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Are Scented Candles Bad for You? How to Choose Healthier Alternatives
Are Scented Candles Bad for You? How to Choose Healthier Alternatives

Listen to an audio transcription of this post

Key takeaways:

  • Paraffin candles release benzene—use healthier soy or vegetable candles.

  • Open windows, use air purifiers to remove toxins after paraffin candles.

  • Plant-based candles like soy candles emit fewer harmful chemicals.

  • Follow safety tips to avoid candle fires with soy or vegetable candles.


Burning scented candles after a long day of work helps you unwind, but what if those candles pose health risks? Unfortunately, some do.

Paraffin candles pollute the air. They release cancer-causing agents and pose known health risks such as triggering asthma or allergies.

Even when used in a well-ventilated space, candles with paraffin tend to have lead core wicks and may release soot and toxins.

At Blissy, we don't want you to deal with unpleasant symptoms from a candle you enjoy. We've created three new healthier alternatives to your current scented candle collection.

Here's everything you should know about the different candle types and why it's important to get rid of your paraffin candles for good.

woman shopping for conventional scented candles

The Problem with Burning Scented Candles

If you knew a candle came from gasoline, would you use it? What about petroleum? Shale oil?

Your answer is probably no, and for good reason. People understand that these chemicals are dangerous. Despite that, they're often used to make candles.

Burning scented candles made of the wrong ingredients causes all kinds of problems harmful to your health. They release volatile organic compounds into the air that can trigger respiratory diseases. They have unnatural fragrance materials that cause headaches. Others deal with asthma or allergies as a result of the scents and released chemicals.

That's bad news for candle lovers, but do you really have to stop burning candles, the candles that bring you joy in your life?

The answer is a resounding, "no!" You can use candles, but you'll want to choose natural wax candles made with soy and other safe ingredients. You also need a candle without a lead wick.

Choosing these healthier options means you can burn scented candles without the health risks of paraffin wax. You won't have to invest in unscented alternatives.

scented paraffin candle

Burning Candles: Avoid Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is in all kinds of products, some of which include the scented candles you'll find on the shelves at your local grocery store. The reason companies use paraffin wax is that it generally costs less than plant-based waxes, like soy wax (a healthier alternative).

Cost savings aside, are paraffin candles bad for your health?

A scented candle made with paraffin wax has a dangerous secret. It comes from petroleum, shale oil, or coal, and it contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Those VOCs, as well as other contents such as benzene and related carcinogens, may cause cancer and other health problems.

South Carolina State University (SCSU) researchers discovered melting paraffin wax candles released benzene and toluene. These are two solvents normally found in oil and gasoline.

There's no way anyone wants those solvents in their homes, and you shouldn't, either. Switching to using plant-based waxes is a great alternative. Swapping now won't correct the release of soot and other chemicals from your past candles, though.

Make sure to clean up first in the areas where you normally burn candles to help get rid of toxins and reduce the risk of ongoing health concerns. Read on to learn how.

Blissy Candles

blissy candle
  • candle icon Naturally scented
  • vegan icon Soy based
  • time icon 45-hour burn
  • vegan icon Vegan

Used Paraffin Candles? Take These Steps Next

Now that you've used paraffin, it's time to clean up your air. Your air may have dangerous pollution. High levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide might fill the room.

What should you do?

  1. Start with proper ventilation. Open windows and doors to encourage fresh air to enter.
  2. Next, get rid of particulate matter and dust or soot by sweeping and mopping the room.
  3. After that, consider turning on an air purifier. Air purifiers clean the air, collecting hazardous particulate matter in filters.
  4. Finally, add a new filter to your furnace. Choose one that has a HEPA filter to cleanse the air thoroughly.

Taking these steps helps reduce indoor air pollution from candles (and other things) for a safer home environment.

the world health organization sets limits on air quality limits

Choosing Healthier Alternatives

The fact that paraffin wax causes harm to your health doesn't have to stop you from using candles inside completely. With healthier candle wicks and natural waxes, you'll cut down on air pollution. And while you'll give up cheaper candles, these options burn without the harmful chemicals that could harm you in the short and long term.

Soy and Vegetable-Based Candles

Soy candles are your primary option to safely burn candles inside. You could also choose vegetable-based candle wax.

These options work because they don't contain the same chemicals as petroleum-based products. They come in a variety of scents from natural essential oils rather than harmful chemical scents.

The types of candles best for your health include:

  • Soy wax candles

  • Vegetable wax candles

  • Palm wax

  • Coconut wax

  • Beeswax

Vegetable and soy candles don't release volatile organic compounds. They don't pose the same health risk and don't have cancer-causing chemicals. These natural solutions also release less soot, keeping your air cleaner inside.

Plus, plant-based candles are vegan. (The only candle type on this list that is not vegan are beeswax candles, since they come from bees. So if vegan products are important to you, choose a plant-based wax).

For an added perk, remember that soy candles come from renewable resources. They're biodegradable, which means they're better for the environment and your home. They burn with cleaner smoke, and they are healthier in normal conditions.

So, set aside your petroleum-based candle and turn to vegetable or soy wax candles.

base wax for unscented candles and scented candles

Candle Burning Safety Tips

Once you choose your soy or vegetable candles, it's time to burn them safely. Even though soy or vegetable candles are healthier, you still need to have a well-ventilated room. Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that up to 85% of candle fires are avoidable if you follow three steps:

  1. Don't fall asleep or otherwise leave a candle unattended.
  2. Avoid putting the candle close to anything flammable.
  3. Keep candles out of reach of pets and children.
Trim down wicks that begin to get too long as they could flare, drip, catch fire, or lead to uneven burning. Finally, keep the wax pool clear of debris at all times.

Introducing Blissy Naturally Scented Soy Candles

With safety in mind, it's time to let candles burn bright in your home with new Blissy Naturally Scented Soy Candles in your choice of scents. Our high-quality candles don't have lead wicks. They contain essential oils and don't have toxic chemicals that could affect your indoor air quality.

You may love the lavender and eucalyptus option. Or, you may prefer jasmine and eucalyptus. Some may prefer the deep scent of woodsmoke and leather with our aromatherapy candles. Whatever your choice may be, these will have you deep in relaxation in no time.

naturally scented candles from blissy with a lower melting point

Lavender and Eucalyptus

Escape from daily stresses and rest easy with the scent of lavender and eucalyptus in the air. This soy wax pillar candle has none of the potentially harmful chemicals found in paraffin candles, making it the right choice for your home.

Our pillar candles burn for 45 hours and have a sturdy weight of 9 oz., so you can enjoy them for many days to come.

Jasmine and Eucalyptus

Blissful rest is moments away when you walk into your room complete with the scent of jasmine and eucalyptus. Eucalyptus and jasmine mix to create a tranquil environment where you can relax and release the tension of the day.

Take your pillar candle with you to your bath for a relaxing atmosphere in the candlelit dark. Or, set your candle next to you as you read a book to encourage the calming of your body and mind. Any space becomes an oasis with this candle nearby.

Woodsmoke and Leather

Boost your sleep quality each night as you relax to the scent of woodsmoke and leather. You'll love the gentle scent as you wind down for the evening, read a book, or get ready for bed. This vegan soy candle has therapeutic essential oils. They create a spa-like atmosphere perfect for the dining room, bedroom, or bath.

Decompress with 45 hours of burn time and find your mental balance with this 9 oz. soy candle. When you're ready to drift off? Simply blow out the wick and roll over and enjoy your luxurious Blissy Silk Pillowcase complete with the matching Sleep & Pillow Mist to keep your favorite scent going safely all night.

Maintaining Your Blissy Candle

Noticing your wick is long with regular candle use? Simply take a pair of scissors and trim candle wicks, down to around a quarter-inch long.

And, when the candle-burning days come to an end, any wax that remains from each candle burned is perfect for turning into scented liquid wax. Add it to a wax melter to continue enjoying aromatherapy in your home.

Try Blissy Natural Scented Candles for a Luxurious Scent at Home

Your life can be stressful, and you deserve to feel calm and relaxed. So, light up your favorite candle and enjoy a soothing evening at home. With Blissy's new candles, you can enjoy your favorite scents while making your health a priority.


View Sources

  • Donley, S. (2020, April 10). 7 Health Issues Caused by Chemicals Found In Paraffin Wax. Happy Wax. https://happywax.com/blogs/from-the-blog/7-health-issues-caused-by-paraffin-wax
  • Fire Safety & Candles - National Candle Association. (2021, March 1). National Candle Association. https://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/
  • Milnea. (2022, December 19). Worried if candles are toxic? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-candles-bad-for-you/
  • Wellbank, L. (2022, October 4). How to trim your candle wicks to ensure an even burn every time. Martha Stewart. https://www.marthastewart.com/8053740/how-when-trim-candle-wick
  • Yetman, D. (2020, June 9). Is burning candles safe or bad for your health? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/are-candles-bad-for-you#healthiest-candles

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