Candles are one of the most versatile and inexpensive home decor items available. In addition to providing a relaxing ambiance, candles can also be used to freshen the air, repel bugs, and soothe headaches.
However, not all candles have the same composition. Some candles release chemicals into the air and can trigger allergies or asthma. While others are made from natural and sustainable materials and qualify as non-toxic and eco-friendly candles.
So, when choosing candles, be sure to make the best choice for both your health and the environment. If you are interested in eco-friendly home decor, you can also check our articles about non-toxic & organic pillows or about sustainable furniture.
Preview of the article
- Are Paraffin Wax Candles Safe for Human Health and Environment?
- Soy Wax Candles & Beeswax Candles – The Eco-Friendly Candles Alternatives
- Our Selection of Coconut Wax, Beeswax and Soy Wax Candles
Are Paraffin Wax Candles Safe for Human Health and Environment?
What is paraffin wax?
Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct. It has a variety of uses such as candles and cosmetics making. Today, paraffin wax is the most widely used wax for scented and unscented candles. It’s also common to find “mixed” candles with an amount of paraffin blend with coconut wax or soy wax.
Paraffin is relatively inexpensive, and easy to obtain, and it can hold a high amount of fragrances and colors making it a popular choice for many manufacturers.
Does burning candles release chemicals into the air?
Yes, it does.
Various scientific studies have shown that burning candles release volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matters such as formaldehyde and benzene into the air. This article from Rezaei, Wang, and Johnson found that burning paraffin wax releases more soot and therefore chemicals than soy candles.
The main pollutants emitted by candles are also found in ambient air. Those substances are common in many households and can be released by appliances or furniture into our indoor air.
Should you be concerned about chemicals released into the air?
No, you shouldn’t.
Candles do indeed release chemicals when burning, but the levels measured are relatively low and not considered harmful. The emissions released while burning a candle are too low to pose a significant risk to human health. This 2021 scientific study confirms that “under normal conditions of use candles do not pose known health risks to the consumer.”
According to the Candles Association, “A well-made candle will create virtually no smoke when burning properly.” Nevertheless, to avoid any smoke when burning a candle, always make sure to trim the wick of the candle (¼ inch) every time you use it. It’s also important to place the candles away from drafts, and air currents.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you should consider using unscented candles as some scents and fragrances can trigger some reactions (allergies or asthma). Unscented candles (soy wax, beeswax, or paraffin) contain no synthetic perfumes that can sometimes cause reactions.
Burning a candle now and then is perfectly safe and can even help to freshen up your home. Soy wax, beeswax or paraffin candles are not dangerous for your health and do not affect the quality of your indoor air.
What’s wrong with paraffin wax?
If paraffin wax candles are safe to use, it doesn’t mean that they are sustainable. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum and therefore is far from eco-friendly. The petroleum industry is highly polluting, and the extraction and refining of crude oil cause significant environmental damage. Paraffin is not renewable and not biodegradable.
For eco-friendly candles, consider sustainable alternatives such as beeswax and soy candles, or even coconut wax. They are made from natural products and renewable resources.
Beeswax candles, soy candles, and coconut wax candles have a less detrimental impact on the environment than ones made from petroleum.
Soy Wax Candles & Beeswax Candles – The Eco-Friendly Candles Alternatives
Soy wax candle
Hydrogenated soybean oil or soy wax is extracted from soybeans. Soybeans are used to create soybean oil that can be crafted into a candle.
This material is a good eco-friendly alternative to paraffin candles as soy is a natural and renewable resource. Yet, there are some ecological concerns about the soy industry and its environmental impact. This industry is known to use heavy amounts of pesticides and increase deforestation in some countries.
Soy candles have a low melting point of 43 degrees Celsius while beeswax and paraffin candles reach their melting points above 60 degrees Celsius. It means that soy candles will usually last longer than ones made from other materials.
Soy candles are 100% plant-based, biodegradable, and very often vegan. It’s a great eco-friendly candle alternative with low impacts on the environment.
Beeswax is the raw material used for producing honeycombs by bees. It’s the foundation for a bee hive. It is a water-resistant lubricant and is available in several shades of white or dark yellow and can be used in many different applications.
Beeswax candles burn clean, releasing almost no soot into the air. Finally, this wax made by bees emits a pleasant, honey-like scent when burned, adding a touch of ambiance to any setting.
For all these reasons, beeswax candles are an excellent choice for those looking for a sustainable and renewable option.
Coconut wax candle – The new-comer
Coconut wax candle has become more and more popular in recent years.
Coconut wax is made from the oil of coconuts, which are renewable and biodegradable resources. Coconut oil is natural and safe to burn in your home.
Most importantly, coconut wax candles burn cleanly and evenly, giving you a beautiful flame without releasing any chemicals into the air. If you are looking for a sustainable and environmentally friendly option for your candles, look no further than coconut wax.
Soy Candles vs Beeswax Candles – Which one is Better?
Soy wax and beeswax are both sustainable options. Soy wax is made from soybeans, a renewable resource, and beeswax is a natural product that can be harvested without harm to the bees.
Both soy wax and beeswax candles burn cleanly and slowly. And because they’re made from natural materials, there are no concerns about soot or component released into your home. So next time you’re shopping for candles, make a sustainable choice and choose soy candles or beeswax candles.
What Is The Healthiest Candle Wax?
Most candles on the market are scented, but there are also a growing number of unscented options available. While many people choose candles based on their fragrance, unscented candles have a number of advantages that make them the healthier choice. For one, scented candles often contain synthetic fragrances. These scented candles can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
Unscented candles, on the other hand, don’t pose these risks. They’re also less likely to cause smoke in your home. So if you’re looking for a healthier option, choose an unscented candle.
Plant-based candles such as soy wax, beeswax or coconut wax are equally healthy. Try to avoid paraffin candles.
What Candles For The Vegans?
When it comes to choosing vegan candles, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, you’ll want to make sure that the candles are made with natural waxes. This is important because some synthetic waxes contain animal-derived ingredients.
Secondly, you’ll want to check the label to make sure that the candles are scented with essential oils.
Though vegans may be divided on the ethics of using honey, there’s one thing they can all agree on: beeswax is out.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other natural waxes that are perfect for vegan candles. Soy wax, for instance, is a renewable resource. Coconut wax is soft and creamy, making it ideal for luxury candles. And both olive oil and rapeseed oil can be used to create beautiful handmade candles.
Our Selection of Coconut Wax, Beeswax and Soy Wax Candles
Brooklyn Candle Studio
Item: Sunday Morning
Characteristics: Vegan, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, petroleum-free, lead-free cotton wicks, and 100% soy wax in a glass jar.
Burns for: 50 hours
Price: $28 for the 7.5 oz candle
Item: Matte Black Candle
Characteristics: Vegan & cruelty-free coconut and soy candles, paraben-free, phthalate-free, recycled packaging.
Burns for: 55h
Item: Cashmere Kush Candle
Characteristics: All-natural coconut and beeswax, paraffin-free, braided cotton wick, 100% recyclable packaging.
Burns for: 50h
Price: $36 for 8.5 oz
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