10 Best Nontoxic Candles to Use for Cleaner Indoor Air
Avoid allergy triggers and headaches from heavily scented candles with these natural candles that offer a nontoxic way to freshen up your indoor air.
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Scented candles, allergies, and more
While the Covid-19 pandemic has opened up lots of outdoor activities and created new outdoor dining, shopping, and workout options, many states across the country have already opened back up indoor dining, gyms, and other entertainment (at limited capacity, and with safety guidelines that must be followed).
Candles are a common go-to product to help freshen up the scent of a room. The issue is, many scented candles (and scents in general) can be tough on the airways for some individuals. “Most scented candles are made from paraffin wax,” explains Payel Gupta, MD, FACAAI, triple board-certified in allergy and immunology, internal medicine and pediatrics, associate clinical professor Mount Sinai Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in New York City, and co-founder and chief medical officer at Get Cleared, an allergy relief company. “When burned, paraffin wax can release toxic, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the air, including acetone, benzene, and toluene, which are known carcinogens.”
While some people only notice a delicious scent once a wick is lit, others, especially those with allergies, may not have an enjoyable experience with candles. “The issue for a person with allergies and/or asthma, is that it can be an irritant to the respiratory passages and airways,” says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, author of The New Allergy Solution, founder and medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York in New York City.
“Individuals may experience headaches, difficulty breathing, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest, worsening asthma symptoms, runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing,” says Dr. Gupta. ” If you experience any of these allergy triggers, you should stop using that candle.”
Natural, nontoxic candle brands
If some candles give you allergies or irritate your airways, there is good news: you may not have to give up candles.
While Dr. Bassett and Dr. Gupta both agree that some people should stay away from candles altogether—and Dr. Gupta points out that no regulatory board has validated claims about nontoxic candles—there are eco-friendly options on the market. These candles are made from more natural ingredients like soy and beeswax, which might be easier on the airways and produce less indoor air pollution when burned.
Based on our experts’ input, we’ve rounded up some of the best, all-natural, nontoxic candles available that might result in cleaner indoor air than traditional candles.
Craft & Kin Soy Candles
Made from all-natural soy, this aromatic candle gets its smell from essential oils, burned with a 100 percent cotton wick. They’re designed in California, too. Choose from five different scents: fresh flowers, fresh linen, leather, violet velvet, or wood.
Lulu Candles Luxury Scented Soy Candle
$15 for 16-ounce candle
Hand poured in the USA, these eco-friendly, soy wax candles come in basic clear tumblers, and last a long time, thanks to the slow-burning wick—that is 100 percent cotton. There are over 24 scents to choose from, so you’re bound to find one you like, or gift one to a friend.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Scented Soy Aromatherapy Candle
$8 for 4.9-ounce candle
From the natural, eco-friendly, household cleaning brand comes a candle with, what the company claims to have, a 35-hour burn time. It’s made from soy and vegetable wax. Decide whether you want apple cider, basil, geranium, honeysuckle, lavender, lemon verbena, or mum scent to fill your space. The wicks are lead-free, and the jar is recyclable or reusable. (Beware of these indoor allergy triggers.)
Home + Décor Premium Soy Candles
$15 for 8-ounce candle
When you buy one of these organic, vegan, hand poured candles, you can feel good knowing it’s made out of 100 percent natural, toxin-free soy, and has a cotton wick, too. The toasted vanilla scent is perfect for the holiday season, but also any day, to give off the smell of fresh-baked cookies. (Also, try these happy scents to boost your mood.)
Clean Space Candle
$42 for 8-ounce candle
You’re paying a premium price for this phthalate-free candle that is made out of sustainable ingredients, and claims it can burn up to 40 hours. The soy candle has two cotton wicks, which can make for a more even burn throughout, and will help fill your room with a clean, cotton scent. Bonus for pet lovers: The company never tests ingredients on animals.
Clean B Beeswax Candles
$30 for 3×5 candle
These 100 percent pure beeswax candles are made sans chemical processing, they’re nontoxic, and not made with oils, making for an environmentally safe, biodegradable burn. They’re not scented, but do have the natural flavors of honey and floral nectar within them, and give off a subtle smell. They’re a good option for anyone with allergies who needs an unscented, natural candle option.
One Fur All Candle
While you love your fur baby, it’s hard to deny that they can sometimes cause a bit of a stink in your household. Kick that smell to the curb when you light one of the 24 flavors this candle comes in, including fresh citrus, cucumber mint, blackberry tea, and mango peach. The soy candle is hand poured and contains no paraffin, dyes, phthalates, parabens, or formaldehyde. (Try aromatherapy with these healing scents.)
Nika’s Home Vanilla Bean Candle
$12 for 12-ounce candle
This natural, soy wax candle comes in a decorative mason jar (that’s reusable or recyclable), with branding subtle enough that it will match any room. The company makes all of its candles in the USA and doesn’t use any dyes. Plus, each candle has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so if you don’t like what you receive, they’ll refund your purchase.
River Birch Scented Candles
$14 for 8-ounce candle
Thanks to the tin that this candle is made in, it’s the perfect travel companion if you’re going somewhere where you suspect you’ll want to freshen up the air. The candles are 100 percent soy wax, natural fragrance, and have an organic cotton wick. The family-owned company started as a way to create a candle that doesn’t cause breathing problems or headaches.
TOFU Scented Aromatherapy Candles
$17 for 3.5-ounce candle
You’ll feel relaxed when you light these aromatherapy candles that come in three scent pairings: persimmon and copal; goji berry and tarocco orange; and French cade and lavender. What’s in the reusable jar? A combination of seven-percent phthalate-free fragrance essential oils blended with the pure soy wax—nothing else added. The braided cotton and paper wick is zinc-and lead-free, too. Even the label is made out of recycled paper.
- New York State: "Governor Cuomo Announces COVID-19 Infection Rate Below 1 Percent for Tenth Straight Day"
- Payel Gupta, MD, FACAAI, triple board-certified in allergy and immunology, internal medicine and pediatrics, associate clinical professor Mount Sinai Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in New York City, and co-founder and chief medical officer at Get Cleared, an allergy relief company
- Clifford W. Bassett, MD, author of The New Allergy Solution, founder and medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York in New York City
- Asthma Society of Canada: "Candles"