Everything You Need To Know About Scented Candles

Most people think about scented candles first when it comes to home scenting with good reason. Burning candles was the way to create light for a long time, but with the appearance of scented versions, it became the perfect way to decorate and fragrance our spaces. No matter what is your purpose, to refresh the air, soothe the senses, add up to the romance, there is a scented candle for every occasion!

How do scented candles work?

Scented candles emit aroma even when unlit – this is called the ‘cold throw’ effect – but they release the most fragrance through evaporation when burning. The process is the same to unscented candles; when you light the wick, the heat melts the wax but since it contains scent molecules too, the candle starts to release the aroma.

The longer you burn the candle, the more the wax melts and the stronger the fragrance gets. Larger candles have a bigger surface area meaning they can release more aroma, so if you are looking for scented candles that actually work in bigger rooms, consider buying larger ones.

How are scented candles made?

Essentially the way to create scented candles is the same as non-scented ones are made, only a container, wax, and wick are needed, plus of course, some aroma has to be added.

premium quality scented candle

The scented mixture (a combination of liquid wax and essential oils and/or other aromatic ingredients such as spices or fruit extracts) is poured into clean jars that have one or more wicks in. Companies and handmade candle makers use special essences that often take years to develop so that the result is a balanced scent.

If the wax cools down completely and all the ingredients settle, the containers can be labeled, closed with a lid, put into boxes, and shipped so they are ready to bring amazing home scent into many houses.

Are scented candles dangerous?

Burning a scented candle indoors does create a cozy atmosphere and can help to improve the air quality, but like all other home-scenting products, not all of them are safe to use. The good news is that if you know the possible dangers of fragrant candles, it will be easy to choose products that are safe to use, so here I list the key features you should check when stocking up on candles!

Don’t buy paraffin wax candles

Candles made from paraffin and petroleum-derived waxes can emit toxic fumes and can cause respiratory problems, allergies, or skin problems in poorly ventilated areas, so the first thing you need to check when buying candles is what material is it made from.

soy wax candle in glass

Choose soy wax, coconut wax, or beeswax that burn clean, or candles that are made from ingredients such as minerals and vegetables that release fewer particles when burning (like Jo Malone scented candles). Alternatively, you can get a candle warmer too that requires no flame.

Check if the core wick is lead-free

Most candles have cored wicks meaning that the cotton is wrapped around metallic support to prevent the wick from falling into the wax. In the past, this metallic support was usually lead, but when it was confirmed that burning such candles results in air concentration of lead and can cause poisoning to young kids. Therefore, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the manufacturing of candles with lead wicks in 2003.

candle with short wick

Nowadays zinc or tin is used instead of lead, but there are no metal wick candles available too. If you are planning to make your own candles at home, the best is to use organic hemp wicks.

Opt for natural fragrances

Not only the wax itself but also the added scent essence can be toxic if it comes to fragrant candles. Inhaling synthetic aromas can develop allergies, headache, and infections, so make your research on how the product you intend to buy is made to smell nice.

Choose naturally scented candles that are fragranced with essential oils, plant extracts, or flowers instead of toxic chemicals.

Benefits of using scented candles in your home

Our house is the place where we spend most of our time, so it is really important that we can feel really at home in it. With careful planning and smart solutions, it is easy to create comfort, but the little touches like thoughtful decoration and using home scenting products that create an atmosphere. Placing around aroma candles in your house will not only help to make your home heavenly smelling but also brings along benefits you never thought about.

Create ambience and atmosphere

You cannot change all the furniture whenever the season or your mood is changing, but small things, such as decoration accessories and even a different home scent can change the whole atmosphere of your house.

fall candle

Using aromatized candles is the best way to make a space not only fresh-smelling but also cozy. Lighting a typical fall or Christmas candle on a cold winter day will instantly make you feel warm, while when it’s time to promote freshness, spring candles that will bring the blossoming outdoors into your home.

Improve the mood

Candles are not only for decoration and to bring a peaceful ambience to your home, but they can definitely help people in their daily life to feel and perform better, the secret lies in choosing the right aroma.

Candle in the bathroom

There are candle scents that help to relax, while others can make you more focused or lift your mood. There is certainly a scent for every occasion and activity! Light a lavender aromatherapy candle in the washroom to make your bathroom smell nice when taking a bath, or choose a warm, woody aroma like vanilla or vetiver if you have a date night in.

Remind us of good memories

Scents have a powerful effect on the body and mind, moreover, it is proven that fragrances are important from a memory perspective. Smelling a familiar pleasant fragrance instantly brings back memories and reminds you of the happy time/place when you smelled that certain aroma.

This is why for example many upscale hotels use their own signature scented candles that you can buy and take home so every time you smell them, holiday memories can be triggered. Or it works on the other way around too! If you often feel homesick when spending time away from home, just lit a candle with an aroma that reminds you of your childhood so that you can create that home-feeling anywhere in the world!

I recommend Homesick candles that come with scent for all US States, many cities and lots of memorable experiences!

Help to get rid of bad odors

Although aroma candles are not meant to cover bad smells, but there are special odor-eliminating candles that can be used as air fresheners too. Some fragrant candles are designed to combat specific unpleasant smells such as pet odor or smoke smell, but when trying to get rid of bad smells, always start with cleaning and airing the room before striking a match.

Pro tips on making the most out of your scented candles

Placing aromatic candles all around your house is the perfect way to add a fresh fragrance to your rooms and make your home cozy. Burning candles is easy you may think, but there are several tips and tricks that can help to make the process perfect and safe.

Consider the time of day what aroma you choose

Our mood and activity levels are constantly changing. As we put on different clothes and spray ourselves with different perfumes depending on the time of day, the fragrance that surrounds us should change too during the day to support our daily activities the most.

candle coffee book

When getting ready in the morning or while working from home, try uplifting, refreshing scents that can increase your energy level and help to concentrate. To have a coffee in the late afternoon or listen to classical music in the evening, choose spicy or musky scents that make you feel cozy and relaxed.

Choose a scent according to the season

We change the decoration in our house when the season is changing, and so it is with the fragrances. Woody, aromatic scents are the best to use in fall, while the cold winter months require warm, spicy notes.

When spring approaches and airy aromas replace heavier fragrances, shift to light floral home scents to brighten the ambience, then go for fruity and citrus aromas during summer.

scented candles on the table with fresh flowers

A good thing is that certain aromas have other benefits too on top of the nice smell, just think about the must-have garden party candles that keep bugs away while filling up the air with fresh citronella scent.

Avoid using the typical seasonal aromas, such as typical Christmas scents like winter berries or gingerbread out of their season because it can be unpleasant for some.

Use different scents in different rooms

Instead of having the same fragrance all over your home, it creates a more pleasant smell experience if you use different aromas in different areas of the house. This method will not only allow to personalize the areas but also prevent the fragrance from being too strong.

flower and candle in the bedroom

Choose an aroma that fits that specific room and the people typically spending time there, and make sure the scents create a balanced smell experience and do not overwhelm each other. If you need help with this, have a look at the fragrance wheel to learn how to pair scents.

Have enough candles and put them in the right place

To create the most ideal home fragrance, make sure you have the right number of candles and they are placed in the correct place. Generally, a good quality 8 oz candle is ideal to scent 10 sq ft, so small rooms require smaller/less candles, while larger areas need either smaller or one large extra-strong scented candle.

It is also important where you place the candles, not only for getting the best smell experience but also for safety reasons. Put them on a heat-resistant surface, not close to vents, keep them away from drafts and out of reach of kids and pets.

Pay attention to the wick size

To burn clean and properly, candles should have thin, braided wicks that burn evenly with the wax with minimal carbon build-up. If the wick is too small, it can’t melt the wax out to the edge of the container that causes candle tunneling.

scented candle with matches

If the wick is too long, it will burn with a large, flickering flame, melting the wax too fast and deep, and making the container very hot which can damage the surface. The end of the wick will start ‘mushrooming’ while producing excess carbon and soot.

Trim the wick to 1/8-1/4 inch every time before lighting the candle. You can use scissors to do this, but like that, you can break the wick, so get a wick trimmer that guarantees nice, clean cuts.

Don’t burn the candle for short periods

Candles, no matter they are scented or not, should burn for 60 minutes for every 1 in diameter of their size. Don’t extinguish the candle before the wax pool extends to the edge of the container so your candle burns evenly and it won’t start tunneling.

Don’t burn the candle too long

The ideal is burning a scented candle for two, but maximum four hours at a time. Like this, you can prevent the flame from getting too large, the wick from ‘mushrooming’, and the candle from smoking.

mushroom wick

It is also important to allow the wax to cool (generally it takes at least 2 hours) before relighting. If there is a manufacturer’s instruction on the jar, always follow it and let the candle burn/cool as indicated.

Never leave burning candles unattended

This point might seem to be unequivocal, but still, I think it can’t be repeated often enough. Candles are the most common causes of house fires, so don’t put them close to flammable objects such as curtains or electric cables, and never leave a burning candle unattended.

Scented candles do emit aroma unlit too, therefore you will be still enjoying the nice smell even without flame, so be always on the safe side and burn the candle only when you are around.

If you don’t feel safe burning candles (for example with small kids around) but don’t want to give up scenting your house, consider flameless solutions like reed diffuser or spray air freshener.

Learn how to extinguish the candle without smoke

We burn scented candles to fill our rooms with amazing fragrance, so of course you don’t want to fill your house with smoke when extinguishing it. Therefore, forget about the common ‘blowing it out’ way because the smoky smell will quickly cover the fresh aroma you’ve just created.

Chesapeake Bay burning candle

There are simple solutions that create no smoke (or little smoke only). You can put a lid on the candle or use a wick trimmer, but the most elegant way of extinguishing a candle is definitely doing it with a bell-shaped candle snuffer.

Store your aroma candles properly

In order to enjoy the aroma for the longest time possible, a scented candle should be stored in a dry and cool place.

aroma candles with cork lid

To keep it free from dust and to protect the fragrance, put on the lid when the wax fully cools down. Like this, a high-quality fragrant candle can be used for up 8-12 months.

Best scented candles for every budget

Finding just the right scent for your home is a very personal search. If you’re trying to use more natural scents, or just break away from the quick hit and rapid fade of a spray air freshener, then finding a candle that will deliver a steady fragrance over time will take some sampling until you find just the right fragrance, so to help you out, now I share what my favorite fragrant candles are!

Lulu Candles luxury scented soy jar candle

If you are looking for a soy wax-scented candle for a slow, even burn, the Lulu Candles line may be just what you need. Their eco-friendly, vegan, cruelty and paraben-free soy wax candles are available with a wide variety of scents from fresh airy to spicy and musky so it is easy to find one that fits your mood and the season the most.

Lulu Luxury Scented Soy Candle

Lulu Luxury Scented Soy Candle

  • eco-friendly soy wax candle and poured in USA
  • extremely long burning time and long-lasting scent
  • perfect gift for any occasion

These simple but beautiful candles are sold in stylish jars with a simple label and black or silver lid to maintain the fragrance when the candle is cool.

Urban Concepts by DECOCANDLES

Those who love to visit local farmers’ markets and to cook with fresh herbs, including lemongrass and basil will certainly love the clean scent of this Urban Concepts candle. This elegant candle features a white candle in a clear jar with a cork stopper and plain text printed in black on the jar. These containers will fit any decor.

Urban Concepts Highly Scented Candle

Urban Concepts Highly Scented Candle

  • trendy candle with industrial design
  • uniquely blended scents that last long
  • slow, clean-burning candle that make the entire house smell devine

If you prefer a black jar from Urban Concepts, try the French Lavender or the Green Applehome scent option.

Malicious Women Candle Co organic soy candle

If you need a little something to boost your spirit and your thought process early in the day, light up a vanilla and espresso organic soy candle from Malicious Women Co. while your coffee brews. This candle has a clever label and will make you smile from the first whiff until the soy burns to a full pool of delicious-smelling wax.

All-Natural Candle

All-Natural Candle by Malicious Women

  • 100% natural soy candle hand-poured in WA
  • fantastic espresso fragrance with hints of caramel and vanilla
  • no additives, zinc and lead-free cotton wick with paper core

You can expect up to 50 hours of burn time from this 9-ounce candle and a home fragrance that will energize you. The jar is reusable, but be sure and save the labels for their marvelous message of confidence and sass.

NEST Fragrances Classic Candle

The pretty jar featured by Nest New York offers a candle scented with birchwood pine, mush, and amber. If you love a walk in the woods but just can’t get out of the city right now, this scented candle will lift your mood and help you switch off a bit.

Nest Fragrances Birchwood Pine

Nest Fragrances Birchwood Pine

  • premium quality cosmetic-grade wax
  • beautiful custom glass container with gold leaf pattern
  • optimized fragrance diffusion with fantastic smell that last long

This 8-ounce candle is expected to burn for up to 60 hours and offers a beautiful flared cup with a yellow diamond pattern. Other products in their line include masculine scents like Moroccan Amber and fruity ones like Japanese Black Currant, so it is easy to find one that will display well in any setting bringing a wonderful scent into your home.

LAFCO New York House & Home Candle

The LAFCO line offers those who appreciate a customized scent with handblown glass. These beautiful candle jars are four inches tall and four inches in diameter. Each includes a candle that offers 90 hours of burn time. My favorite LAFCO New York House candle is the Beach House which includes the scents of lotus, beach grass, and amber.

LADCO New York Natural Luxury Candle

LADCO New York Natural Luxury Candle

  • clean-burning soy-based wax high-quality candle with 100% cotton wick
  • with natural essential oil fragrances for rich scent
  • fresh and airy natural fragrance that brings back your summer memories

It’s recommended that you burn this candle for at least two hours that let the whole surface pool so that you can enjoy the amazing airy and natural scent of seagrass, ocean, and sand in your home.

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