Why You Shouldn’t Burn Scented Candles…and What You Should Do Instead

Don't Burn Toxic Candles, health risks of burning candles, Candle toxins, health risks of candles, healthy alternatives to candles

Everyone loves a nice smelling home and the ambiance of a burning candle.   But did you know that most candles are releasing toxins and polluting your indoor air?  You should be aware of the hidden dangers of candles and some healthier alternatives.  There are three problems with many of the candles you’re buying in the store.

  1. WAX: Most candles are made of Paraffin wax.  Paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product that is created from the nasty sludge waste when crude oil is refined to gasoline.  Burning this wax produces benzene and toluene (both are carcinogens), which are highly toxic.  Some research has shown that candles can sometimes release more toxins than a cigarette.  The fumes from the candle have also been linked to aggravating asthma and eczema.
  2. FRAGRANCE and COLOR: Ever wonder what gives those candles that perfect color and beautiful scent?  You can make your home smell like sweet pea, apple pie, linens, etc. with just a burning of a candle.  The problem is there are many chemicals in these artificial fragrances and dyes polluting your home’s indoor air when burned.
  3. WICK: Wicks used to be made mostly of lead but they were banned in 2003 because they were considered hazardous to breathe and were linked to many medical and behavioral issues in children.  According to the EPA, burning a candle for as little as 45 minutes was exceeding the daily lead limit in children…SCARY.  Even now, you should be paying attention to what the wick is made of.  Since the ban, many candles are made with cotton wicks but a small percentage may still have wired cores.  Many candles are imported from other countries (like China) that don’t have any rules or regulations for the manufacturing of candles, so you can’t be certain what chemical or metal they are using.


Don’t worry…you can still have a nice smelling home with a relaxing ambiance if you consider these healthy alternatives:

  1. Essential oils:  Ever use a diffuser in your home?  Essential oils not only make your home smell wonderful, but there are many awesome benefits you will receive from diffusing them in your home.  The list of oils you can buy are endless and each oil has it’s own benefits.  For example, lavender reduces anxious feelings and promotes a restful sleep.  Peppermint promotes digestive health and a healthy respiratory system.  I now prefer diffusing oils over burning candles because the oils smell awesome and provide my family with many health benefits. Oils are great for supporting a healthy immune system. There was a school in Colorado that starting diffusing doTerra On Guard daily in their classrooms and noticed a significant reduction (50%)of absences for students and teachers.  One teacher from that school diffuses oils in her classroom to cleanse the air of “unpredictable” smells. She said it also helps the kids stay focused.  I’m having a similar experience with my 4th grader who had 13 absences in third grade due to colds and strep throat.  This school year we began using oils regularly and she has had zero absences so far(knock on wood).
  2. Beeswax candles.  Beeswax candles actually clean the air when burned making it your very own indoor air purifier straight from nature.  It creates negative ions when burned which neutralizes positive ions such as dust, airborne toxins, and allergens.  While beeswax candles are definitely more expensive than paraffin, they are non-toxic and non-carcinogenic which makes them a healthier option for your home.  I’d skip the soy candles because many are made with artificial dyes and fragrances and 90 percent of soy is genetically modified.

Do yourself a favor and ditch the paraffin candles. If you’re not set on having something burning, then our first choice is diffusing essential oils because they kill many birds with one stone and are so versatile.  The diffusers you can buy have a relaxing sound, a cool mist, with soothing lights.  The best part is, you don’t have to worry about falling asleep or leaving the house with a lit candle.  Most diffusers also have automatic shut-offs so you can drift to sleep and set it to turn off hours later.  Also, there are so many different oils to choose from depending on how you’re feeling that particular day. Diffuse wild orange before your guests arrive to freshen up your home and uplift your mood.  Diffuse vetiver after a long day of work to calm emotions and lessen stress.   In our opinion, if you still feel the need for the warmth of a burning candle, then at least buy a beeswax candle that will purify the air in your home instead of pollute it.

If you want to learn more about essential oils, please check out the following articles:

What are Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils

Where to Buy Essential Oils


Why You Shouldn't Burn Scented Candles...and What You Should Do Instead. I had no idea how harmful candles could be. Love the healthy alternative options in this article! Throwing those nasty candles in the trash.



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1 thought on “Why You Shouldn’t Burn Scented Candles…and What You Should Do Instead

  1. Great article. I found you on Pinterest and browsed around your site.
    I recently got some Beeswax candles. This reminded me I need to get them out and use them! 🙂

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