Since the government launched a new Clean Air Strategy in early 2019, questions have been raised about the possible effects on health of using wood burning stoves, cleaning products and even scented candles in the home.
So should candle-lovers be concerned? The good news is that a high quality, well-made candle that is properly burned will burn cleanly and safely. So you can enjoy a stress-free candle experience, if you choose carefully and then follow a few simple guidelines when you light up...
Choose 100% natural wax candles (e.g. soy wax or beeswax) instead of paraffin wax, which is a by-product of the petroleum industry. Studies have shown that paraffin wax candles can create fumes containing toluene and benzene, which are chemicals that have been linked to lung cancer and asthma. Be wary of unspecified wax 'blends' as some candle makers mix paraffin with natural wax.
Never place your candle in a draughty location, as air currents can disturb the flame and cause it to give off wisps of smoke and soot. A properly burning candle has a steady, tear-drop shaped flame that doesn't smoke or flicker.
Keep it trim
Keep your candle's wick well trimmed, as if it gets too long it may start to soot. Once it's cooled, use a wick-cutter or a small pair of scissors to trim it back to a quarter of an inch.
Look for candles with core-less wicks as they give a cleaner burn. In candles with cored wicks, the cotton wick material is wrapped around another substance, creating more soot.
Clean it up
Make sure the pool of hot wax in the middle of the candle is clear of any debris, like dead matches or bits of wick, as these can give off smoke.
Make sure there's adequate ventilation in your room and don't have too many candles lit at once in a small, enclosed space.
Check your candle maker's guidelines for their recommended maximum safe burn time, but as a guideline don't burn it for more than four hours at a time. If you choose a good quality candle with a strong fragrance throw, then you won't have to burn it for as long to fill your room with aroma. This also has the benefit of making your candle last longer.