Are Safe Scented Candles A Myth?

Spread the love

Safe Scented Candles

Do safe scented candles even exist?   Are we trying to kid ourselves when we are looking for scented candles that are environmentally safe and good for our health?  Is it possible to get the best of both worlds or will we always have to sacrifice one for the other?

Safe Scented Candles

Are Safe Scented Candles More Than A Myth?

Scented candles are sold almost everywhere these days.   I think most women and even some men love scented candles; I would even go out on a limb to say that most of us would prefer safe scented candles if it is possible to find those.  We would prefer not to give up our scented candles so having the assurance that we can safely use them would be an added bonus in my book.  According to the National Candle Association:

There is just something therapeutic about scented candles; and that is what I think draws most persons to them.  Scented candles  are made from many different oils that come from unknown sources. How can we get the best of both worlds, is the question that is on the lips of many lovers of scented candles? According to Dr. Oz, these very scented candles that we love so much could be polluting the air in our homes.   Should we take this seriously or just move right along?

Candle sales took off in the 1990s, when they became a part of home decor and peaked in 2000, growing at a rate of 10 percent or more each year. Consumer demand for home fragrance products helped feed this tremendous boom (White)


Safe Scented Candles

Findings From BBC Investigation

A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent mutates into formaldehyde upon contact with the air.

Professor Lewis and his team are concerned about one particular ingredient in many scented candles – LIMONENE.   By itself this is fairly safe, so safe that it is sometimes used in food.  However, “limonene also reacts with naturally occurring ozone when released into the air, causing one in every two limonene molecules to mutate into formaldehyde”.  The team is concerned that there are higher levels of limonene in scented candles than previously thought and that concentrations of formaldehyde linger longer in homes because people rarely open their windows these days.


Safe Scented Candles

How Can We Protect Ourselves

If you are not ready to give up scented candles then here are a few tips that may help to keep you safe:

  • Open doors and windows more often after using scented candles
  • Trim the wick before lighting to 1/8 inch or two pennies stacked together
  • Invest in a natural air filter (NASA has designed one that seems to do a great job)
  • Add plants indoor (Boston Fern, English Ivy or Lavender)
  • Check to make sure that your candle wicks are not made out of lead.   Candle wicks that have lead in them will leave a grey mark if you try to draw a line with it.

Place one plant per 100 square feet in your home and you could eliminate most of the chemicals in your home

The experts have also suggested using unscented candles but I am still puzzled about this one.   Scented and unscented are really on opposite sides of the track so I am still trying to figure out how this might be a solution for someone who loves scented candles.   Anyway, they have also suggested purchasing soy or 100 percent beeswax candles as a way of protecting yourself if you love candles.  One thing that had me sitting up in my seat was the suggestion to make your own natural scent:

  • Put a pot of water on the stove
  • Add cinnamon, cloves or any other spices that you love
  • Simmer the spices
  • Pour into a jar
  • Open the jar and let it release the scent into your house
  • One jar can last for about a week

At the end of the day, all this is a personal choice.  I am not a medical personnel, just someone looking for ways to protect my family and myself.   Each of us have to decide what is best for our families.  It is important that we take the time to do our research, so that we can make more informed decisions.


Follow me on bloglovin


Statistics Inspire Many Candle Lovers to Start A Business of Their Own.  Retrieved From

White, T. How Big is the Candle Industry?  Retrieved From

Why Scented Candles Could Cause Cancer.   Retrieved From

Spread the love

140 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    I try to not burn candles, mainly so the littles don’t pull them off and burn the house down, but this is something so wonderful to think about-scary how many chemicals are in EVERYTHING!

    • says:

      LOL…Jessica I totally hear you on that one. They seem to gravitate towards these things so better safe than sorry

  2. Pam says:

    We’re slowly moving away from candles. Essential oils tend to be our choice for scent lately. I do need to try making a simmer pot though to see how it works for us!

    • says:

      Pam I would love to hear your experience with moving away from scented candles. I am very much interested in essential oils as well

  3. Donna says:

    Oh wow, I like to think I am pretty environmentally conscious, but I had no idea about this. I happened to just switch out candles and started using an oil diffuser with essential oils, which I am loving.

    • says:

      Donna that is excellent, I need to get an oil diffuser as well. So I will be looking into that as soon as I get some time. Any suggestions as to a good one?

  4. Very interesting information and solutions Mardene. I had no idea that there were chemicals of the nature you describe here involved in scented candles. Sure makes a person think twice. And yes, there’s nothing like the scent of cinnamon wafting through the house.

    • says:

      Carol it sure gets one thinking and that is why further research is so important. It is important for us to get to the bottom of this one way or the other

  5. Denea says:

    I had no idea this even existed. I burn candles all the time. Now I started using scentsy, wondering if it is the same.

    • says:

      Denea, I am not sure but I would suggest that you start by looking to see what the ingredients are. Then take it from there

  6. She Joh says:

    I’ve heard scented candles can be dangerous too, thanks for bringing more research and educating me more on the subject!

  7. Mary Martin says:

    Wow, I didn’t know about precautions (other than fire hazard) that should be taken with scented candles. I love them but actually don’t burn them regularly. I have some that give off a scent when the room temperature gets high enough also. Thanks for this info!

    • says:

      Mary I only just learnt about all this myself. So it is important that we all take the time to do further research

  8. Sandy Mangis says:

    Thank you for the information. This is something I haven’t really thought of. I love candles yet haven’t burned any lately.

    • says:

      Sandy I am happy to have been of assistance. I hope you get a chance to do some research on the subject

  9. Feisty Froggy says:

    I love the diverse and interesting topics you blog about! I have nominated your blog for the “One Lovely Blog” Award.

  10. I never thought about scented candles not being safe. Something to think about for sure. I’ve done the potporri thing on the stove before. It smells great but it doesnt last a super long time once you transfer it into the jar.

    • says:

      Hannah thank you for that bit of information re the DIY for scenting the room. The report says it last for about a week

  11. tauyanm says:

    love the idea of making your own scent! will try this next time! i think this is best when my daughter and I have colds haha better natural smell than candles. love it!

    • says:

      Tauyanm yes that might be a better idea than the candles when there is any kind of allergies

  12. Amber Nelson says:

    I love scented candles. These would be perfect for a gift!

  13. Lisa Rios says:

    These are some wonderful tips to take note as safety comes first. I do love burning different types of candles, but never know the issues behind them & I love the guidance you have provided on the same.

    • says:

      Thank you Lisa. I am an information person so anything I find that can help in that regard I love to share

  14. Lucy Valdez says:

    I’m curious…what about soy candles made with essential oils? I’ve heard that soy candles are better and don’t release toxins in the air.

  15. Teresa says:

    It never occurred to me that the candles I burn may not be safe. This has definitely opened my eyes. Great article!

  16. CourtneyLynne says:

    I love candles. Safe to say I’m a candle junkie lol.. These are some great tips on how to be a tad bit safer with them!

  17. Patricia says:

    Great tips here! I am not a big fan of scented candles ( maybe because my kids are allergic to so many things) but I like to have nice smelling house…so I’ll do lots of cooking and fresh flowers- it makes my home!

  18. Toni says:

    Safety first is so important…thank you for these tips. I burn candles all the time and I need to be more careful.

  19. I love all the tips you gave! I always have a window open and I’m always keeping an eye on the candles. when I use them!

    • says:

      Claudia that is great news. We all have to pay attention to the things that can potentially harm us in any way

  20. Milena says:

    I knew there were some risks with burning candles, but I never investigated. This is wonderful information. Now I know what to do and look for in the future.

    • says:

      Milena from the moment I saw the program on TV I started researching and I still am. My health is very important so if there is any truth to it, I want to know

  21. I love candles and have heard before the dangers of scented candles. Very informative tips!

    • says:

      Thank you Jasmine for your comment. Many of us love scented candles but whatever we can do to make them safer to use, we really should

  22. jill conyers says:

    I love candles and didn’t now any of this. I may have to rethink my love of candles and stick with essential oils in my diffuser.

    • says:

      Jill I think we can continue to love candles, even the scented ones. However how we deal with them might have to change

  23. Natalie says:

    I burn candles all of the and never really thought about the dangers involves in burning candles.

    • says:

      Natalie I am glad I was able to get the conversation going. I hope you take the time to do some more research on your own

  24. You did a good job sharing information about the pros and cons of scented and unscented. While I don’t mind using the scented ones, I have to agree that health comes first but at most, I don’t really see anything alarming so long as I can open my windows after.

    • says:

      Karlaroundtheworld, thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment.

  25. Kiwi says:

    I have heard before the dangers of scented candles. I am not a real candle burner anyways but now i am looking into essential oil diffusers and now u sparked me into making my own organic candle.

    • says:

      Kiwi I am happy to hear about you thinking of making organic candles. Do share when you have done that…

  26. I love scented candles. They work better than anything I know to make a room smell great. It does concern me, however, that they are a health hazard. I know a lot of people that have to be careful if they have breathing problems. It’s always wise to take precautions and study up.

    • says:

      Beeb those scented candles really know how to make a room smell gooooooood…you have to admit that…LOL

  27. I love a good smelling candle. I have them all over the house, the candles are more for decor though. I tend to use warmers alot on the day to day. I like throwing a bunch of oils in the warmers though and letting them create different scents.

  28. Kathy says:

    I still love burning candles. I have the warmers and tarts as well, but I just love burning candles. I have to be very careful with my daughters around though.

    • says:

      Kathy I agree. Especially when we have kids we have to think twice about how much this can affect them.

  29. Liz Mays says:

    I hadn’t considered this! I don’t burn candles very often but I may have to think about some alternatives!

    • says:

      Liz I would just proceed with caution. I know it is hard for many persons to give up their scented candles but as I said we have to proceed with caution

  30. GiGi Eats says:

    Ugh. I have to admit – scented candles. Yep. I love them!

  31. Very informative tips! I don’t usually light scented candles unless there is a power out. This post is a good read. Thanks!

  32. Echo says:

    I love the tips you gave! I always have a window open when I use scented candles!

  33. Barely Vegan says:

    I love this! I don’t use scented candles, but I’ve always wanted to try simmering spices in water to make my house smell good!

    • says:

      Barely Vegan that sounds like the most logical and smart option to me. Or we just make sure we have our facts where these are concerned

  34. Taylor Ebner says:

    I did not realize scented candles were such a danger. I love the idea of making your own and will definitely be trying it before I light another scented candle.

  35. Roxy says:

    I didn’t know any of this. My boyfriend loves scented candles, but we don’t burn them all that often and when we do it’s not for very long. I will have to bare this in mind moving forward.

  36. Heather says:

    I stopped buying scented candles a long time ago for this very reason (and the lead wicks!) Now we love to make hand dipped candles with beeswax – so much fun! I can add a little essential oil to the mix and we are all good.

    • says:

      Heather sounds like you are a smart person. I say better to be safe than sorry. There is nothing to lose if this is just a myth but everything to gain if it is not

  37. tp keane says:

    I love scented candles. I never knew there was an issue with them. I wonder where Dr. Oz got his info, ie clinical trials.

  38. I have bad allergies. Although I love scented candles, I can only handle the softer scented ones. Flowery smelling ones or ones that smell like perfume just choke me it seems like. Vanilla and pumpkin bread scented ones seem to be best for me.

    • says:

      Well Dawn I am with you on that one. I cannot even use flowery smelling lotions etc, they just give me a headache. For that reason I stick to the softer smelling ones

  39. Natalia says:

    I never considered the possible dangers of scented candles but it’s always good to open windows daily just to let air circulate!

    • says:

      Natalie I really think it is important. I was kinda shocked to get here to the USA and see that some homes do not even have windows that can open….

  40. Lexie Lane says:

    I wish I can find a safe scented candle. I love using it every time I want to relax my body.

    • says:

      Lexie if I were you I would just do my research. I am sure there are places that sell safe scented candles

  41. Nicole Escat says:

    I love having candles during night, a citronella scented candle to keep mosquito away but I will study more about its side effects.

    • says:

      Nicole that is what I hope, that this will be a conversation starter for all of us. So that we can go and do our own research just to be on the safe side

  42. I only use scented candles as additonal decoration, never really burn them. Never thought they can polute the air that much. The post is very informative, giving us more clue about the bad side of scented candles.

    • says:

      Rose I am glad I was able to shed some light on the subject. I think this deserves more research and at the very least regulation of some sort

  43. Danne Reed says:

    I love candles especially on our dinner table, I never know that there is a harmful effect of scented candles.

    • says:

      Danne I can see why you would add them to decorations. They have some very vibrant colors out there

  44. Nicole Escat says:

    I never know that after we used scented candles, we should open window, I’m so thankful to know this info. This is really important.

    • says:

      Nicole, honestly I never thought of doing that. When you think about it, that would kinda defeat the purpose of using scented candles in the first place.

  45. Ryan Escat says:

    My favorite scent is lavender, it is very relaxing but never thought that it can be dangerous too, thanks for sharing this.

    • says:

      Ryan, yes lavender is very relaxing along with a lot of other fragrances. That is the thing about scented candles, they seem to get you in a relaxing mood

  46. Amanda Love says:

    I just love my candles and just placed a big order from Yankee Candle. I also use scented wax because I just love my home to smell nice. However I can’t see myself using unscented candles at all.

  47. Elizabeth O. says:

    I didn’t know this about scented candles. We don’t have a lot at home but we do have some and we light them up from time to time. Thanks for sharing this information, it’s good to learn about these things especially when you have them at home.

    • says:

      Elizabeth I always say knowledge is key and as consumers we need to know what is out there.

  48. Debra says:

    I actually dont use candles at all because we have three little asthmatics in our house, but this information is fascinating!

    • says:

      Debra that is a good call especially when the kids are asthmatics. Makes perfect sense not to do anything to cause further aggrivation

  49. Alison says:

    I don’t like having candles lit in my house with little boys who throw balls all around! But I do have to say I love the way a house smells that has a candle burning. Thanks for the info.

    • says:

      Alison….I had to smile when I read of the little boys throwing balls around. I Know exactly what that is…LOL

  50. Paula says:

    I had no idea that scented candles could cause a problem with air quality. I find them so soothing and like to use them to clear the air (seemingly ironically) in our house.

    • says:

      Paula that is what I am saying too. Scented candles just bring a sense of calmness and peace to me when I light them

  51. Personally I can’t stand scented candles. they never smell like they are labeled. I do steam herbs and spices though to scent my house.

    • says:

      Michelle you have made the right choice. We may not know the full story behind the scented candles but at least you know that the herbs and spices will not harm you

  52. I really like your tip about using plants to clean the air, however 1 plan for every 100 square feet seems like a lot! I would need 16 plants in my house – that’s a lot of things for me to try to keep alive.

    • says:

      LOL Rachel…those suggestions came from the team. I am simply reporting…I am not really a plant lover so not sure how that would work with me

  53. I think I may pass on this one. I do love my scented candles and no I don’t have them in every room by the dozen. I am however grateful for the information.

    • says:

      Rebecca that is the beautiful thing about information. Each person is entitled to what they do with it, including myself. I am still researching

  54. Andrea says:

    I’ve just recently heard about this. I am definitely going to looking for more natural ways to make my house smell good while being safe.

    • says:

      Andrea me too and that is why I am looking into it some more. If there is a chance that what is being said is true, I want to know

  55. I am going to move along on this one Mardene as I am a huge fan of scented candles. No, I do not have a dozen in every room and while the windows are opened – sometimes – that kinda defeats the purpose, no? LOL. Like coffee, this is one of my vices that I am going to stick with but many thanks for the info. 🙂

    • says:

      LOL…that is why I say it is a personal decision for everyone. Each person has to do what they think is right for them. Some might be willing to take the chance and others will just move right along. Whichever way its all good….

  56. I adore scented candles but I normally have them for decoration and not to burn. I never knew that they might not be safe!

    • says:

      Ana…I did not know either and I think I am going to do some more research on this. As I said before, there is just something about scented candles that is I cannot explain

  57. TIna says:

    I had no idea!!! I will certainly open the windows after I burn my next candle!

    • says:

      Tina, I believe anyone who can open the windows should do so. I am not really sure what the effects are but am I prepared to find out of they are as dangerous as this study says?

  58. Elihu says:

    Beeswax candles are a great alternative; burn them for ambiance and then run an essential oil diffuser for non-toxic aromatherapy. ?

  59. I love scented candles, too. I knew they could be unsafe, but I thought that there were safety regulations for candles these days. It won’t take but a second to open a window, though, just in case.

    • says:

      Terri, for an industry that is booming, I think more should be done about regulation. I guess it will take some time to get there

  60. Wow We love scented candles esp. when we are in spirit, prayer time and at dinner time. So I am taking note for sure. Didnt know they could be harmful! Thanks for sharing

    • says:

      Julie you are most welcome. I am happy to have provided another view on the scented candles

  61. Eugenia says:

    I love scented candles a lot, but I didn’t know they can be harmful to our health. I think prevention is better than cure! Thanks for sharing such helpful tips that can help to keep us safe! As we know well health can’t be bought, no matter how much money we have!

    • says:

      Eugenia that is exactly how I feel. That is why I decided to do some research and just try to be on the safe side.

    • says:

      Eugenia amen to that, better to be safe than sorry is what I say as well

  62. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This is indeed very interesting information about the safety of scented candles. I will have to share this info with my sister who loves scented candles Thanks for sharing this information.

    • says:

      Rebecca you are most welcome. I used to really love scented candles too but I must admit I have put the brakes to it since watching the special on TV

  63. After this blog post I think i will not use it anymore. Because it is not that good thing, but can damage health. So, better to use Tesla light! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!

    • says:

      No problem Hrvoje, I am glad I was able to shed some light on this. Do your homework and see what can work for you. I am still researching

  64. tara pittman says:

    I never knew this about candles. I tend to burn them on cold days so opening windows would be hard.

    • says:

      Tara I would say just do your homework and take the necessary precautions. This way you are sure you are protecting yourself and your family

  65. Leelo says:

    Wow! Thank you for this very informative post. I would have never thought that scented candles can be bad for your health.

    • says:

      Leelo I never gave it much thought until I saw it on the Dr. Oz Show a couple months ago. Then I started to do some research

  66. Amy Jones says:

    Wow I didn’t even know scented candles could be unsafe, well I guess I learned something new. However I’m going to try that home made scent formula with cinnamon right now

    • says:

      Amy knowledge is key and the more we know the better decisions we can make for the health of ourselves and those we love.

  67. I really love these candles so I might take your tips to keep myself protected!

    • says:

      Ana I love them too but I also want to be healthy. So I am doing some more research and keeping my eyes open

  68. Chris says:

    Being a candle widow, (lost her to the world of candles and smelly things) I understand how a candle can just about take over the whole house. I’m told, smell, length of burn, after-smell (I’m told that’s a thing) are all important. However my beloved has never really been to concerned about the fire aspect. That’s why we make a good couple. She likes the burning, and I rest better knowing its been blown out.
    Good article

    • says:

      LOL…I love that term “candle widow”…..this is such a great response. I wish I could frame it. Thank you so much for this comment, it made me chuckle

  69. says:

    Robin I am so with you. There is just something about scented candles that is so soothing….but if it is harmful to my health I would love to know. I will do some more research on this one though

  70. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    I burn candles literally all the time. It never occurred to me that they might not be safe. I will open the windows after I burn the next one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *