We all want our homes to smell good don’t we?
A clean smelling air-freshener, plug in or a cosy scented candle can help make a home welcoming and conjure up feelings of warmth, happiness and security, which is probably why they are part of an industry worth billions of pounds.
However, air fresheners and scented candles have some dirty secrets. They are one of the top contributors to indoor pollution and can contain some pretty nasty toxins, which is why they were one of the first things I ditched in my ‘toxin free home‘ experiment.
Why should I care about air-fresheners and scented candles?
Many scented candles are made from paraffin wax and give off chemicals that are considered as dangerous as second hand smoke and are known carcinogens. They may also contain artificial scents and dyes, as well as a number of other toxic chemicals which are released into the air when burned. Their wicks sometimes contain heavy metals like lead which can lead to dangerous levels of airborne heavy metals.
Similarly there are concerns about the chemicals found in air-fresheners and how they may react with other chemicals in the air to form a cocktail with unknown health impacts. Apparently, many air fresheners contain nerve-deadening chemicals that literally stop us from being able to smell bad odours, and some ingredients can cause headaches, nausea and have been linked to respiratory issues and cancer.
I don’t pretend to be a scientist and I don’t have the time or the knowledge to fully explain the lists of chemicals that come up if you Google this subject, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that shutting our doors and windows, sealing ourselves in our homes and filling the air with synthetic chemicals is probably not the healthiest idea we’ve ever had.
What toxin free alternatives are we using?
I have not used a conventional air freshener for three years and I don’t miss them one bit. Instead we’ve been using essential oils either in a diffuser or dropped onto little felt balls or even decorative objects like pinecones.
Essential oils can be diffused using a cold water atomiser, and I have mine going most days. It releases the essential oils out into the room in a fine mist and is a really effective way of fragrancing our home. What I didn’t realise when I first bought my diffuser is that the benefits of essential oils go way beyond their smell, and by diffusing them I was actually also harnessing their power for emotional and physical support as well. Instead of just having a few candles with a limited smell, I can pick and choose what scent/support I want depending on how I feel; whether I need something uplifting, motivating, relaxing, something to sooth anxious thoughts or help us sleep, or whether I want to purify the air or boost our immunity.
(If you’d like to find out more about my essential oils diffuser then contact me or read THIS post on the subject.)
However, it’s sometimes nice to have a candle going for a cosy night in isn’t it? I don’t use a lot of candles in the house because it’s a bit of a hazard with three children around, but when we do I have switched to 100% beeswax candles with cotton wicks. Beeswax candles can actually clean the air due to the negative ions they give out, and give off no scent or smoke – although the actual wax itself smells divine! The company I use rolls their candles by hand and supports local beekeepers and bees which is an added bonus.
I know a lot of people use soy candles as an alternative to paraffin wax, and I’m sure there are some other natural options too, but I have heard a lot of crops used to make these candles are genetically modified, or have been sprayed with pesticides so be smart with your purchases and do you research.
What’s the cost?
When you’re buying an essential oils diffuser you want to get one made from medical grade plastic and metal as some oils can break down plastic and you don’t want those chemicals being diffused around your home! I got my diffuser as part of a ‘starter kit‘ from Young Living with twelve oils (which is amazing value at over 50% off the retail value) but it retails on its own at £57.50. This is obviously more of an investment than a one off air freshener or candle but it will last for years and it much better for you and the environment.
Young Living oils cost on average 4-12p a drop and I normally put about five drops into the diffuser which will last me four hours, so we’re talking a cost of something like 10p an hour. A quick search for a well known candle company shows me that their candles work out costing 22p an hour. Although I would imagine many people buy cheaper candles or use offers a diffuser and oils is still working out the same or cheaper than a candle.
It’s also worth noting that when I was just searching for the costs of air-fresheners and candles online I came across this warning on one: “harmful to aquatic life with long lasting affects. May cause allergic skin reactions”. Ummm….I would rather pay MORE for a clean, toxin free option than use such a dangerous product around myself and my children, plus you’re getting the added bonus of gaining emotional and physical support from the amazing oils.
The beeswax candles are generally more expensive than a paraffin alternative but we don’t go through them very quickly, and for a product that is handmade, supporting bees and is toxin free I am happy to pay more for the reasons stated above.
I don’t miss air fresheners and scented candles one bit, and I feel like the air is cleaner in my home than before. I find the smell of chemical fresheners really overpowering and unpleasant now, and I can’t get out of my head how damaging they could be for my health and for my family. I am happy to have found some safe, toxin free alternatives that don’t break the bank or cost the earth!
If you would like to find out more about Young Living essential oils I suggest you read ‘getting started with essential oils‘. You can read more about out toxin free journey HERE, and as always if you have any questions just contact me.