Do Candles Clean The Air? Our Ultimate Guide!

Updated on July 13, 2023

Do you love the cozy ambiance that candles create in your home? Not only do they provide a warm and inviting atmosphere, but there is also something undeniably comforting about the gentle flicker of a candle flame. But have you ever wondered if candles can actually clean the air around you?

In this article, we will explore the different types of candles and their composition, delve into scientific studies on candle emissions, and ultimately determine whether or not candles truly have the power to purify the air you breathe.

Picture this: you're sitting in your favorite corner of your home, surrounded by soft lighting and a soothing fragrance filling the air. You take a deep breath, feeling an instant sense of relaxation wash over you. But are those fragrant fumes actually improving the quality of the air in your space? The answer may surprise you.

We'll dive into the world of traditional paraffin wax candles, as well as explore more natural alternatives like beeswax and soy candles. By examining scientific evidence surrounding candle emissions, we'll uncover whether or not these beloved sources of light are pulling double duty as air purifiers.

So grab your favorite scented candle and get ready to discover if it's truly cleaning up your environment or simply adding to its charm.

Table of Contents

Types of Candles and Their Composition

So, you're probably wondering what types of candles are out there and what they're made of, right? Well, let me tell you!

There are various types of candles available in the market today, each with its own unique composition. The most common types include paraffin wax candles, soy wax candles, beeswax candles, and palm wax candles.

Paraffin wax candles are the traditional choice and they're made from petroleum byproducts. They're known for their affordability and wide availability. However, they also release harmful toxins into the air when burned, such as benzene and toluene.

On the other hand, soy wax candles are made from soybean oil and they've gained popularity due to their eco-friendly nature.

Beeswax candles are created from natural beeswax obtained from beehives and they have a pleasant honey-like scent when burned.

Lastly, palm wax candles are derived from sustainable palm oil and they produce minimal soot when lit.

Now that you know about different types of candles and their compositions, let's dive into the impact of traditional paraffin wax candles on the air quality.

The Impact of Traditional Paraffin Wax Candles

Imagine the harmful fumes filling your home as you burn traditional candles made from paraffin wax. These candles are commonly found in stores and are often inexpensive, but their composition can have a negative impact on your indoor air quality. When burned, paraffin wax releases toxins such as benzene and toluene into the air, which can contribute to respiratory issues and even affect the central nervous system. Breathing in these fumes over time can be particularly concerning for those with asthma or allergies. It's important to be aware of the potential harm that traditional candles made from paraffin wax can pose to your health and the air you breathe.

As you become more conscious about improving your indoor air quality, exploring alternatives like beeswax and soy candles becomes essential. Beeswax candles offer a natural option that not only burns cleaner but also emits a subtle honey-like scent that adds warmth and intimacy to any space. Soy candles, on the other hand, are made from soybean oil and produce minimal soot when burned. They are known for their long burn times and come in various fragrances that can create a cozy atmosphere in your home. By choosing these alternative candle options over traditional paraffin wax ones, you can enjoy the ambiance of candlelight without compromising on your desire for clean air.

Exploring Alternatives: Beeswax and Soy Candles

As you delve into the world of improving indoor air quality, it's time to discover the allure of beeswax and soy candles. These alternative candle options not only offer a more eco-friendly choice but also provide distinct benefits that can enhance your intimate space.

Here are four reasons why beeswax and soy candles deserve a place in your home:

  1. Cleaner burn: Beeswax and soy candles have a cleaner burn compared to traditional paraffin wax candles. They release fewer toxins and pollutants into the air, reducing the risk of respiratory irritation or allergies.
  2. Natural fragrance: Unlike synthetic fragrances found in many commercial candles, beeswax and soy candles often use essential oils for their scent. This means you can enjoy natural aromas that create a cozy atmosphere without overwhelming chemical odors.
  3. Longer burning time: Beeswax and soy candles tend to burn slower than paraffin wax candles, making them last longer. With their extended lifespan, you can relish in the soft glow and captivating scents for more intimate moments.
  4. Supporting sustainable practices: By choosing beeswax or soy-based alternatives, you contribute to supporting sustainable practices in the candle industry. Beeswax is a renewable resource that helps support bee populations, while soy wax is derived from plants instead of fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions.

With these compelling reasons in mind, let's now transition into examining the evidence: scientific studies on candle emissions without losing sight of our quest for cleaner air quality within our homes.

Examining the Evidence: Scientific Studies on Candle Emissions

Take a moment to dive into the realm of scientific studies, where you'll uncover valuable insights on the emissions produced by beeswax and soy candles. These studies have delved deep into the composition of candle emissions and their potential effects on indoor air quality.

One study conducted by researchers at South Carolina State University found that both beeswax and soy candles emit significantly fewer toxins compared to paraffin candles. In fact, they discovered that paraffin candles release harmful chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde into the air when burned.

Another study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health examined the particulate matter emitted by different types of candles. The researchers concluded that beeswax candles produce virtually no soot or black smoke when burned, making them a cleaner option for your indoor environment. Soy candles also fared well in this study, emitting minimal amounts of soot.

This evidence suggests that choosing beeswax or soy candles over paraffin ones may contribute to better indoor air quality.

Now that we've explored the scientific evidence surrounding candle emissions, it's time to move on to the verdict: can candles truly clean the air?

The Verdict: Can Candles Truly Clean the Air?

Get ready to discover the surprising truth about whether candles actually purify the air around you! You may be disappointed to learn that despite their cozy and comforting ambiance, candles don't actually clean the air.

While they may emit pleasant scents that can temporarily mask odors, they don't have any significant impact on improving air quality.

It's important to understand that candles are primarily made of paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum. When burned, these candles release various pollutants into the air, including soot particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

In fact, studies have shown that burning candles can contribute to indoor pollution levels similar to those found in heavily congested urban areas. So while it may be tempting to believe that lighting a candle can freshen up your living space, it's best to rely on other methods such as proper ventilation or using air purifiers for truly cleaner air.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are scented candles more harmful to air quality compared to unscented candles?

Scented candles can actually be more harmful to air quality compared to unscented ones. The fragrances in scented candles release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to indoor air pollution.

What are the potential health risks associated with burning candles indoors?

Burning candles indoors can release harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and soot, which can irritate your respiratory system, trigger allergies, and worsen asthma symptoms. Protect yourself by ensuring proper ventilation and using unscented candles.

Can candles release toxic chemicals such as lead or mercury into the air?

Yes, candles can release toxic chemicals like lead or mercury into the air when burned. These substances pose health risks and can be particularly harmful if you inhale them regularly. It's important to be cautious when using candles indoors.

Do natural or organic candles have any advantages over regular candles?

Natural or organic candles offer several advantages over regular candles. They are made from renewable resources, free of toxic chemicals, and emit a subtle fragrance that can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere in your home.

Are there any specific candle brands or types that are recommended for better air quality?

For better air quality, look for candle brands like Chesapeake Bay Candle and Beeswax. These candles are made with natural ingredients, emit less soot and toxins, and can help create a cleaner and healthier environment in your home.


In conclusion, candles can add a cozy ambiance to your home, but when it comes to cleaning the air, the evidence is not clear.

Traditional paraffin wax candles emit potentially harmful chemicals like benzene and toluene, which can contribute to indoor air pollution. While alternatives like beeswax and soy candles may have lower emissions, there is still limited scientific research on their effectiveness in purifying the air.

It's important to note that even if candles do have some air-cleaning properties, they're unlikely to be a comprehensive solution for improving indoor air quality. To truly clean the air in your home, it's best to focus on other proven methods such as proper ventilation, using HEPA filters, and reducing sources of indoor pollution like cigarette smoke or chemical cleaners.

So while candles can create a pleasant atmosphere, don't rely on them alone for cleaner air - take a more holistic approach for a healthier living environment.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay - so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions :) (pun intended ;) )

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