Let’s talk about clean candles 101. I have to admit, I actually got the idea to do this post when I was researching which candles to buy for myself this past pandemic year! After being at home all day everyday, it became even more clear to me that making sure our homes are clean and chemical free, and that we are supporting our immunity, is of utmost importance. Afterall, we breathe the air in our homes almost 24/7 and our indoor environment is one of the biggest factors in overall health.
Non toxic living in combination with a whole food plant based diet is what my health coaching business is based around, so I tend to share a lot of content around switching over to cleaner products. (PS I even have a clean beauty e-book here!) It seemed like a lot of you guys were interested in nontoxic home tips after I shared this post on Instagram. And during the fall and winter seasons, there is nothing we all love more than a relaxing, scented candle to make us feel cozy. But’s let’s first chat about why candles can be toxic.
Why Conventional Scented Candles Are Toxic
I hate to burst your bubble but to be blunt, that Glade Pumpkin Spice is full of harmful, chemical SH*T. Unfortunately, most candles are toxic because they contain fake fragrance and are made of paraffin wax which is petroleum based. The issue is that this even without being burned, they release toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air in your home. As Branch Basics cited, these include:
-phthalates that disrupt hormones
-asthmagens that cause asthma
-carcinogens that cause cancer
-obesogens that cause weight gain
-neurotoxins that affect mood and brain function
And this is all before the candle is even lit! When burned, there are another slew of issues that occur. For one, conventional candles release a number of toxic carcinogens aka cancer causing chemicals- including formaldehyde, for example.
Additionally, burning paraffin wax causes ultrafine soot particles to remain in the air in your home for hours. These particles get deep into the lungs and are absorbed into your bloodstream.
Wicks also commonly contain metal cores made of zinc, tin, or lead if bought outside the US. These cores release trace amounts of toxic heavy metals into the air. Yikes, think about that toxic buildup for a person who has lit a candle even just a few times a week, year over year of their life.
Less Toxic Candle Options
So, what are some clean, nontoxic candle options? How can you know what is safe to buy? I LOVE the ambiance candles set so I’m totally with you on wanting to still use them- but I don’t want to compromise my health for the sake of faux scent.
Here a few tips when candle shopping
Avoid labels marked with “fine fragrance”, “high-quality fragrance”, or “parfum”. Even terms like “natural fragrance” and “phalate-free fragrance” can be tricky to decode. Those mean the candle was made with some percentage of synthetic fragrance, aka mostly petroleum. Instead, look for candles scented only with 100% pure essential oils.
Check the wax. Like we talked about earlier, we want to avoid paraffin wax candles because of the petroleum. Petroleum (paraffin wax) = BAD. Better options are going to be your soy wax, coconut wax, vegetable wax, and beeswax (which we’ll specifically talk about in a bit!) But make sure to look for paraffin-free and/or 100% coconut/soy/beeswax. Otherwise, the candle could be a blend of paraffin and one of the safer wax options. For example, maybe 75% paraffin and only 25% soy wax.
Look for either cotton wicks that are unbleached OR wood wicks. We do NOT want any wicks made with heavy metals. As This Organic Girl states, if a candle is marketed as a “lead-free wick,” keep in mind this is a greenwashing tactic. This is because the US Consumer Product Safety Commission placed a national ban against manufacturing, importing, or selling candles with lead wicks way back in 2003, due to safety and health concerns.
Best Clean Option – Beeswax Candles
100% beeswax candles made with 100% cotton or wood wicks are going to be your best bet when switching over to less toxic candles. My Mom recently got me really into beeswax candles- she picks them up from the Waco, TX Farmer’s Market all the time. If you know her cancer story at all, then you know making the transition to a nontoxic lifestyle was a huge part of treating the disease holistically. So for her, beeswax candles have been a perfect replacement!
Beeswax candles burn clean with no soot, no chemicals, AND they produce into the air these special little things called negative ions. These negative ions actually clean the air rather than pollute it! They attract the opposite- positively charged particles in the air like dust, pollen, animal dander, etc. Then they drop them out of the air you are breathing and onto the floor. So they would get cleaned up next time you vacuum or dust.
Other Natural Candle Companies
Here a few other clean options to try if you’re looking for something with more of a scent:
Dear Sundays (I love their non-toxic nail polish too!)
So there you have it! Was this post helpful? Want more nontoxic home tips? Have a fave non toxic candle company we should know about? Comment below!
Until next time.