With major holidays approaching, many of us are planning large gatherings of friends and family. Besides the worry of the food and gifts, there is also the anxiety caused by creating just the right atmosphere of warmth and comfort that makes all of your guests feel welcomed. It’s common for homeowners to reach for scented candles as an easy solution for providing ambiance as well as a pleasant scent throughout the home.
But did you know that many scented candles are a major source of indoor air pollution?
Unfortunately, it’s true. Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a derivative of petroleum. When burned, they can release small amounts of carcinogens and soot into your home – these pollutants can then attach themselves to surfaces in your home, or even end up in the ductwork of your HVAC system. This doesn’t sound like the hospitable environment most people are going for!
Here are some alternatives to the traditional candles you generally see on the market. These options will help to leave your home smelling great without the additional pollution.
Soy and Beeswax Candles
Both soy and beeswax candles are cleaner burning and produce less soot than their paraffin counterparts. Plus, many of them have the added bonus of having an all-fiber wick, whereas many commercial candles contain a small wire (often made of lead) for stabilization. They may cost a little more, but they also tend to last longer than paraffin products.
Try A Candle Warmer
Candle warmers allow you to enjoy the scent of your favorite candle without actually burning it. The warmer is essentially a little hot plate that sits under the candle and gently warms the wax, releasing the smell into the air without the addition of soot and other pollutants generated by an open flame. Plus, a candle warmer eliminates the fire risk posed by a guest accidentally knocking over a lit candle.
What About Potpourri?
Dried potpourri can be a safe alternative to scented candles, as long as it is a quality product not filled with synthetic additions. Look for potpourris that contain dried flowers, fruits, and berries only, not additional artificial fragrances.
Around the holidays there are plenty of companies that produce naturally scented wreaths using pine, lavender, bay, citrus, and other dried or fresh plant materials. These are a great option for adding a holiday scent to your home, not to mention the fact that many are absolutely beautiful. Plus, some are specifically designed to be used as edible seasoning, which makes them a handy décor item to have around the kitchen.
Make Your Own Stovetop Scents
Why not use some items you have around the kitchen to make your very own stovetop scent? Fill a small pot with water, then add a few slices of lemon, orange, a few cloves, and a cinnamon stick. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and enjoy the delicious smell that permeates your home.
Give Diffusers a Chance
If you are a fan of essential oils, then diffusers are a fantastic way to scent your home. These tools naturally break down essential oils so that they can move through the air easily, providing fresh scents throughout your home. Plus, you have the freedom to be a little creative and develop a scent that is your own. Most health food stores carry a wide array of essential oils, and many even have starter kits to give you a combination of scents to play with.
If All Else Fails…Bake!
Honestly, who doesn’t love walking into a home that smells like freshly baked cookies or cake! We promise this smell will be a hit with your holiday guests.