I admit, I am a girl who has absolutely loved her scented candles, especially pumpkin spice! With two dogs in the house, I was always trying to find ways to freshen up the scent, because I knew that it definitely smelled like dog even if we had grown used to it. Scented candles were a big part of that plan, especially when we had guests over.
But I’ve since done research, and found that scented candles can actually be harmful to you! Researchers at South Carolina State University tested candles for toxins, and found that paraffin-based wax candles, even unscented and undyed, emitted “unwanted chemicals into the air,” mostly because they are byproducts of oil refineries. Vegetable-based (soy) candles did not produce any toxins when lit. Even the EPA questions the safety of candles.
Its not just the wax that can cause problems, either. In 2014, a study published in Scientific American reported a strong link between air freshener use during pregnancy and asthma risk in the unborn child. YUCK! (Goodbye, Febreeze and Glade!)
Even the candle wick can release extra toxins and lead into the air if its a cheap candle! (No more dollar store candles here, even though
A Better Way to Freshen the Air
Don’t despair! There are some other, better, more natural ways to freshen up your home!
A safer alternative to paraffin candles is a good quality beeswax candle. Be sure to look at the ingredients to make sure its 100% pure beeswax, not 51% beeswax and 49% paraffin filler. Beeswax candles emit negative ions, which help cleanse the air by balancing the charge of particles floating in the air, which are positively charged. When the negative and positive ions bond, the complete molecule can no longer float in the air and drops to the ground. I really like these 100% Pure Raw Beeswax candles by Bluecorn Naturals.
Soy candles are another safer alternative to paraffin candles, but carry other ethical issues, if they matter to you. While I don’t advocate eating soy products, burning the candles is absolutely fine if you keep in mind that organic, non-GMO soy does not really exist in the United States. Again, this poses no health risk in candle form, but is an ethical question you’d have to ask yourself. Personally, I have no problem with soy wax candles. These unscented pure soy wax candles from Amazon Handmade are a great option.
Make Your Own
Another option for the creative ones out there is to make your own candles. Its easier than you think! This tutorial from Mommypotamus is super simple and takes you through all the steps you need to make your own beeswax candles. (These make great gifts, too!)
Of course my favorite air freshening option is putting some yummy-smelling essential oils in my diffuser and filling up the house with scents that both smell good and are beneficial to our health. Purification essential oil from Young Living is a great, clean scent to freshen up your home naturally. I also love a combination of Lemon and Lavender essential oils.