Every time I smell pine it always makes me think of the Holidays at Granny’s!
Tis is the season damn near every family has some holiday tradition going on! If your in-laws don’t kill you, your holiday scented candles and some holiday traditions just may!
Killer Holiday Traditions
Some of my most cherished childhood memories are decorating for the Holidays. My mom would cook snacks and deserts, we’d play holiday music in the background while pine or pumpkin spice candles would share their synthetic scents with the room!
I’m sure many can relate, after all memories can be triggered by a smell. Smells are a better reminder of past experiences than sights or even sounds.
How many times I’ve smelt almost every candle displayed at a store, almost getting hungry after smelling the cake batter or cookie dough candles! Today I cringe at the thought of the synthetic smells we find comforting, relaxing or romantic. I cringe because I know what they are capable of doing to the human body. I also know a safe alternative to get the comforting scents and I plan on sharing all this with you.
The Makings of a Candle
I would have to guess that most homes have a candle, new or used, somewhere lurking about. Scented candles are widely used and are an easy way to cover up unwelcome odors.
The issue is that most candles are made of paraffin wax. Paraffin wax creates benzene and toluene when burned. Both are toxic and known carcinogens. The toxins released from candles made of paraffin wax is the same found in diesel fuel fumes! The safest candles would be either soy or beeswax, although soy candles also contain paraffin. Most soy candles that are on the market aren’t 100% soy but contain quantities of paraffin wax.
Another issue with candle is the wick and what it’s made of. Many scented candles have lead-core wicks which when burnt releases five times the amount of lead that the EPA considers dangerous for children and exceeds pollution standards for outdoor air! American made wicks are supposed to be made of paper or cotton but studies have found that as much as 30% of candles contain heavy metals in the wicks.
A Healthy Alternative
No, it is not necessary to go scentless. There are healthy alternatives for you and your home. I will touch on:
- Soy Candles
- Diffusers and oils
I’ll begin with soy candles. The first step is to validate that the candle is 100% soy and not a combination of soy and paraffin and the second is to check how the wick is made. Soy candles are a cleaner burning with now toxins, carcinogens or pollutants. What this means to you is they are less likely to trigger allergies. Soy burns cooler which means it will burn slower resulting in 30% – 50% longer burning time.
The next would be beeswax candles, which are the most expensive of candles. Beeswax candles burn so slowly they rarely drip and burn with almost no smoke. When burning, they release negative ions into the air which can bind with toxins helping to remove them from air. They are also effective at removing allergens like dander and dust from the air.
Using a diffuser with essential oils is my favorite! The fact that I almost burned down my house because I forgot to put out my candle may have a little to do with this?
Similar to beeswax candles, essential oil diffusers can also clean and purify the air. They can reduce allergens and, if tea tree oil is used, disinfect the air from viruses and bacteria! Paired with the right essential oil, a diffuser can be of benefit in many areas:
- Helps you breathe easier by reducing inflammation and congestion in clogged airways.
- Improve cognition by supercharging your brain cells! Many essential oils can pick you up when your sluggish.
- Safe alternative to candles because there’s no open flame and are free of carcinogens and toxins.* (not all oils are safe for pets and I run from low quality, cheap oils).
- Some essential oils will repel insects such as house flies, fruit flies, mosquitoes, … .
- Diffusers can be used for pain relief and is great for sore joints and overworked muscles.
- Diffusers can elevate your mood or de-stress.
- Using a diffuser at home or in the office can help ward off the cold or the flu and other illnesses because many essential oils are antimicrobial. They become effective when released into the air in vapor form.
- The most well known use for essential oils is to help with relaxation and sleep.
Essential Oil Side Effects
Your essential oils could make your pets sick. As I stated earlier, essential oils are my first choice to use in my home, but there is something you should know before purchasing. Our dogs and cars are much more sensitive to essential oils than humans, especially cats. The most common symptom for cats and dogs that have been exposed are coughing and sneezing, drooling or vomiting. The level of effects depend on the exposure. The most harmful to our pets are citrus, pine, cinnamon, tea tree, eucalyptus and pennyroyal.
I hope this is of help when making a choice of what to use to make your home smell good! In my opinion, the cleanest choice would be a beeswax candle with a cotton wick. It wouldn’t produce much, if any, smoke and will clean the air in your home. It is a bit pricey, for good reason!
I have used many soy candles and definitely notice the difference in pure soy and a mix of soy and paraffin. Pure soy has a rich smell and burns slowly.
My favorite is the diffuser using essential oils. As long as caution is taken when choosing the essential oil to use, pets can be harmed, they offer great medicinal effects, mood effects, and many more.
As with anything, I always advise to research your purchases. Make informed decisions and don’t be a sheep led around! If you found this useful, or have a comment, please let me know below.
Remember, I am not nor claim to be a medical doctor, or any doctor. These are just my opinions and I could be wrong. Thanks for reading!