Non-Toxic Candles and Alternatives

Melissa Martin, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Certified Pilates Instructor |

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means lots and lots of candles. The holidays are synonymous with candles regardless of what you celebrate. Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just being cozy in the wintertime with a flickering ambiance, you cannot escape their warm glow. Unfortunately, what comes with the territory is a significant increase in indoor air pollution and fire risk. But this doesn’t have to be so. I am someone who personally doesn’t use their big overhead lights in the evenings and employs the use of low level, dim lights and candles to relax in the evenings and have found a way to enjoy this in a safe and non-toxic way.

The two biggest concerns when it comes to burning candles are artificial fragrance and an increased fire hazard, especially around children. Artificial fragrance is not only linked to many chronic health conditions, such as respiratory and endocrine issues, but it is now considered the new second-hand smoke. Companies are not required to list their contents in the ingredients and can hide many toxic chemicals in there as a result. Once you remove artificial fragrance from your life, you will become hyper aware and sensitive to it whenever you encounter them. You may be starting to wonder what to do in place of the conventional products, but there are so many wonderful options.

  1. Ditch all the artificial fragrance in plug ins, scented candles, room sprays, and pre-scented potpourri. As we previously discussed, these things are very toxic and bad for your health. I know it can be so hard to break up with, but it is so important to do so. I would extend this to personal products, laundry detergents, and even your trash bags. It’s in everything!
  2. Replace your scented candles with non-toxic and (ideally) beeswax candles. Not only are beeswax candles absolutely lovely to burn, but they actually cleanse the air around them. They do not emit any harmful toxins in the air and give a very cozy ambiance to your home.
  3. Invest in some good quality essential oils and diffuser. My husband and I have an artificial Christmas tree and one thing I miss is the smell of a natural one. For this, I diffuse Balsam Fir essential oil in a diffuser and it is literally the smell of a real Christmas tree. I like to add this oil into my non-scented cleaning products and in soaps to enjoy this scent throughout the home.
  4. Simmer your own homemade potpourri on the stove. This will have a very nice and powerful aroma that will fill your entire home. It will smell very nice without any synthetic fragrance!
  5. Battery operated candles. These are a must if you are a candle lover. Certain brands look very real and can be set on timers or clicked on with a remote. I personally have these in my own home and they come on at a certain time in the evening and then automatically turn off before bed. They give off a low warm light that is also circadian rhythm friendly, so it won’t mess up your sleep or be overly stimulating. I really like the Luminara brand. You can also find both battery operated and beeswax versions of conventional candles for your advent wreath or menorah.

You never have to sacrifice your favorite traditions, candles, or festive smells in order to enjoy a non or low-toxic home. Your health, home, and young children/grandchildren will greatly appreciate it and be kept safe in the meantime. Happy Holidays!