As the fall and winter seasons approach us, home wouldn’t be the same without a scented candle. Lighting scented candles is a great way to set the mood especially when you want to wind- down and relax from a stressful day of work. Stores are filling up with candles for the holidays- many of which are cheaply made and manufactured. Unfortunately, traditional store-bought candles are typically filled with toxic chemicals that can pollute our lungs, some of which are:
- Synthetic Fragrance: releases harmful phthalates and can cause irritation, heightened allergies, hormone disruption, and even asthma symptoms
- Paraffin Wax: release highly toxic carcinogens and is linked to allergies, asthma, dermatitis, and lung cancer
- Lead, Tin, and Chemically processed Wicks: give off toxic byproducts due to use of synthetic chemicals which can cause lung and skin irritation
- To learn more about how to avoid purchasing candles filled with toxic chemicals, keep on reading to see how we choose safe candles that don’t release dangerous byproducts into the air.
Toxins in Scented Candles
Most standard candles have synthetic fragrance which when burned releases phthalates into the air. Phthalates are widely known to disrupt the endocrine system which in other words can alter hormone levels in the body. When phthalates are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, it can cause irritation, heightened allergies, and even asthma symptoms in some people.
Candles usually also contain paraffin wax (a non-biodegradable petroleum waste product) which is known to release highly toxic carcinogens like benzene and toluene. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes which are linked to allergies, asthma, dermatitis, and lung cancer. The impact of paraffin on the environment should also be noted. Crude oil, being the origin of paraffin wax, is considered highly unsustainable, being a non-renewable resource.
Candle wicks can also give off toxic byproducts in scented candles. Wicks made of cotton and paper are safe to burn, however wicks made of lead and tin, bleached cotton, or processed wood are not recommended for use. The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of lead-core wicks as it released five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children. Even though new measures have been implemented some candles still contain lead-core wicks such as candles imported from China and Taiwan. Bleached cotton and processed wood wicks have gone through a chemical process which introduces many synthetic chemicals. As a result, bleached cotton and processed wood wicks can irritate the skin and lungs depending on the bleaching agents and synthetic chemicals used. To avoid burning chemically processed wicks look for candles with wicks made of 100% unbleached cotton and unprocessed wood instead.
How to Find a Healthier Candle
Making healthier choices when selecting a candle can be hard. Here are some things to consider when looking for a scented candle:
- Fragrance-free, or scented with 100% essential oils only
- Paraffin-free wax (100%), soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax
- 100% “unbleached cotton” or “unprocessed wood” wicks
When looking for a candle, you should substitute synthetic fragrances for essential oils which are 100% natural. As for waxes, there are many healthier options such as soy wax, beeswax, and coconut wax. Soy wax is a great vegan alternative and it’s biodegradable and sustainable to produce. Beeswax is another great option and has become quite popular due to it’s natural honey brown color. Lastly, Coconut wax is our choice of wax- it’s vegan and can be ethically sourced, biodegradable, and sustainable to produce. It’s known to make candles burn longer and also does exceptionally well with permeating scent into the air. As for candle wicks you should look for wicks that are made of 100% pure cotton, paper, and wood. Make sure to look for wicks that have “unbleached cotton” or “unprocessed wood” so you can be reassured that there are no synthetic chemicals in your wicks.
In addition, when looking for candles be aware of greenwashing terms such as “natural”, “non-toxic”, “pure”, “fine fragrance”, and “lead free”. These greenwashing terms convey false impressions and misleading information about candles. For example, if a candle claims that their wicks are made of ‘natural’ cotton or wood, it has possibly been through a bleaching or chemical process. If you are unsure of any ingredients in your candle, reach out to the company and ask questions about their ingredients and formulation process so that you can be reassured of your selection.
Pure Plant Home Candles
Pure Plant Home candles are a Vegan brand and a must-have! They are formulated with 100% coconut and vegetable oil-based wax and real essential oils. There are no petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes or colorants in any of the Pure Plant Home candles. In addition, all the candles use unbleached cotton for a wick, so there’s no need to worry about any synthetical chemicals in your wicks.
The founder of Pure Plant Home, Tina Rocca, an aromatherapist, launched her candle making business over 20 years ago. Her goal for her brand was to craft therapeutic candles that weren’t health hazardous and used ethically-sourced, 100% natural ingredients. As a result, Pure Plant Home has become a staple in many homes and has continues to become a household favorite for new people every day.
To purchase yours today, view the selection at pure plant home candles.
Extra Candle Tips for a Clean Burn
Trim the wick
Before you light your candle, start by trimming the wick between 1⁄8 and 1⁄4 inches long. You can do this by using a wick clipper or you can simply use nail clippers or scissors. By trimming the wick each time you burn a candle, you eliminate adding excessive smoke and soot into the air.
Let the wax melt all the way around
As the candle is lit, you want to make sure that the top layer of the candle melts all the way around. If a candle is blown out too early and the top layer of wax has not melted all around, this might contribute to tunneling. As the wick starts to sink lower, a tunnel may form and all the unmelted wax around the wick will be wasted and unusable.
Only burn for a certain amount of time
Depending on the instructions usually labeled underneath your candle, you wanted to burn your candle for the instructed amount of time. Often times candles have a four hour burn time and anything past that can cause your wick to become unstable or the flames can get too large and cause more smoke and soot to arise.
Do not blow out your candles
A better way to extinguish your candles is to use a candle dipper, tweezer, or the end of your scissors to plunge the wick into the wax. This will stop excess smoke from lifting into the air. After the candle is extinguished you want to pull the wick out of the wax and prop it up so it’s ready to light the next time around.