Scented candles are great for effect in the home but they definitely bring on soot. Soot can damage walls, curtains, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc. Besides the soot, candles can also be a health hazard. Most scented candles are made from paraffin wax, (a petroleum product), and many of the fragrances are synthetic hydrocarbons. One study that tested soot particles from 30 randomly selected candles found traces of benzene, acetone, styrene, lead, and other toxins.
Your safest option is to avoid using candles inside your home- burn them outside on your deck or patio instead.
If you can’t resist the ambiance scented candles provide, use the following guidelines to minimize risk:
Look for products that use only natural essential oils for fragrance.
- Keep candle wicks trimmed to 1.4 inch at all times and keep them out of drafts- a low, steady-burning flame produces the least amount of soot.
- Long-burning candles tend to flicker more. Instead, use two identical candles-burn one for an hour, and then extinguish it and light the other one.
- Avoid jar candles that have a narrow mouth, which can restrict airflow and make flames flicker.
- Synthetic carpet fibers collect soot particles. Vacuum carpets and rugs frequently using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Regular vacuum cleaners will just spread the soot.
- Use a high-efficiency filter on your forced hot-air or air-conditioning system, and replace it regularly.
- Open your windows and doors to let in fresh air frequently.
- Try 100% beeswax or soy candles-they burn cleaner and produce less black soot.