Traditional candles–particularly the scented ones–can often leave you with a headache or your bookcase covered in soot. Not exactly the relaxing environment you’re looking for.
So we researched materials and pored through Amazon reviews and came to the conclusion that the best candles for you and your home are non-toxic and free from paraffin, phthalates, and lead. These candles are often soy- or beeswax-based and scented with all-natural essential oils. We kept all of this in mind as we hand-picked the best non-toxic candles on the market.
Top 10 Best Non-Toxic Candles to Buy Online
These candles aren’t just the most loved, but they’re also the best options with the most transparent labeling.
1. Old Factory Scented Candles (3 Candles)
Price: $28.97 ($9.66 each)
Best for Those Who Don’t Normally Like Scented Candles
Tired of hyper-feminine floral candles? These candles come in thematic sets sure to appeal to a wide range of preferences. Sets range from “Coffee Shop” to “Happy Hour” and “Man Cave,” and each includes three different candles.
But don’t let the wide range of scents fool you–these candles are phthalate-free, scented with custom-made essential oil blends that are fragrant without being overpowering.
|Available Scents||11 sets of 3 scents each||Burn Time||30 hours each|
2. Benevolence LA Soy Candle Scented Candle
Best for Small Spaces, from a Company with a Conscience
This candle offers a light, complex scent made from a blend of essential oils and non-toxic fragrances. It’s best used in smaller rooms or tighter spaces like on an office desk.
On top of burning clean and not producing toxins, this candle is also committed to “bringing light to the darkness of child abuse” by donating 20% of proceeds to Zoe International.
|Available Scents||Hibiscus Palmwood, Orange Blossom Lotus, Tudor Rose & Amber||Burn Time||45+ hours|
3. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Scented Soy Candle
Best Clean, Simple, No-Frills Candle
This candle is as squeaky clean as you can get–it even discloses its complete ingredients list (vegetable wax, essential oils, and a cotton wick in case you were wondering). Each candle has a simple, one- or two-tone scent.
This candle is fairly small, which means that the scent won’t travel too far. However, despite its size, it has a burn time of over 25 hours and is very reasonably priced compared with other similar non-toxic candles.
|Non-Metal Wick||Yes||Wax||Soy, cottonseed, and vegetable wax blend|
|Available Scents||Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Geranium, Honeysuckle||Burn Time||25 hours|
4. Pure Integrity Soy Candles Strong Scented Candle
Best Strongly Scented, All-Natural Candle
The thing about artificial fragrances is that they can really fill a room. This candle does that without the use of any toxic ingredients thanks to a special 7-step pouring process, and the scent lingers even after the candle is extinguished.
This candle comes in seven fairly standard candle fragrances ranging from vanilla to lilac. Each candle burns clean and lasts for a staggering 75 hours.
|Available Scents||7 scents||Burn Time||75 Hours|
5. Little Bee of Connecticut Hand-Rolled Beeswax Pillar Candle
Best for a Warm, Atmospheric Glow
This candle is made from a single sheet of rolled beeswax and produces a warm, atmospheric glow unique to this type of wax. It burns even, slow, and clean and produces a light honey scent.
According to some, beeswax produces negative ions when burned, which help to clean the air of dust, pollen, and odors. Whether that’s true (or significant enough to be noticed, anyway), it definitely doesn’t add to indoor air pollution.
|Available Scents||–||Burn Time||80 hours|
6. GoodLight Tea Light Candles (100 Candles)
Price: $28.79 ($0.29 each)
Best Sustainable Tea Lights
For those looking for tea lights, these are a clean, sustainable alternative to standard soot-producing lights. They burn slowly and evenly and efficiently use up all of the wax.
These candles are made from palm oil and support sustainable palm farms. On top of that, once each candle is used, the aluminum cups, which are made from recycled materials, are recyclable.
|Non-Metal Wick||Yes||Wax||Palm Wax|
|Available Scents||–||Burn Time||4 hours each|
7. Lulu Candles Luxury Scented Soy Jar Candle
Best Long-Lasting Compact Candle
This candle is popular for its unique blends of scents that offer an olfactory experience unlike any other. They offer fragrances such as Lemon Biscotti, Cedarwood Infused Mango, and “Sexy Man.” It also boasts one of the longest burn times for its size.
While it’s uncertain whether this candle is truly paraffin- and phthalate-free, reviewers report no issues with reactions and note that the scents are light, which is consistent with natural fragrances.
|Available Scents||21 scents||Burn Time||50 hours|
8. Aira Soy Candles
Best Long-Burning, Strong-Scented Candle
This candle comes in a huge variety of scents sure to appeal to anyone. Each candle burns for over 100 hours and produces a strong scent able to fill a room of almost any size.
However, some reviewers note that a few of the scents can be overpowering or smell synthetic. While the candle claims to be scented with essential oils, it doesn’t state specifically that it’s phthalate- or chemical-free.
|Available Scents||27 scents||Burn Time||110+ hours|
9. Illumisense Premium Scented Candle
Best Universally Loved Scent
This candle produces a slow, even burn that doesn’t cause irritation or headaches. It comes in just one scent (at the time of writing) that’s nearly universally pleasant.
However, it doesn’t state that it’s specifically paraffin- and phthalate-free, though it doesn’t seem to cause any issues amongst reviewers. So if you’re not particularly sensitive, it should be fine.
|Available Scents||Lavender Bergamot Oak||Burn Time||30 hours|
10. Pet’s Favorite Odor Eliminating Candle
Best Deodorizing Candle
These candles are designed specifically to eliminate any unpleasant pet odors from the air. More than just covering scents, this candle has been independently tested to remove up to 99% of bad odors, and reviewers seem to agree.
It does have some paraffin in the wax, but reviewers haven’t noticed the soot or headaches that can come from it. Some write, however, that the jar may shatter if you allow the candle to burn too close to the bottom, so be careful about that.
|Non-Metal Wick||Yes||Wax||Soy blend|
|Available Scents||French Vanilla, Calming Lavender, Clean Laundry, Lemon Zest||Burn Time||70 hours|
How to Choose a Non-Toxic Candle – Buying Guide
Candles are not required to disclose their ingredients, so instead of looking for candles that sound like they’re safe, keep an eye out for the ones that explicitly state that they’re free from harmful toxins.
Wicks: Look for Lead-Free and Non-Metal
Sometimes candle wicks have a metal wire in them to hold them upright as the candle burns, but that little convenience comes at a cost. As the metal burns, it can release heavy metals such as lead into the air, which is associated with neurological issues and hormone imbalance.
So to avoid that, look for candles that state they have a metal-free wick.
Wax: Go Paraffin-Free with Soy or Beeswax
The most common ingredient used to make candle wax is paraffin. Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct that creates carcinogenic compounds like benzene and toluene when burned–the same toxins found in diesel fuel fumes, actually.
Some safer alternatives include soy and beeswax, among a few other plant-based oils. But don’t be fooled by clever packaging. Many beeswax and ‘soy blend’ candles still contain paraffin, so be sure to check that the candle is paraffin-free before deeming it safe.
Scents: Steer Clear of Artificial Fragrances Full of Phthalates
Have you ever gone into a soap store (we’re looking at you, Bed, Bath & Beyond) and walked out with a headache from the smell? That’s because artificial fragrances are full of chemicals called phthalates (the ‘ph’ is silent). Phthalates can cause a wide range of health issues from headaches and dizziness to respiratory issues and potentially cancer.
So to avoid these nasty chemicals, look for candles that are scented naturally with essential oils and botanical extracts. As always, be sure to look for candles that specifically say they’re phthalate-free for peace of mind.
How to Care for Your Candle
Believe it or not, there’s actually a right way to light and use a candle, and doing so properly can extend its life and give you a better experience.
Before you light your candle, always be sure to trim the wick to about 1/8” long. This will give you a cleaner, brighter burn and help to control the flame.
When you light a candle, allow the wax to melt all the way across the surface. Doing so will ensure that the top of your candle remains flat throughout its lifetime and prevents “tunneling”—when the edges remain high against the walls of the jar but the wick gets progressively lower.
Finally, stop using your candle once you’re down to ½” of wax. This will prevent any heat damage to the surface below.
Scented candles can provide you with a calming, atmospheric glow–so long as they’re not pumping toxins into the air. Just remember to look for clear, transparent labeling and you should be good to go.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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