I know many of you are huge candle fans and your homes are constantly filled with the lovely warmth of a scented candle. I have never been much of a candle person simply because I have 3 kids. But, in the past 4 years, as the kids have gotten older and less prone to sticking their fingers in hot molten wax, I have started to reintroduce them into my home. Now, I light them in my home office and they stay lit all day without worry.
I burn whatever candle I can find in the cabinet – random candles from the pharmacy, from a gift basket or found at the bottom of my Christmas stocking. Candles are such a universal gift. The warm and cozy mood that a burning candle provides is so lovely after a stressful day. The idea that my candles could be polluting my air never came across my mind because EVERYONE burns candles…..surely, it can’t be harmful!?
Recently, when I let a very popular candle burn all day, I started to notice some adverse effects. I got headaches and a stuffy, light head. I didn’t connect it to the candle at first, but eventually started to question it. So, I did some research because that is what I do – here we go:
Most candles are made of paraffin wax. It is the most popular choice in candle-making. Paraffin is actually a petroleum waste product that has been chemically modified. Burning paraffin wax candles pollutes your indoor air with chemicals that are just as bad as second hand smoke….known carcinogens. <<You are basically running a diesel engine inside your home>> Burning them daily can contribute to health risks like asthma/allergies, lung and central nervous system damage and developmental difficulties. Apparently, soot from candles can even cause problems with the electronics in your home. Apparently, before 2003, candles also could have wicks with LEAD centers! What thu?
Many of these candles also use synthetic scent oils which can aggravate lungs and cause migraines. AHA!
You may not feel it right away like I did, but issues can build up over time from burning paraffin, synthetic oils and possible lead wicks. Yikes.
I am not saying you should go throw out all of your candles, but, I do want to arm you with some information so you can make your own choice. I can just imagine some people clutching their candles and shaking their heads at me saying, “I will never get rid of my candles!”. That’s obviously your choice. I am here to offer a healthier alternative so you don’t have to stop lighting candles during those relaxing bubble baths at the end of a stressful day.
OK – let’s talk about this last one a bit more….what the heck is an air ionizer and why do I need it? Get ready to open your eyes…..
We are surrounded by Positive Ions everyday. “Positive ions are small molecules that have gained a positive charge. Most forms of pollution, toxic chemicals, pollen, mold, pet dander, and other harmful chemicals in the air all carry a positive electrical charge, making them positive ions. And unfortunately, in today’s world, there are significant quantities of positive ions in the air, much more than what our ancestors and hunter-gatherers had to deal with. They are especially problematic in congested cities, office buildings, and industrial zones.” Read more about Ions here
It’s also problematic inside your home. Your TV produces positive ions, so does your chemically treated carpet/furniture, and your fluorescent lighting. Your COMPUTER and your PHONE produce positive ions.
This is pretty unfortunate, because positive ions make you TIRED, GRUMPY, and have a negative effect on your overall health. Say what? Yup – those Positive ions have a seriously Negative effect. Your phone is making you unhealthy.
But there is good news! – when you introduce Negative Ions into your air, they help you RELAX, improve your MOOD, and even your SLEEP. It is not yet conclusive, but it may even help with DEPRESSION. There is a reason why we say we “need some fresh air” – it’s because we crave negative ions to help us feel better. I know this all too well as the outdoors improve my mood EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The highest negative ions are produced in dense forests, near waterfalls, at the beach and after a heavy rain. This explains a ton. Facebook tells me daily how many of my friends crave time at the beach…. now you know the scientific reason behind why you are at peace while you put your toes in the sand. (a tropical drink helps too)
I don’t know about you, but I want to use candles to create a peaceful, stress-free mood in my home. So, beeswax candles are going to be my only choice. If I want a specific scent, I will use a diffuser with a high quality essential oil.
But of course, I had to try and make my own beeswax candles! And let me tell you, it is super easy. All you need is 100% beeswax, a double boiler (or even a disposable pan and a pot), 100% cotton wicks, a jar and a little coconut oil. It’s so easy, I made my candles while cooking dinner in the oven. The beeswax pieces were put in a double boiler over water and slowly melted – meanwhile, I prepared my glass jars by sticking the wicks to the center bottom of each jar with a little bit of wax. Then I kept the wicks straight by threading the top of the wick through the center of a clothespin. Add a little coconut oil to your melting wax and pour the candles. I made sure they cooled slowly (to prevent cracking) by putting them near my warm oven. Voila. That’s it. Trim that wick, light that candle and start ionizing your home and making happy people!
If you want to see some methods for making beeswax candles like me, try this one from A Beautiful Mess
and this one from Mommypotamus
**FYI – there are NO regulations on disclosing candle ingredients. NONE. Do your own research and find a trusted source. You don’t want to pollute your own air!