Everybody loves a great smelling home. Whether it’s a cinnamon scent in November, or a bright fresh flowery scent come April, a wonderful smell can be associated with beautiful memories. When striving for a clean home, it can be difficult to know what products are healthy choices for you and your family. The desire for a fresh smell often seems at odds with what we know about air fresheners. We know that our bodies intake toxins by digesting them, absorbing through the skin, and breathing them in. So what do air fresheners and candles do to air that we breath?
Many air fresheners and candles contribute to air pollution by emitting “fragrance” in the air. Fragrance is often not even labeled in cleaning supplies, laundry products, etc, because the Consumer Product Safety Commission that regulates these items does not require it. Even the word fragrance can be a combination of over 4,000 different ingredients. In this post, I’m breaking down some of the information out there about fragrances in candles and air fresheners, and some cleaner alternatives for you.
What’s in my candle?
Labels are so tricky. Many companies “greenwash” which means they claim that their products are “natural” or “clean,” when in actuality, these words have no true regulation. This means that the “clean” candle you are burning likely is still releasing VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds, which can cause a myriad of problems. Air fresheners are linked to migraine headaches, asthma attacks, mucosal symptoms, infant illness, and breathing difficulties. Despite this, fewer than 10% of volatile ingredients are typically disclosed on air freshener labels. Some of these chemicals are formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, phalthates, and ethanol.
The EPA has stated that there is no safe exposure level to these toxic chemicals. One study found that the average number of VOC’s emitted from products containing fragrances was 17. Each product tested emitted 1-8 toxic or hazardous chemicals and nearly half of them generated at least 1 of 24 carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants such as acetaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, or methylene chloride. These tests are alarming and show that the shelves in our stores are lined with toxic products that we should aim to avoid to have a cleaner home.
Some words to look for and avoid on labels are: fragrance, perfume, parfum, aroma, and flavor. To make things more complicated, some companies use the label of fragrance, but use ones without phalthates and formaldehyde releasors. This makes the process of finding the right products really difficult. Let’s talk about some of my favorite alternatives and actually clean products for your non-toxic home.
Clean air fresheners and candles
Having a non-toxic home doesn’t mean you need to go without any air fresheners or candles. There are plenty of good options out there that won’t pollute your home’s air. Look for candles that use natural waxes and plant-based scents. Air fresheners made with essential oils are a much better choice than those made with artificial fragrances.
- Pure Plant Home
- These candles are made with specially formulated coconut wax and essential oil fragrances. This company only uses natural cotton wicks, no synthetic fragrances, or petrochemicals. The reusable amber jar is perfect for storing small items in your kitchen or bathroom, making this an eco-friendly choice as well.
- Welch Candle Company
- When burned, these candles made with beeswax release a subtle smell that is perfect to freshen up your space without the nasty chemicals. Beeswax actually releases negative ions that can purify the air in your home and lead to healthier and easier breathing.
- Public Goods
- Made with the cozy scents of cedar and spice, these candles use essential oil scents and natural soy wax. Their candles do not contain any heavy metals, dyes, phthalates, or BPA. They are also made in the USA with recyclable materials.
- Slow North
- These candles are made with cotton wicks, natural soy wax, and all natural essential oils—all the ingredients for a non-toxic burn! This company was founded by new parents who wanted to keep their home non-toxic for their children, so you know they did their research when choosing ingredients. One popular scent is orange clove which will add a cozy and welcoming vibe to your home any season of the year.
- Grow Fragrance
- This room freshener is made with all plant-based ingredients. They believe in ingredient transparency, and have a list of every ingredient in all of their products and where they come from. Their spray can also be used on fabrics to freshen up your sofa or bedding.
- Primally Pure
- If you’re looking for a winter room spray to add a calming ambience to your home, this one is it. It’s formulated with antiviral organic essential oils. Their ingredients are truly medicinal with properties that ease stress, enhance respiratory health, and encourage relaxation.
- Saje Natural Wellness
- This natural air freshener uses tea tree oil to help purify the air. With bright lemon and pine scents sourced from natural oils, it will bring a fresh scent to your home in the form of a convenient spray. The full list of ingredients is on their website, and they use only plant-based ingredients. The bottle is also eco-friendly!
- Grove Collaborative
- For an even cleaner choice, try an essential oil diffuser. You can choose your own scents, and even source recipes online on how to make dupes of your favorite scents or candles. Diffusers release the essential oils with puffs of water that make the air in your home a more comfortable level of humidity in the winter. Plus, you won’t be emitting any unnatural chemicals!
Clean air is a great first step to take to having a fully non-toxic home. Our bodies absorb a ton through the air we breathe and removing toxins can help improve our health in big ways. Whether you suffer from migraines, or your child has asthma, making the switch to clean air fresheners will make a difference. Some of these products even clean our air and make it more pure for even the littlest of lungs.
Have you tried any of these or other non-toxic candles or air fresheners? Be sure to share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your favorites!