It's naptime here. Can you hear the blessed silence? Divine. Don't be mistaken. It won't last long. I probably won't even finish this post. But for now, I will sit with my wine (oh yea, you read that right. It's a snow day, and I am taking certain liberties including a glass of wine at naptime), one of my favorite candles, and my blog.
I love candles. There is something about the soft glow, subtle fragrance, and just barely noticeable warmth that makes me feel warm and cozy, it helps me relax and unwind. I go through periods where I forget about my candles, never finding the time to locate one or thinking to light the ones out for decoration. Consequently, lighting a candle feels like a tiny indulgence, something I do for me. It takes but a few seconds (and certainly a few safety considerations with small children around) to light one, and I can't help but take a long, deep breath at the same time, giving me a moment to pause and focus in a day often filled with chaos.
As I am continually trying to make small changes to minimize our carbon footprint as well as intentionally focusing on the health and wellness of my family through holistic living, I found myself reconsidering my traditional candle choices and wondering about the fragrances and ingredients in candles. If common air fresheners and cleaning supplies are filled with toxins bad for both my family and the environment, I figured candles couldn't be much better. So I did a little research and found that as expected, not all candles are created equal. All sorts of toxins including but not limited to lead, toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde can come with that lovely little flame in your home.
Here are some guidelines offered by Healthy Child Healthy World to ensure a healthier candle:
- Select candles with cotton wicks
- Buy Certified Organic Candle Wax candles or pure beeswax candles
- Choose organic candles with natural fragrances
- If you are not sure what type of candle you are buying:
- Avoid soft or gel candles, select hard wax candles
- Buy unscented candles
- Choose wicks that are thin or braided; steer clear of thick or wire-core wicks
- Buy tapered and votive candles; avoid candles in glass jars or ceramic containers
- Test candles you already own: separate the strands from the wick to see if there is a metallic core; if so, rub the core on white paper -- if it leaves a gray mark, then the core is probably lead.
After learning what I did, I settled on some lovely candles from Henry & Co.. First and foremost, I discoverd I know one of the owners/creators/candle makers. I worked with her way back when at summer camp. I like to support folks I know in their businesses, especially when they are working to provide safer products for my family and for the earth. Second, I felt comfortable from what I learned about the candles that these were a vast improvement over what I might buy in your average store. These are dye-free soy candles. They have a soft wick. And, it doesn't hurt that their scents are heavenly. Seriously, I have Snow Day rather appropriately lit right now, and it's the perfect scent for keeping warm inside on a cozy day. While I have no doubt these may not perfect (although I am pretty darn happy with them!), I am committed to small changes. This is one more change that moves my family to a smaller carbon footprint and a healthier home.
Now, back to that wine...