Health care

7 Non-Toxic Scented Candles That Smell Fantastic, Naturally

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We should all take our indoor air quality as seriously as we consider non-toxic cookware, with natural, clean burning candles.

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As we’ve all become more health-conscious over the years, the demand for non-toxic home goods such as cookware has skyrocketed—for a good reason. After all, who wants to consume toxic chemicals leached from their bakeware into their food?

The same caution we have around cooking tools should be applied to the products we use to fragrance our homes. Just like toxic pots and pans, the candles and air fresheners many people use on a daily basis can also release harmful chemicals into the air, affecting both our indoor air quality and our health. Yuck!

By choosing natural, non-toxic candles, you can create a safer and healthier living environment for you and your loved ones—and it’ll smell better and more natural. Candles add instant ambiance to any room. The flicker of a flame and an inviting, warm, or inspiring scent create an intriguing environment for you and your guests—but let’s leave the toxic junk out of it.

In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of synthetic scented candles and why choosing non-toxic options is an important step towards a healthier home, plus seven non-toxic scented candles we know you’ll love.

Do you burn candles at home? Leave a comment below with the scent family you find most inviting. Sweet? Spicy? Earthy? We want to know!

Healthy, Natural Candles Top Picks

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Top Ingredients to Avoid in Scented Candles

Did you know some candles contain petrochemicals and heavy metals? Read on to discover the research.

Not only are synthetic fragrances nausea-inducing, but they can cause real health issues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even released a report stating scented candles made with paraffin, contaminated oils, synthetic fragrance, and lead wicks are big-time sources of indoor air pollution.1

Paraffin Wax Candles

Most traditional candles are made with paraffin wax, a petrochemical byproduct that undergoes chemical processing and is often contaminated with carcinogenic compounds.2 It is considered an indoor pollutant when burned in candles.

Artificial, Synthetic Fragrances in Candles

Chemical fragrance brews are a mixture of many fragrance ingredients. They cause a wide range of health issues, from headaches and dizziness to asthma, and are even linked to some types of cancer. One study by the EPA found that candles with more fragrance in them produced more soot—not good news for your lungs.3

Candles with Metal Wicks

You know how some candle wicks have that little wire inside? Those can release heavy metals, including lead, associated with neurological and behavioral issues, hormonal imbalance, and reproductive problems.4,5

Which candles are natural and not toxic?

Luckily for you and everyone in your home, there are plenty of natural candle options. Look for these ingredients when shopping for fragranced candles for your home.

You can have your pretty candles, lovely scents, and a safe home, too. Not all candles include an ingredient listing, making it difficult to know if you are purchasing a safe candle. Makers of safe candles usually display whether or not paraffin or safer waxes were used to make the product. As for fragrance, if there’s no determination of where the fragrance ingredients come from (e.g. “essential oils”), steer clear. It is important to check the labeling and ingredient list of any candle before purchasing to ensure it is made from natural, non-toxic materials.

Soy Wax Candles

Soy candles are made from soybean oil and are considered to be a more sustainable alternative to paraffin wax candles. They emit fewer harmful chemicals when burned and are a good choice for those who are concerned about the environment.

Coconut Wax Candles

Coconut candles are made from coconut oil and are also considered to be a more sustainable alternative to paraffin wax candles. Like soy candles, they emit fewer harmful chemicals when burned.

Palm Oil Candles

Palm wax candles are made from sustainable palm oil and are considered to be a clean-burning alternative to paraffin wax candles.

Beeswax Candles

Beeswax candles release negative ions when burned, which can help to neutralize pollutants in the air. They are also naturally fragrant and burn cleanly.

Candles Scented with Essential Oils and Botanicals

Essential oils and botanicals are derived from plants and other natural sources, and do not contain synthetic fragrances or chemical additives. This makes them a safer and more natural alternative to synthetic scents.

Essential oils are known to have therapeutic and antibacterial properties in addition to smelling amazing.6 In contrast, synthetic fragrances can contain toxic chemicals that can harm indoor air quality.7 Naturally-sourced scents are also more environmentally friendly than synthetic fragrances, which are often made from petrochemicals and other non-renewable resources.8

Overall, candles scented with essential oils and botanicals are a safer, more natural, and more environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic scented candles. We should mention that some essential oils including tea tree, lavender, and peppermint have been shown to be harmful to aquatic life. Don’t apply lavender oil on your swim days, please!9

What is the healthiest candle to burn?

Beeswax is considered the “healthiest” candle wax. Make sure you source beeswax from a responsible bee keeper or company.

Beeswax candles are considered to be the healthiest type of candle to burn. They emit negative ions when burned, which can help to neutralize pollutants in the air, and they also release negligible amounts of harmful chemicals compared to other types of candles, such as paraffin wax candles. Additionally, beeswax candles have a natural, subtle honey scent and burn longer than other types of candles.

What makes a candle toxic?

For scented candles, opt for candles made from natural soy or coconut wax to avoid toxins and carcinogens.

A candle can be considered toxic if it releases harmful chemicals into the air when burned. Most commonly, paraffin wax candles release potentially harmful fumes such as benzene and toluene, which are known carcinogens. In addition, candles made from synthetic fragrances can also release potentially toxic chemicals, especially if they are not labeled as being made from natural ingredients. To avoid potentially toxic candles, it is best to opt for natural options such as beeswax candles or candles made from soy or coconut wax, which typically release fewer harmful chemicals when burned.

7 Best-Smelling Non-Toxic Scented Candles for Your Home

Lighting a candle creates an instant mood. And when you light up one of these beauties, you’ll know you’re enjoying that flicker and yummy scent safely.

1. Earthy Garden: Gardener Candle by The Maker

Gardener Candle by The Maker is a super clean soy wax candle.

No matter what season we’re in, we can all agree that springtime boasts the year’s best scents. Fresh green leaves, budding flowers, wet grass and crisp air—we’d like it if springtime smells stuck around longer! That’s why we love the Gardener Candle. Mint, basil, bergamot and ginger keep it crisp, while tomato leaf, green fig, and cypress lend an invigorating earthy vibe. Light this one when you want to feel fresh—no matter how tidy your house is. The Gardener Candle is made from 100% pure soy wax, with a cotton wick.

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2. Spicy & Clean: Korean Kiln Sauna Candle by Binu Binu

Korean Kiln Sauna Candle by Binu Binu is a non-toxic soy wax candle.

We wish we could make it to the spa every day, but tragically, that’s just not an option for most of us! Bring the spa to you with this spicy candle that takes cues from traditional Korean bathhouse culture, with notes of pine, juniper, birch, hay, and firewood. The stainless steel package is elegant and modern—an ode to ritual reliquary—adding a sense of gravitas and importance to your daily candle-lighting practice. Light this one to recharge during bath time or self-care moments. Made from non-GMO soy wax, with a lead-free cotton wick.

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3. Salty & Floral: Jake’s House Candle by Henry Rose

Jake’s House Candle by Henry Rose is a non-toxic candle with a yummy floral scent.

This list wouldn’t be complete without a truly floral pick! Find yourself at “Jake’s House” immersed in neroli, peony, and jasmine, with top notes of salty marine water. Get grounded in this candle’s cozy base notes of ambroxan and musk. We love that the brand, Henry Rose, cares about ingredient transparency and manufactures their candles in small batches, hand-pouring each one in California.

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4. Tropical & Sweet: Bora Bora Candle by Le Paradis

Bora Bora Candle by Le Paradis is a natural, non-toxic candle.

Take yourself to the tropics with soft notes of frangipani (also known as plumeria) and Polynesian tiare blossoms balanced with sweet coconut and jasmine. This candle is great for setting the mood before a party or girl’s night out, painting your nails, or reading your favorite romance novel—Any time you’re in need of a little escape, this blend of soy and coconut wax will be waiting for you.

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5. Heretic: Dirty Grass

Heretic Dirty Grass is a gloriously, naturally scented healthy and natural candle.

Only the grass is dirty in this clean, soy-based candle infused with a fresh, green, smoky scent and full-spectrum CBD oil. With notes of black pepper, lemongrass, and hemp, it’s the ideal way to bring the outdoors into your inner sanctum.

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6. Nette: Another Life Candle

Another Life scented candle by Nette, a non-toxic candle brand that takes sustainability seriously. 

The Nette Another Life Candle has a lux and ultra cozy scent of vanilla, cocoa, cedar wood, and patchouli. We especially love that this candle is not only non-toxic but also that Nette takes their sustainable sourcing to the next level. Every candle is handcrafted from safe, coconut-soy wax and poured into a blown-glass vessel that was also made by hand. Are you seeing a pattern? 

And to wrap it up, literally, it’s presented in super lux packaging made from recycled shoe boxes and printed with seaweed ink.

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7. Malin + Goetz: Dark Rum

Malin + Goetz non-toxic scented candles are handmade and hand-poured in Brooklyn, NY.

This candle’s clean blend of beeswax, vegetable and soy waxes provides a beautiful and moody burning experience. Glowing warm scents of exotic rum and notes of vanilla, leather, and plum, you could say this is the candle version of your favorite worn sweater. We like that Malin + Goetz scents are perfect for layering, and this one burns well with their mojito candle.

Once this cruelty-free vegan candle has burned down, the elegant glass container is easy to clean up and reuse or repurpose.

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*This article contains affiliate links that are independently sourced and vetted by our editorial team which we may earn a commission on. We are here to help you navigate the overwhelming world of consumer products to source and uncover thoughtfully made, conscious clean products for you and your family.

This article was updated in February 2023 with fresh product picks and latest facts on the natural, non-toxic candle industry.

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