Few homes are without the wafting perfume of a scented candle from time to time. Most people light them to infuse a room with fragrance, to add a romantic ambiance to a meal and to make bathtimes more luxurious. But could the very candles used to soothe our mood actually be bad for us?
Research has shown most scented candles produce smoke laced with almost as many toxins as those produced by cigarettes. And since they are often lit in poorly ventilated rooms, such as bathrooms, or during the evening when windows are likely to be closed, the release of chemicals can cause indoor pollution that is potent enough to raise the risk of asthma, eczema and skin complaints.
Sales of scented candles have soared in recent years as they have come to represent the ultimate fulfilment of ‘me’ time. The majority are cheaply made from paraffin wax, a by-product of the petroleum industry. These have been shown to release an alarming range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), substances that can be problematic to health.
It’s not just the candle wax that is potentially dangerous. Top-of-the-range candles are scented with natural perfumes or essential oils. But since they are costly and difficult to add in large quantities, many of the mass-market products contain synthetic fragrances and sometimes dyes that can give off harmful particles when they are heated.
Then there are the hazards of wicks. There are generally two varieties of wick: cored and non-cored. A non-cored wick, made from braided or twisted fibre, is considered the safest to burn, but can be limp and fall over in the wax, extinguishing a flame. Many candle makers use a cored wick, in which cotton is wrapped around a metal or paper core for support. And like anything that burns, once a candle is lit it produces soot, with particles that can remain suspended in the air for several hours.
Research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has shown scented candles give off more of this soot than unscented, and that cored candles release the dirtiest soot — sometimes containing particles of zinc, tin, lead and the metal cadmium. The length of a candle wick can compound matters. If it’s too long, it will produce more soot and a smoky flame that releases more pollution.
How can you freshen the air in your home without using Toxic Candles?
Using a homemade Essential Oil Reed diffuser is a cheap and easy way to bring beautiful aromas int your home without exposing your family to toxic chemicals & smoke. Additionally you get all the benefits of essential oil aromatherapy in your home!
DIY Homemade Essential Oil Reed Diffuser
It’s so easy to make a homemade essential oil reed diffuser. You just need a few simple items, most of which you’ll be able to find in your home already!
- Jar/Bottle – When choosing your jars, look for small, short glass jars/bottles (never plastic!) with a narrow opening at the top. The smaller the opening, the slower your oils will evaporate. I encourage you to recycle/reuse a glass jar or bottle you already have instead of buying something special.
- Carrier Oil – The most common carrier oils to use are safflower oil and sweet almond oil, as they are lighter oils that will travel up the reeds more easily.
- Essential Oils – For each 1/4 cup of carrier oil, add about 10-15 drops of essential oil, depending on how strong or light you want the scent.
- Reeds – I use bamboo skewers from our local dollar store, you can also purchase them online HERE
What Essential Oils should you use in your Homemade Reed Diffuser?
When selecting an essential oil or oil blend, you should match it with the environment in will be used in – Bedroom? Bathroom? Office?
There are 2 factors to selecting an essential oil for aromatherapy, what feeling or mood you want to create in the space and what scent do you find pleasant – using an essential oil that you don’t like the scent of doesn’t do anyone any good!