Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: The Cremation Process

The Cremation Process

Comprehensive Guide to Cremation: Understanding the Process

Cremation is a dignified and increasingly chosen option for handling the remains of loved ones. This guide provides a detailed look at every aspect of the cremation process, from preparation to final memorialisation.

Before Cremation

What is Cremation and How Does it Work?

Cremation is the process of subjecting a deceased body to high temperatures (usually between 1,400 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) within a cremation chamber. This process reduces the body to its basic elements, primarily bone fragments.

Preparation of the Body

  • Identification: The body is assigned a unique identifier to ensure accurate tracking throughout the process.
  • Removal of Medical Devices: Pacemakers and other medical devices are carefully removed before cremation to avoid potential hazards.

Container for Cremation

The body is placed in a suitable cremation container, which is typically made of combustible materials such as wood or cardboard, ensuring safe and respectful handling.

During Cremation

Day of the Cremation

  • Procession and Service: The coffin is brought into the chapel, followed by mourners, where a religious or secular service is conducted.
  • Final Preparation: After the service, the coffin is moved to the committal room for necessary administrative procedures and identification checks.
  • Cremation Chamber: The coffin, along with the body, is then placed inside the cremation chamber, where it undergoes the cremation process at temperatures ranging from 800°C to 1000°C.

In most cases, the body is cremated immediately following the service, ensuring prompt and respectful handling of the deceased.

Cremation Duration

How long does it take to cremate a body?
The cremation process typically takes between 2 to 3 hours to complete. After cremation, the chamber must cool down before the remains are further processed.

What Happens to the Coffin?

What happens to the coffin during cremation?
Yes, the entire container (including the coffin) is cremated along with the body inside the chamber. Once inside, the coffin cannot be legally reopened.

Clothing During Cremation

Do you have clothes on when cremated?
Yes, the deceased can be cremated in the clothing they passed away in. Alternatively, the family can provide a specific outfit for the cremation.

Witnessing the Cremation

Can relatives witness the cremation process?
Yes, up to two relatives can usually witness the cremation process if desired, providing closure and comfort to the family.

Jewellery and Other Items

What happens to jewellery during the cremation process?
Metal jewellery and non-combustible items such as coffin nails are separated from the ashes after cremation using a magnet or manual inspection. It's recommended to remove sentimental items before cremation.

After Cremation

Collection of Ashes

What container is used for remains after cremation?
After cremation, the cremated remains (ashes) are carefully collected and processed into a fine, sand-like consistency.

Temporary Container

Do I have to buy an urn for the cremation?
No, the crematorium provides a basic container for the ashes. Families can choose to transfer them to a more personalised urn later. You can explore a variety of beautiful and unique urns available in our store to find the perfect one that honors your loved one.

Options for Memorialisation

Can ashes be scattered after cremation?
Yes, ashes can be scattered on land, at sea, or in the air following local regulations. There are various memorialisation options available, including keeping the urn at home or incorporating ashes into memorial jewellery or keepsakes.

Disposal of Unclaimed Ashes

What happens if I don't want to take the ashes after cremation?
If not collected within a designated time frame, usually up to 6 weeks, unclaimed ashes may be scattered in a designated memorial garden.

Funeral Director's Role

Who can collect the ashes after cremation?
Only the funeral director or a named individual, who will be required to bring identification, can collect the ashes after the cremation.

Cremation Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does a Cremation Take?

How long does a cremation take? On average, the cremation process takes between 2 to 2.5 hours. The duration depends on several factors, including the operating temperature of the cremation chamber and the physical attributes of the deceased (height, bone density, and weight).

Do Teeth Burn During Cremation?

Do teeth burn during cremation? Teeth can withstand the high temperatures of the cremation process but are significantly weakened. Like larger bones, they are ground down when the remains are processed in the cremulator.

Do All Funeral Homes and Cemeteries Have a Crematorium?

Do all funeral homes and cemeteries have a crematorium? No, not all funeral homes and cemeteries have their own crematoriums. Only a select number of cremation service providers are equipped with on-site crematoriums.

Is Cremation a Religious Process?

Is cremation a religious process? Cremation itself is neither inherently religious nor non-religious. It can be incorporated into religious ceremonies or conducted as a secular service. Some religions encourage cremation, while others may discourage it. For those who prefer a non-religious approach, direct cremation without a service is also an option.

Are Cremations Done Individually in the UK?

Are cremations done individually in the UK? Yes, UK law mandates that bodies must be cremated individually. Cremation chambers are typically designed to accommodate only one coffin at a time, ensuring that each process is conducted separately.

Is the Cremation Process Just for Humans?

Is the cremation process just for humans? No, both humans and animals can be cremated using similar processes. For more information, you can refer to our Pet Cremation guide.

Are Cremations More Expensive Than Burials?

Are cremations more expensive than burials? Generally, cremations tend to be less expensive than burials due to the rising cost of land. For a comprehensive comparison, check out our guide on the cost of cremation.

Additional Questions

Can I have a cremation without a service? Yes, this is known as direct cremation, where the cremation occurs without any preceding ceremony or service.

What happens to the ashes after cremation? The ashes are collected and placed in a temporary container. Families can choose to transfer the ashes to a more permanent urn or decide on other memorial options like scattering, burial, or incorporation into keepsakes.

Can I witness the cremation? Yes, many crematoriums allow up to two family members to witness the cremation process, providing an opportunity for personal closure.

How are cremation ashes processed? After cremation, the remains (mainly bone fragments) are cooled and then ground into a fine, sand-like consistency using a cremulator.

What should I do with the ashes? Families have several options, including keeping the urn at home, scattering the ashes in a meaningful location, burying them in a cemetery, or incorporating them into jewellery or other keepsakes. Our store features a dedicated section for ashes jewellery and keepsakes urns, offering a variety of beautiful ways to remember your loved one.

What regulations exist for scattering ashes? Regulations vary by location. It's important to obtain permission from landowners for private property and adhere to local government regulations for public spaces.

This comprehensive FAQ aims to address common questions and provide clarity on the cremation process. For further information, please explore our detailed guides or contact us directly.

Common Myths About the Cremation Process

Myth 1: Bodies Sit Up During Cremation

Myth: Bodies sit up during cremation due to muscle contractions.

Fact: While the intense heat can cause muscle contractions that might move the body slightly, it all happens inside the closed coffin and is not visible to observers.

Myth 2: Multiple Bodies Are Cremated Together

Myth: Crematoriums sometimes cremate multiple bodies at once.

Fact: Each body is cremated individually. Strict regulations and protocols ensure that remains are never mixed, and only one body is placed in the chamber at a time.

Myth 3: The Body Explodes During Cremation

Myth: The body can explode during the cremation process.

Fact: The body does not explode during cremation. The only exception is if a pacemaker or other medical device, which can be hazardous under high heat, is left in the body. Such devices are always removed prior to cremation to ensure safety.

Myth 4: Coffins Are Reused

Myth: Crematoriums reuse coffins to cut costs.

Fact: Coffins are not reused. Each body is cremated in its own coffin or a suitable container, which is fully incinerated during the process.

Myth 5: Cremated Remains Are Like Fireplace Ashes

Myth: Cremated remains resemble the ashes from a fireplace.

Fact: Cremated remains are actually bone fragments that have been processed into a fine, sand-like consistency, not ashes from wood or paper.

Myth 6: Metal Implants Are Destroyed During Cremation

Myth: Metal implants and surgical pins are completely incinerated during cremation.

Fact: Metal implants are not destroyed during cremation. They are removed from the ashes afterwards and are typically recycled.

Myth 7: The Entire Body Turns to Ash

Myth: The entire body turns to ash during cremation.

Fact: Soft tissues are incinerated, but the bones remain. These bone fragments are then processed into a fine powder.

Myth 8: Cremation Is a Religious Process

Myth: Cremation is inherently a religious process.

Fact: Cremation itself is neither religious nor non-religious. It can be part of religious ceremonies if desired, but it can also be performed as a secular service or without any ceremony, known as direct cremation.

Myth 9: You Cannot Include Personal Items

Myth: You cannot include personal items in the cremation.

Fact: Some personal items can be cremated with the body, but items containing metal or batteries should be removed to avoid hazards. It's important to consult with the crematorium about what is permissible.

Myth 10: Ashes Can Be Scattered Anywhere

Myth: Ashes can be scattered anywhere without restriction.

Fact: While ashes can be scattered in many places, it's essential to get permission from landowners for private property and to follow local regulations for public spaces.

Myth 11: Cremation Pollutes the Environment

Myth: Cremation is highly polluting and harmful to the environment.

Fact: Modern crematoriums use advanced filtration systems to minimise emissions. While there is some environmental impact, it's generally less than traditional burials which can involve embalming chemicals and non-biodegradable caskets.

Myth 12: The Family Cannot Witness the Cremation

Myth: Family members are not allowed to witness the cremation process.

Fact: Many crematoriums do allow family members to witness the beginning of the cremation process. This can provide a sense of closure and reassurance.

Myth 13: Ashes Have No Use After Cremation

Myth: There is nothing you can do with ashes after cremation except keep them in an urn.

Fact: There are many creative options for memorialising ashes, including incorporating them into jewellery, scattering them in meaningful locations, burying them, or even creating memorial diamonds.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

Read more

What is a Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation, costing around £1,511, is a simple and affordable alternative to traditional funerals. It involves immediate cremation without prior services, offering flexibility and environment...

Read more