Clean Swaps: Candles

For each clean swap I’ve written about this past month (fragrances, laundry, and bath products) it feels like 10 more pop up that I could write about. Although this is the final post in this month-long series, know that this topic is one I’m passionate about and will keep sharing about!

*In fact, I have an end of April sponsored post that I’m so excited about along these same lines!

I truly hope these posts have been helpful (or at the very least thought provoking) for you. I’ve gotten messages from some of my dear readers telling me they had never thought of bath products or fragrances harming our body’s ecosystem and let me tell you, so many of the conventional products we use on a regular basis aren’t doing our bodies any favors.

Especially now in this time, when as a world we’re more concerned about health and wellness than seemingly ever before, it’s always good to take stock of what we can do to improve our lives.

Today’s agenda:

  • build a case about harmful toxins in some candle brands
  • share some good clean swaps that aren’t harmful



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What’s Wrong With Candles?

Who doesn’t love candles? They take a home to a level of cozy you just can’t achieve without them. Lighting a beautiful candle in the evening or on a rainy day ignites a little spark inside me and makes my home a little more beautiful. And that’s not to mention the scents that linger in the air.

But what’s not often realized is that lots of popular candle brands and scents broadcast toxins into the air and can linger long after the scent dissipates.

Most candles are made from a cheap material called paraffin wax (a chemically bleached petroleum waste product) which when burned release two toxins in the air called benzene and toluene. Studies have shown that the same fumes in diesel fuel are found in paraffin wax candles. Yikes.

And not only is the wax harmful but many candles that are manufactured overseas are created with a lead core wick, which obviously is alarming just by itself.

All of these facts, combined with the fact that candles often burn in unventilated rooms (hello, bathrooms), make a generic candle a pretty necessary item to swap out for a clean product.

What to Look For in a Non-Toxic Candle?

  • 100% Cotton Wick –

Stay away from those potentially heavy metal filled wicks. It’s illegal for US candle manufacturers to produce candles with lead wicks so shop local as much as you can!

  • 100% Soy Wax or Beeswax –

Look for candles that share their wax base. It’s pretty common to see candle companies share if they’re using soy wax or not. Soy wax is a clean and green substance that is safe to burn.

  • Naturally Derived Fragrances – ones made with essential oils

We’ve talked a lot about the danger of heavy, chemical fragrances and how the FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose the ingredients in their fragrances, so it’s common for toxins to hide in plain sight. A way around this is to burn candles with natural scents made from essentials oils.

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Clean Candle Brands

  • Clean Beauty Collective

PRICED: mid-range

They just recently launched a home line with a beautiful soy-based candles. I have the scent Fresh Linens and it’s summertime in a candle – I can’t wait to burn it when the windows are wide open and warm breezes can creep into the home.

Shop Their Clean Space Collection and Candles

  • PF Candle Co

PRICED: mid-range

They have a really beautiful line of candles (we recently purchased this one) that are made with 100% soy wax and are free from parabens.

Shop My Favorite Scents: Amber & Moss | Apple Picking | Sweet Grapefruit

  • Mrs Meyers Candles

PRICED: budget

I was a little surprised about this brand, because they’re so inexpensive and you can find them at grocery stores, but they’re made with soy wax or vegetable wax – effectively eliminating most of the toxic ingredients. I’ve never bought one of these candles but I have smelled them and they’re mild and perfect for a kitchen!

Shop The Scents : Basil | Lemon Verbena | Clean Day

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Candle Alternatives

Although there’s not many things better than lighting a candle on a rainy day, if you’re looking for any home scent alternatives to candles diffusers have been growing in popularity for good reasons.

Over the Christmas season I was gifted my first diffuser and it’s one of my favorite home items I own. Diffusers delicately send essential oil fragrances into the air to purify and cleanse it. While there are many less expensive options (plastic diffusers, etc.) my diffuser is from the brand Vitruvi and it looks more like a piece of artwork rather than a diffuser.

They have an absolutely beautiful product line including my terra cotta color. I also have quite a few of their oils to diffuse and it creates an experience that’s not unlike burning a beautiful candle.

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Emily Lewandowski @emilyjlewandowski