The leaves are changing color, the temperature is dropping, and the pumpkin-flavored-everything is hitting the stores. If you’re looking for eco-friendly and non-toxic pumpkin candles, you came to the right place. In this article, we’ll talk briefly about why conventional candles are not great for your health, what to look for in non-toxic candles, and then we’ll give you our picks for the best brands!
P.S. If you’re looking for non-toxic Christmas and wintery-scented candles, click here!
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Featured image credit: Sweet Water Decor
Why Go for Natural, Organic, & Non-Toxic Candles This Fall?
The two main reasons to switch to natural and non-toxic candles have to do with the type of wax (paraffin) and the chemicals with which they are scented.
Why Paraffin Wax is a No-Go
Most conventional candles are made using paraffin wax, which is a petroleum-based wax (read: made from fossil fuels). Just like other petroleum-based products, paraffin wax is not healthy to breathe in—especially over time.
When they’re burned, paraffin candles release chemicals such as benzene and toluene, which are known carcinogens. These chemicals can also cause other problems like headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, central nervous system dysfunction, birth defects, and more.
What’s the Deal With Synthetic Fragrance?
Synthetic fragrance (listed as either “fragrance” or “parfum” on ingredient labels) is one of the most ubiquitous and potentially toxic ingredients in personal care products (like shampoo (and home goods (like laundry detergent, and of course, candles).
Under U.S. law, companies are allowed to hide almost 4,000 (!!) different chemicals under the umbrella term of “fragrance.” Some of these ingredients are harmless, while others pose a serious threat to human health.
Phthalates, for example, is one group of chemicals that can be legally hidden under the “fragrance” label. While phthalates have been cause for concern to many safety and environmental groups for quite some time now due to their correlation to things like hormone disruption and cancer, more and more research continues to validate the seriousness of our phthalate problem. Recent research from NYU shows that phthalates may kill 100,000 Americans prematurely each year.
When you burn candles with artificial, phthalate-containing fragrances in them, you’re just breathing that stuff in! For this reason, Americans would do well to consider avoiding candles that are scented with artificial “fragrance.”
Which Candles Are the Healthiest to Burn?
The most common type of paraffin wax alternative you’ll find on the market is soy wax. It’s a more accessible and affordable option compared to paraffin and is a much cleaner burn. But there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to soy as well:
- Some manufacturers actually add other types of wax (like palm or paraffin) to their “soy” candles in order to keep costs down. So be sure to purchase from brands that are truly using natural soy wax and are transparent with their customers about it.
- Soy wax also has to be processed using not-so-great chemicals like chlorine, as well as heavy metals like nickel and platinum.
- The majority of soy is grown using pesticides and herbicides. But even if the soybean used to make a soy wax candle WAS organic to begin with, the soy wax cannot be certified organic because it has to be processed using hexane, disqualifying it from the organic label. If you ever see an “organic soy candle,” this should raise a red flag for you that the company is not being straightforward with you.
All that being said, soy is still a MUCH better option than paraffin. Soy candles also tend to be more affordable compared to beeswax and coconut wax, so we’ve included several of them in our list below.
Coconut wax is a great non-toxic alternative to paraffin wax candles as well. It’s plant-based, has a clean burn, and can actually be certified organic. It tends to be more expensive though, which is why it’s often blended with soy and/or beeswax.
Beeswax is one of the BEST options for non-toxic candles! Beeswax candles actually CLEAN the air while they burn by producing negative ions, which attach to things like dust and mold particles and neutralize them.
Beeswax is usually more expensive compared to paraffin and soy, but it also tends to burn longer, too. When shopping for beeswax candles, look for companies that use sustainably sourced wax from local beekeepers. Bees are so crucial to our food supplies and they are currently in danger. Shopping from small businesses that work with local beekeepers is one small way we can help protect our bee populations.
Natural and Phthalate-Free Fragrances
Instead of synthetic fragrances, look for brands that use natural fragrances (essential oils) and/or synthetic fragrances that are free from phthalates and other toxins.
Wood, Cotton, or Hemp Lead-Free Wicks
Many conventional candles have wicks that contain lead, which is a big no-no, especially if you have small children in the home. Look for candle brands that source from suppliers whose wick is explicitly lead-free.
One last note about non-toxic, naturally-fragranced candles. They don’t usually smell quite as strong as candles made with synthetic fragrances, so one candle may not fill up an entire room. Most people like this because the chemically-smell isn’t overpowering, but just be aware that you may need to get a few candles if your goal is to fill up a large space!
Where to Get Natural and Non-Toxic Fall Scented Candles
Without further ado, let’s get to our favorite non-toxic fall candles!
Fontana’s non-toxic candles are MADE SAFE certified, which is one of the most strict third-party certifications for non-toxic ingredients. Their fall scents like Cinnamon Orange Clove and Spiced Latte are made using simple, natural ingredients like beeswax, coconut wax, and essential oils. You won’t find any petroleum byproducts, stabilizers, harmful dyes, or phthalates in these candles.
Specifically made for even those who are most sensitive to synthetic fragrances, Basic’s Bee’s non-toxic candles are made in the USA and are completely free of toxins, gluten, lead, and phthalates. They are made from 100% natural ingredients, including raw local beeswax, coconut wax, cotton wicks, and pure essential oils.
Their warm fall scents include Pumpkin Spice, Cozy Autumn, Log Cabin, and Apple Crisp. They also have wax melts!
Handmade in Queens, NY, Shanti Creations’ zero waste candles are made with 100% coconut oil, essential oils, non-toxic fragrance oils, and 100% cotton wicks.
They make several different collections of candles, including Minimalist Candles, Decorative and Customized Candles (a great gift idea!), Decor Candles, Poetry Candles, a few different artist series, and Candles that Give Back. You can even buy a zero waste candle kit and/or other mason jar accessories so that when you’ve burned through your candle, you can reuse the jar as a cocktail shaker, to-go mug, salt/pepper shaker, tea infuser, or fruit infuser!
Scents include Toasted Pumpkin, Cinnamon Chai, and Dragon’s Blood.
Use the code THEFILTERY10 for 10% off.
Grow Fragrance originally started with their line of non-toxic, plant-based room spray, but has since expanded to candles as well. Their fragrances are 100% certified plant-based, their soy and coconut wax blend is made in the USA, and their lead-free, unbleached, cotton wick is made in Germany. Not only that, but their candles come in infinitely recyclable inserts that are also made in the USA out of recycled aluminum. Whenever you’re finished with a candle, you can just buy a refill and place it into your refillable vessel.
Grow carries a core collection of scents year-round, but they also release seasonal collections as well. Their fall scents include Ginger Pumpkin and Pear Cider.
We love this farm stand, based in New Jersey and available on Etsy! They make handmade goods (like soaps, skincare, and candles) “inspired by their bees.” They use beeswax that’s ethically sourced from their own hives, combined with soy wax, a cotton wick, phthalate-free fragrance oils, and natural essential oils. It’s all hand-poured into an amber glass jar or metal tin.
Their scrumptious fall candle scents include Pumpkin Spice, Autumn Leaves, Pumpkin Chai Pie, Campfire, Salted Caramel, and more.
They also carry room diffusers and linen sprays as well.
Based in Pennsylvania, this home goods shop carries a variety of yummy fall scents, including Pumpkin Spice, Hello Fall, Sweater Weather, Mulled Cider, Flannel, Farmhouse Kitchen, Autumn Wreath, and more.
All of Sweet Water Decor’s candles are hand-poured in the USA out of a non-GMO, vegan, and kosher soy wax blend combined with phthalate-free fragrance oils and essential oils.
These candles are made with natural essential oils, wooden wicks, 80% beeswax from Colorado-raised bees, and 20% organic coconut oil. Each one is hand-poured into a reusable glass jar in small batches. Their warm fall scents include Sweater Weather, Cozy, and Fall.
You’ve probably seen this popular candle brand before; it can be found in just about every boutique and Anthropologie-type store. They’re made from domestically-grown soy wax, cotton wicks, and a blend of both natural and synthetic oils that are paraben-free, phthalate-free, and are never tested on animals. Their fall scents include Campfire and Vanilla & Ghost Pepper.
They also carry other fun fragrance products like reed diffusers, room sprays, incense, and more.
Everyone loves the scent of a warm, spiced pumpkin candle in the fall. But that scrumptious smell doesn’t have to come with all of the toxins! Buy from one of the shops above and rest assured knowing you’re not polluting your home with unnecessary fossil fuels and harmful synthetic chemicals.