in the incense, etc.

Some even report headaches from incense.

Regardless, the important thing to realize is, incense is creating smoke in the air. It can occasionally set off a smoke alarm.

When an incense stick is lit and burned, it creates ash similar to cigarette smoke or an open fire. It can even get rid of fruit flies.

As the incense is burning, the ash collects onto the incense tray below. This ash we can see makes up the type of substance that can collect on surfaces and remain in the air. 

Although incense creates a fairly small amount of smoke, the residue and resins are released into the air and can easily accumulate on surfaces over time.

This includes regular electronics.

Does Incense Damage Electronics?

The risk of damaging any electronics when burning incense would really apply to those electronics that contain an operating fan.

Some electronics that use a fan would include a computer, a hard drive, a television, or certain appliances. 

When these electronics are powered on and running, the fan is operating to cool off the operating functions of the electronics.

If you are burning incense with your electronics operating, then the residue found in the smoke will naturally build up inside your electronics over time.

There have been many examples of this seen on computers that have been exposed to tobacco smoke or a large amount of incense.

Many computer repair mechanics have stated when opening the hard drive of a smoker’s computer, that the inside fan is highly coated with smoke residue and oils.


The same would apply to any electronics exposed to regular incense smoke. 

There’s no evidence as to how much damage the incense smoke can cause to your electronics. But avoiding any residue on your internal fans will almost certainly help keep your electronics in good working order. 

Does incense damage electronics? It’s certainly possible that incense can damage electronics, or reduce their operating life.

What Can You Do?

There are a few options to help preserve your electronics while still enjoying a relaxing scent.


For those incense lovers that enjoy the aromatic benefits of burning, we suggest lighting the incense by an open window or a ventilated area.

Shut Off Electronics

Another option is to light your incense while your electronics are turned off. 

This will not reduce the amount of smoke or resin residue on surfaces, but if the internal fans are not running, the electronics won’t have so much of the sticky, resinous air flowing through them.

Clean Everything Out

compressed air

If you notice that your electronics are not working as efficiently as their original condition, or if your fans are making ugly noises or not working very well, you can try cleaning them.

Spray them with a can of compressed air , and that may clear off some gunk.

Take the Electronics In For Service

If compressed air doesn’t work, you may be able to take your computer or appliance in for a service. The technician can open your electronics and clean the interior fan and remove any residue that may have been building up over time.  

Switch to an Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential Oil Diffuser

As mentioned before, another alternative to burning your incense may be an essential oil diffuser. A water-based diffuser or a nebulizer does not create any residue in the air and is more health-conscious. There’s no smoke, and there’s no burning.

It is also safe to use around all types of electronics.

One incense stick can burn for about two hours, and if you forget to blow out your incense this can create a fire hazard.

This is why we see more and more people switching to oil diffusers. 


If you are an incense lover and enjoy the aromatic benefits it can provide, we recommend taking the following suggestions to reduce the amount of residue in your air and on electronics. 

  • Always monitor your burning incense
  • Try not to burn your incense for more than one hour, and don’t forget to put it out
  • Create good ventilation in the area that you burn your incense 
  • Clean your electronics periodically, or take them in for service
  • Research some aromatic alternatives such as an oil diffuser

We hope that these suggestions can help you reduce the damage to your electronics when using incense. The aromatic and relaxation benefits of incense are very enjoyable! And taking the necessary steps to protect your electronics will keep your mind at ease.