If you're like most people you love a good scent. Smells are kind of like music, when you hear a song it reminds you of a place, a person or experience. They can take you back and propel you forward. I only wish all smells were created equal. Sadly they aren't.
Let's start with the first culprit: Air Fresheners
These small little guys carry a powerful punch…or should I say toxic punch! Yes, these are toxic and filled with synthetic fragrances. Just take a walk down the nearest air freshener aisle at the store and you nearly get hit with about a thousand different scents…not to mention a headache later. I'm not going to go into why they're bad, toxic, horrible for children, those with allergies and every human…you can read all the scary details here:
The second culprit: Candles
Now I was never really into air fresheners but I love candles! They remind me of growing up and bring a sense of comfort. Unfortunately, candles can be toxic as well. Until recently most candle wicks contained lead and lead is not a pretty chemical. When breathed in lead can cause a host of problems. Now many companies have switched over and use cotton wicks instead of lead. Make sure the label says 100% cotton wick. If you're unsure of a candle, simply rub the wick on a piece of white paper and see it if leaves a mark like soot would. If it does, then it contains lead. Another issue with candles is what they're made of. Most candles are usually made out of paraffin. Unfortunately, paraffin is a by-product of petroleum and is toxic. It too can cause a host of problems when inhaled. For more info. on the effects of paraffin wax:
Ok now that we've covered the scary details, let me introduce you to the alternatives.
For air fresheners: Aromatherapy is amazing and easy. Just grab your favorite essential oil and an oil burner and you've got a great non-toxic scent. Also, if you prefer not to use electric burners just use a soy or beeswax candle to heat the oil. Here's an example of both:
For Candles: Always buy 100% soy candles and 100% beeswax candles. Both of these waxes are healthy alternatives to paraffin wax. Plus, soy candles burn up to three times longer than paraffin and beeswax burn up to two times longer than soy. This is great news especially because soy and beeswax tend to be a bit heftier on the wallet. Here are a couple brands I really like:
Big Dipper Wax Works These can also be found at Whole Foods. Enlightenment is my favorite, a perfect combination of bergamot and mint.
Target This is a great place for soy candles. Just make sure when buying them that the candle is made of 100% soy and not a blend of paraffin and soy. I've noticed some companies will label their candle soy but then on the bottom its says a “soy blend.” Don't be fooled!
*Also with any candle you want to make sure the scent is from essential oils and not synthetic. Again, look for candles that say scented with essential oils.