Happy Friday! We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled Friday Chit Chat post to have a big chit chat about candles. You know you love them. And if you’re anything like me, come October first, you’re wanting to burn those special Holiday candles. Like I was chomping at the bit for a pumpkin candle in September. Filling our homes with scents that evoke memories of the Holidays make our homes feel special and cozy, right? Nothing sets the mood for Fall like a pumpkin candle…and come mid November, I’m burning the Pine scented ones in full force. Not only do I love the scent, but I also love the glow of candlelight on my island, in a bathroom if we’re having guests over or on the credenza in our entryway. But here’s the catch…in recent years a LOT of data has come out about the safety of them. For the air, for the environment and most importantly, for our bodies.
Don’t get me wrong…I do PLENTY of things for myself and my home that are considered toxic in many cases. But I’m open to learning more about how I can do small things in my life to make my home and the environment safer for my family. A few weeks ago, I shared some non-toxic candles on my Friday Chit Chat post and you guys were all about that information! You dove right in with questions so I thought I’d dive a little deeper today considering we’re officially entering Holiday Season soon and will be wanting to light and gift all the candles. I mean is there a better hostess gift than a beautiful candle?! Nope!
So how did this all start? My Mom suffers from allergies and is passionate about living in a chemical and toxin free home. Years ago, she discovered some amazing scented, non-toxic candles and ever since then, I’ve been on a quest for other brands that will raise the bar on how they make their candles. I’m a sucker for a fancy candle (Jo Malone and Diptique were an adulting right of passage when I worked at Neiman Marcus after college) but I had to make sure the candles I was spending my hard earned money on were safe. For the record, I am not a doctor, scientist or environmental expert. My info is taken purely from the great internet and the amount of time spent trying to find this unicorn candle is probably considered absurd to most, lol! Ok so here’s the scoop:
Why Are Some Scented Candles Toxic?
1.) The Wax– Most candles are made out of paraffin. Paraffin releases carcinogens into the air in the form of soot as it burns. It’s similar to diesel fuel when it burns. Gross. Soot is terrible for your health from a respiratory standpoint but for people with allergies, asthma and lung issues, this is especially risky. Also, that soot lands everywhere in your home. My research in this led me to a bunch of stories of avid candle burners that reported excessive soot damage in their homes…for the record, insurance does not cover those claims. Personally, I’ll opt out of the diesel fumes in my house, okkkurrrr?
2.) The Wick- Old school wicks had lead cores. I remember seeing these candles on our Thanksgiving table growing up! My job was always to light or put out the candles on Holidays. And polish the silver- worst job ever, right?! If you are one of those people that saves everything, check your candles. If they’ve got lead wicks, do yourself and your family a favor and toss them! They were banned in 2003 because of this:
“A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.”
Toss those ones!
You want a 100% cotton wick (which is most of the wicks on the market now).
How To Buy Safe Scented Candles
1.) When you can, only buy 100% beeswax candles or 100% vegetable wax- both are non toxic! Whoo hoo! The caveat? These candles are much more expensive. It’s just like groceries nowadays. You can buy a coke and a bag of Cheetos for 1.99 but an organic honeycrisp apple will set you back at least $2.50. Makes a lot of sense, right? Anyway, just make sure it says 100% beeswax since many brands like to combine paraffin and beeswax to lower the cost. Shady! My homework has shown me that brands really try to hide this information. I had to dig and dig to find out what kind of wax some really popular candles were made out of- and there’s a reason for that. They don’t want us to know. A great example is that is right here. WHERE is the information on WHAT the candle is made out of?! You better believe if they were burning high quality wax, that information would be marketed all over their site. Be an educated consumer and read the labels or look up your favorite brands online to see if they’re safe or not. My bet is that the candle that’s $5.99 from Home Goods is probably not beeswax…sorry!
2.) Trim the Wick to a 1/4 inch before lighting. This reduces a lot of the soot that could be emitted.
As of late, my loyalty has been with the Williams Sonoma candles. They smell fantastic and look pretty! I found a bunch on major sale below! You’re in the safe zone with the brands of candles I show below…most are Holiday scents but I added a few fun ones in just because they looked pretty fabulous. I hope this helps! Nothing like falling into a toxic candle rabbit hole on a Friday, right? As always, thank you so much for following along! xo