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Why Your Scented Candle Has To Go & Safer Fall Scents

non-toxic candles

There is nothing quite like the first few days of fall, and, if you’re anything like us, you’re already imagining family apple-picking trips, big batches of chili and pumpkin muffins, and evenings snuggled under a blanket by the cozy light of….a heavily fragranced and super toxic fall-scented candle? Insert sad trombone noise.

We’re not trying to pop your fall-loving balloon, but here’s what you need to know about why many scented candles are hazardous to your health. And, because we love when our houses smell like cinnamon buns just as much as anyone, we’ve got some great ideas for non-toxic candles and nostalgic fall smells at home.

The two biggest health hazards hiding in your scented candle:

  1. They’re considered an indoor pollutant by the EPA. Many popular scented candles are made up of paraffin wax, which is petroleum based. The flame doesn’t get hot enough to completely melt the oils in the wax, allowing chemicals (including carcinogens) to pollute your environment.
  2. Candle wicks can also contain a lead core, which, when burnt, release lead into the air. While candles are no longer allowed to be sold with lead-cored wicks, they are occasionally still found in discount stores. Lead is a known toxin with dangerous consequences to exposure, particularly for children, including developmental, respiratory and reproductive toxicity, among many others. Look for non-toxic candles that contain 100% cotton wicks and avoid any with a wick with a wire center, even if it doesn’t contain lead.

For more information, check out this awesome blog post by Wellness Mama on some of her favorite alternatives and some great ways to clean your indoor air.

3 Tips You Need To Scent Your Home Safely With Non-Toxic Candles

Luckily, there’s no reason to completely give up on the cozy company of a flickering flame or enjoying the warm scents we have come to associate with this time of year.

  1. Swap for a safer wax.

There are a variety of new vegetable and natural waxes on the market today including beeswax, soybean wax and even coconut wax candles. Beeswax is an excellent option as it has a lower melting point, has a naturally sweet fragrance and may even improve your indoor air quality by infusing your environment with negative ions.

Soybean wax candles, while a safer choice than paraffin, have some other qualities that are concerning. It’s difficult to find a soy candle that doesn’t contain at least some percentage of paraffin. They’re also not environmentally responsible as most soy candles are use GMO soybeans, which means the plants and their soil were treated with toxic pesticides. In addition, a lot of the popularly discussed health benefits to soy have been disproven.

Browse some alternative types of non-toxic candles and get more great information in these roundups from Care2 and Organic Authority.

  1. Check the label!

Whichever wax you decide on, make sure it’s labeled at “100%.” A candle marked “pure soy” or “pure beeswax” only needs to contain 51% of that wax to make the claim (and, thus, can contain 49% paraffin!).

Always seek out unscented candles or those scented with essential oils versus those scented with synthetic fragrances as they bring with them a host of additional issues like phthalates. And, remember, natural fragrance isn’t necessarily safer than synthetic.

  1. Think outside the wick.

Instead of a candle, try diffusing. Essential oils come in all kinds of scents and blends and may even provide health benefits while they’re providing scent in your home. Make sure you read up on how to diffuse safely.

Or cook something up! Simple ingredients, like boiling water and aromatic spices, can make your home smell delicious without any of the downsides that come from artificial fragrances. Get started with these fragrant combinations.

And, remember that your house doesn’t have to smell like an apple pie to feel clean and welcoming. Try our nontoxic cleaning system to get your home sparkling clean and smelling fresh. Learn more about how we’ve harnessed the power of electrolyzed water to create a cleaning solution that’s as effective as bleach, but safe enough to spray on everything from your kitchen counters to your freshly arranged fall gourd centerpiece.

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