Some days it ain’t easy being a non-toxic mama. It often feels like I’m the biggest Debbie DOWNER when it comes to products in the home. In fact, I even took the Christmas lights off the stair railing the other day because my preschooler kept touching them on her way down the stairs and after reading the reports about high levels of lead contained in most commercial Christmas lights, I just couldn’t leave them up. My family is so understanding, I really do thank them almost daily. What could be a source of frustration and tears when mommy won’t buy that colorful box of chocolate granola bars or that plastic toy is often turned into an area of opportunity. When I say no to a granola bar, I say YES to a new bar recipe we can make together. And the other day when I said no to a perfumed Christmas candle my son wanted, I said YES to making our own.
And bless his heart, he is so happy with making our own stuff. It likely won’t always be this easy, but for now I love that my kids are learning about non-toxic solutions in our home.
What’s in a Commercial Candle?
I love candles. The warm glow, the aroma, the mood they set. It’s all lovely. What isn’t lovely is the indoor pollution commercial candles create. Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax and when heated, this wax emits two chemicals also found in diesel fuel: benzene and toluene. Both are known carcinogens.
The wicks of some commercial candles aren’t much better. Many scented candles have wicks that contain lead and when lit a lead wick emits 5 times the amount of lead categorized as dangerous for children (a level set by the EPA). Exposure to lead is associated with learning and behavior problems and hormone disruption. Lead wicks were banned in 2003 but some candles still contain them.
And finally, the yummy smell coming from commercial candles is due to artificial fragrances. The term “fragrance” on a label is a code word for 3,163 chemicals. Many of which are known to disrupt hormones and also to cause birth defects. Candles aren’t the only product containing artificial fragrance, it’s also found in personal care products, perfume, hair coloring, etc. By avoiding any product with the ingredient fragrance on the label we will all be happier and healthier people.
Ok, so that’s the bad news.
Now the GOOD news.
Natural beeswax candles made with cotton wicks don’t have any of those toxic chemicals and they look and smell wonderful. In fact, beeswax candles are known to create negative ions that actually cleanse and purify the air in your home. They may be helpful to those with asthma or respiratory issues.
We are making beewax candles and a homemade bath salt recipe for Christmas gifts this year. My kids LOVE making them and I love that we can burn candles in the home that won’t pollute our air.
Don’t want to make your own? That’s OK too, there are many good companies making safe candles for our families.
Check out these brands:
And I even found BIRTHDAY candles!
Interested in making your own? GREAT! I have a recipe for you below but first let me tell you about the supplies I used.
It’s important to get organic beeswax so that you aren’t burning any pesticides in your home. I also used coconut oil to help the beeswax burn evenly. I bought cotton wicks (size medium)…there are lots of posts about the exact size of wick to buy but reading them all gave me a headache so I chose medium and the candles turned out just fine. For the containers I used simple 8oz mason jars and left about 2oz of room at the top.
This recipe makes 4 candles if you use 8oz jars.
I hope you enjoy these simple DIY candles!
- 1 pound organic beeswax
- 1 cup coconut oil
- Cotton wicks (size medium)
- Mason jars (I used 8oz)
- In a double boiler, melt the beeswax and the coconut oil together.
- If you have a large chuck of beeswax like I did you may find heating a knife in hot water and then cutting through the block of beeswax will work if you need to cut it down.
- Prepare your jars with the wick by wrapping the top end of the wick around a pencil to hold the wick straight in the jar.
- Once the wax and oil are melted fill each jar up ¼ of the way and let the wick set in the wax for 5 minutes (you will return the unused wax to the double boiler to stay warm)
- Once wicks are set fill the rest of the jar up ¾ of the way.
- If you fill each jar up ¾ of the way then you will have enough wax for 4 candles.
- Let the wax set for 2 days before lighting.
- Enjoy your non-toxic candles!