Guide to Finding The Best Non-Toxic Candles

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There are so many candles on the market that claim to be non-toxic, but how can you tell if they’re actually non-toxic? In this article, we'll shed light on some of the potential concerns surrounding these seemingly harmless sources of smell and what to look for when choosing the best non-toxic candles for your home!

We've put together the ultimate guide to finding the best non-toxic candles you can trust. From the type of wax used to the ingredients in the fragrance, we've got all the info you need to make an informed decision about the candles you're bringing into your home. So, whether you're a candle newbie or a seasoned pro, you'll finish with the invaluable skill of spotting safe products.

nontoxic clean candles soy wax plant based

When it comes to creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere in your home, candles are a must-have. But let's make sure those candles are as safe and eco-friendly as possible. So, grab a cup of tea, cozy up, and let's dive into the world of non-toxic candles together!

What's in traditional candles?

As you browse through the shelves selecting candles to grace your living space, it's vital to understand what exactly you're inviting into your home. There are three main components you will look at when searching for your next candle.

Most regular candles you find on store shelves are usually made from something called paraffin wax. This ingredient comes from crude oil and is labeled as a potential health risk due to it releasing toxic chemicals like soot, benzene, and toluene into the air. We'll cover this more later.

You know that lovely scent that candles spread around the room quickly and last a long time? Well, in most cases, it's not from real flowers or natural ingredients. Instead, it's thanks to harmful toxins like phthalates and VOCs in their candles. They're chemical concoctions designed to mimic and create long-lasting smells.

Now, let's talk about candle wicks—the part that burns to start your candle. Many regular candles are made with heavy metals. Metals like zinc and lead wicks help the wick stand up straight as it burns. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but when they burn, they can release tiny metal bits into the air. Breathing in these bits might not be a good idea for our health long term.

So, let's go deeper into what to look for when choosing non toxic candles.

Read More: Why Candles "Made with Essential Oils" May Not Be as Safe as You Think


are candles bad for you?

Types of Waxes

Most conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum-based product. When burned, paraffin wax candles release harmful chemicals such as toluene and benzene, which are known carcinogens. Not exactly the cozy atmosphere we were hoping for, right?

Luckily, there are better options out there! When it comes to natural waxes, there are three main types to keep in mind: soy wax, beeswax, and coconut wax.

  1. Soy wax is made from soybean oil, and it's a great option for a clean, even burn. Soy wax candles tend to have a longer burn time than traditional paraffin candles, and they're often less expensive too. Plus, soy wax is a renewable resource and biodegradable, so it's a much better option for the environment.
  2. Beeswax candles are made from, you guessed it, beeswax! This natural wax burns cleanly and emits a subtle, honey-like scent. Beeswax is also renewable and biodegradable, and it's actually the only type of wax that emits negative ions when burned. These negative ions can help purify the air in your home and promote relaxation
  3. Coconut wax is made from the meat of coconuts, and it's another renewable and eco-friendly option. Coconut wax candles tend to have a creamy texture and a slightly sweet scent. Using clean, slow-burning coconut wax is another good way to transition to natural candles.


Can Soy Wax be Non-GMO?

Soy wax has become a popular alternative to traditional paraffin wax due to its natural and eco-friendly properties. However, there is a common misconception that soy wax can be certified organic and non-GMO. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The process that turns soy oil into wax cannot be certified organic, which means that certified organic, non-GMO natural soy wax does not exist.

This is because the process involves hydrogenation, which uses a nickel catalyst. The nickel catalyst cannot be certified organic, which means soy wax cannot be certified organic either.

However, there are still ways to make sure that the soy wax blend used in candles is of high quality and doesn't contain any synthetic contaminants.

For example, you can choose American-grown soy wax that's sourced locally and processed in the United States. This is what we do with our soy wax, and it ensures that our candles are made with the best possible ingredients.

To further ensure that our soy candles are free from synthetic contamination, we use a U.S. Department of Agriculture test that certifies our products are 100% plant-based. This means that our candles don't contain any herbicides, like glyphosate, or pesticides that can be harmful to your health.

So, while certified organic, non-GMO soy wax isn't a thing, there are still ways to make sure that your candles are eco-friendly and natural. 

By choosing soy wax that's sourced and processed responsibly, and by testing for synthetic contamination, you can enjoy candles that are both beautiful and safe.

Fragrance Source: What to Look For

You might be surprised to learn that most candle fragrances are made from synthetic chemicals like phthalates. These chemicals are used to make the scent last longer in your room; however, they have raised concerns that will make you think again about using them:

  • Phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system, leading to hormonal imbalances. This is particularly concerning for pregnant women, infants, and children, as it can impact development.
  • Exposure to phthalates can affect respiratory conditions like asthma and cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Some phthalates have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly in animal studies.
  • Phthalates are not easily biodegradable and can persist in the environment, posing risks to wildlife.

You can choose to avoid these candles and find phthalate-free fragrances by looking at the label for a complete ingredient list without the use of "fragrance" or "fragrance oil," and certifications like UDSA Certified.

There's also another chemical to look out for, volatile organic compounds. VOCS are responsible for carrying and spreading the fragrance in a candle. When the wax melts, VOCs are released into the air and spread the scent throughout the room. VOCs are an important part of candles with synthetic fragrances, but let's see why they can be bad for you:

  • Some VOCs can release chemicals that may have bad health effects when inhaled. Long exposure to certain VOCs can irritate the respiratory system and, in some cases, contribute to more severe health issues.
  • The release of VOCs during candle burning can affect indoor air quality, leading to a buildup of potentially harmful compounds in enclosed spaces. This can be a concern, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

To enjoy candles while avoiding these chemicals, consider choosing candles made with natural, non-toxic ingredients and scented with essential oils.


Ingredient Transparency is Key

Transparency is key, especially when it comes to fragrance ingredients. This is why it's important you know exactly what you're bringing into your home

Unfortunately, many conventional candle brands aren't as upfront about what's in their candles. They typically claim to not share all ingredients because they want to protect their trade secrets, hiding behind the vague term "fragrance" on their ingredient lists.

Because the candle industry has few regulations, this often means they can use a sketchy mixture of potentially harmful chemicals to create synthetic scents. Some of these chemicals can even trigger allergies, asthma attacks, or mess with your hormones. 

That's why it's so important to choose candles from companies that are transparent about their ingredients.

When you know exactly what's in your candles, you can enjoy the ambiance and lovely scents without worrying about your home's indoor air quality. 

See More: What's the Fragrance Loophole?

Essential Oils in Candles

Sometimes a candle company will label their products with "made with pure essential oils" to have consumers believe that they offer a safer and more natural alternative to traditional scented candles. But here's something to know: just because a candle has essential oils in it doesn't automatically make it safe!

A lot of companies use essential oils in their candles, but they mix them with other chemicals to make them stronger or cheaper. So, you might be getting a measly 1% essential oils and 99% synthetic petrochemicals! Not cool. 

If you want to make sure you're getting a truly non-toxic candle, your best bet is to look for brands that disclose ALL of their ingredients, including what makes up their "fragrance."

The Clear Difference: "Made with Essential Oils" vs. "100% Plant-Based"

Okay, so on the surface, these labels might seem pretty similar, right? There's a whole world of difference between them, and it's all about being honest and upfront:

  • "Made with Natural Essential Oils": This one can be a bit sneaky. It often means that only a teeny-tiny bit, like as low as 1%, is actual essential oils. The rest? Well, it's often a mix of artificial fragrances that doesn't quite measure up to the real deal. Sure, it smells nice, but it's not the full, authentic natural smell you might expect.
  • "100% Plant-Based": Now, these candle labels are the real deal. It's your guarantee that every bit of the lovely scent comes straight from natural materials—no synthetic additives allowed. It's been put to the test, certified by the USDA's bio-based testing, so you can trust that it's the real deal, pure and simple.

See More: What's the Difference Between Plant Extracts & Essential Oils?

The Basics of Wicks

Wondering what a wick is and how it works? A candle's wick is the material that keeps your flame burning.

The purpose of a wick is simple: it acts as a bridge between the flame and the wax or oil inside the candle. When you light your candle, the flame heats the wick until it becomes hot enough to light the wax or oil inside the candle.

Once this happens, the fuel burns down through the wick into your candle and creates light while also releasing fragrance into your home.

Some conventional candle brands use wicks made from heavy metals or bleached cotton, which is not ideal to breathe in.

For a clean burn, look for candles with:

  • Wood wicks 
  • Hemp Wicks
  • Cotton wicks

At Grow, we're all about safety first. That's why our candles are made using a lead-free wick with unbleached cotton. It's a great way to look for a better choice in nontoxic candles.

See more: What's In Our Candles

Why Choose Grow Fragrance Candles?

Our candles check all the boxes for a clean burn. They're made from sustainable soy and coconut wax, scented with 100% plant-based fragrances, and feature a natural lead-free, unbleached cotton wick. It's like all the good stuff rolled into one beautiful, eco-friendly package!

But we don't just stop at non-toxic ingredients. We believe that candles should be more than just a pretty scent - they should transport you to a world inspired by nature.

So, if you want to enjoy the warm glow and inviting atmosphere of a candle without worrying about potential health risks, 100% plant-based candles may be the way to go. And if you want a candle that not only has a cleaner burn but is also inspired by nature and unique, look no further than Grow Fragrance!

Here are our Best Selling, Eco-Friendly & Toxin Free Candles

1. Blondewood Candle

With notes of vanilla bean, shea butter, teakwood, and almond, this warm scent creates a peaceful and inviting environment.

Vanilla is known for its calming properties, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The almond and shea butter notes in the Blondewood candle add an extra layer of comfort, while the teakwood provides a subtle grounding effect.

 Blondewood Candle


2. Lavender Blossom Candle

A relaxing candle with notes of lavender, peony and citrus you can add to your routine with peace of mind. 

Lavender is known for its calming properties, helping to soothe your mind and ease stress. It's also great for promoting restful sleep, making it perfect for your evening routine.

Lavender Blossom Candle

    3. Bamboo Candle

    A fresh and spa-like with notes of green foliage, citrus and pink peppercorn.

    Citrus scents like the one in Bamboo are known for their energizing properties, helping to uplift your mood and improve concentration. The green foliage notes in this scent provide a refreshing and crisp scent, while the pink peppercorn adds a subtle spice.

    Bamboo Candle

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