Does Burning a Candle Eliminate Odor? (and How to Choose)

An old garbage can, a cat litter box, or dirty laundry are just a few of the things that can cause undesirable odors in your house. If you have guests that are just about to arrive, these smells can be a great source of embarrassment, so you’ll naturally want your house to smell clean and fresh. In a pinch, you may be wondering if you can use a candle to get rid of odors.

Normal candles on their own cannot get rid of odors. Scented candles produce pleasant fragrances, but these simply cover up already existing smells. However, some types of candles are specially designed to eliminate odors, which will keep your house smelling wonderful.

If you want to learn helpful tips about which kinds of candles will eliminate unwanted odors in your house, as well as which scented candles will smell the best in your home, read on to find out more. Read our full review about Best Odor Eliminating Candles here.

Does Burning a Candle Eliminate Odor

Do Candles Eliminate Odors?

Many people enjoy burning candles to provide a cozy atmosphere, romantic lighting, and pleasant smells. Today, you can buy thousands of different scented candles, ranging from floral scents to delicious baked goods.

You may think a candle that smells like cupcakes is sure to remove any unpleasant odors from your house.

However, this isn’t always the case. In reality, the answer to whether or not burning a candle will eliminate odors is a bit more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”

The most common types of candles you can buy are made from either paraffin wax or vegetable wax. Paraffin wax candles are easier to find, and they are also much cheaper than vegetable wax candles.

However, these candles are made from crude oils which, when burned, produce harmful chemicals known as benzene gas and toluene. While we still don’t know exactly what health issues these chemicals can cause, they can possibly lead to cancer, along with other serious health conditions.

Furthermore, paraffin wax candles fail to actually eliminate odors. Rather, they will simply produce new smells which can help to cover up the bad ones.

If you want to get rid of bad odors entirely, it’s best to use vegetable wax candles instead. These candles are made from natural and safe ingredients, and while they are a bit more expensive and difficult to find, they are well worth it in the long run.

Not only are vegetable wax candles less dangerous, but they also help to neutralize bad odors. While it may take a little while to truly eliminate bad odors, it is far better than simply masking any unwanted smells.

How Do Vegetable Wax Candles Eliminate Odors?

Candles made from vegetable wax produce negatively charged ions when they burn. On the flipside, odors in your house attach to positively charged oxygen ions.

By burning a vegetable wax candle, these negatively charged ions will neutralize the positively charged ions, thus eliminating any odors.

You can help speed up the process of odor elimination by making sure your home is well ventilated. In the warmer months, you can open up a window to bring in a fresh breeze. After all, a few candles will have to work very hard to purify every air molecule in your home.

Furthermore, you should do your research before buying any new candles. Some companies may claim to use “all-natural ingredients,” but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are made from vegetable wax.

Should You Use Paraffin Wax Candles?

In a pinch, paraffin wax candles can help to mask bad scents, but this method should only be used sparingly.

As we mentioned earlier, paraffin wax candles have been linked to increased health risks, so to keep you, your family, and your guests safe, using vegetable wax candles is usually the best bet.

Still, in an emergency, you might want to use a paraffin wax candle to mask a bad odor for a short time. While this is not a long-term solution, it can be helpful if you have surprise guests coming over.

Just keep in mind that a paraffin wax candle will do nothing to eliminate any odors; it will simply cover them up with whatever scent the candle is producing.

How Many Candles You Should Use?

When using odor-eliminating candles, you’ll likely be tempted to burn as many candles as possible. However, this is not a good idea.

Too many candles will produce an overpowering smell, and they will likely make you feel sick. Some people are more sensitive to candles than others, and if you have guests over, you might accidentally give them a headache without even knowing it.

It’s usually best to only use one candle in a room, or maybe two if it’s an especially large space. You should never use more than two candles per room, as the scent will quickly become overwhelming.

Choosing the Right Scent

While you can use odorless candles made from vegetable wax to get rid of bad smells, scented candles are an excellent way to both neutralize odors as well as provide a tantalizing smell for your home.

While you may be tempted to fill your home with all sorts of scented candles, you should be careful about which scents you choose. Certain combinations can be a bit odd, especially in specific rooms. For example, it can be weird for a bathroom to smell like apple pie or cookies.

Here are a couple of tips to help you get started choosing the right candle scent for your home.

Tip 1: Choosing a Scent Based on Room

Every room of your home is meant to evoke a different mood or emotion, and whatever scents you are using should match that. Scented candles are perfect for creating a wonderful ambiance, but if used incorrectly, they can send the wrong message.

Candles aren’t always necessary in the kitchen, as most people prefer to let naturally cooking and baking smells infuse into the room.

However, if you want to use a candle in the kitchen, you should opt for something food scented. Baked goods, such as pie, cookies, and cupcakes are always a good scent option, and these smells can evoke childhood nostalgia, as well.

In the bathroom, floral scents like rose or hibiscus are an excellent way to neutralize any odors. Because bathrooms are smaller, it’s usually best to only keep one candle lit at a time, and you should also keep a window open, if possible.

Your living room should feel cozy and warm, so scents like vanilla bean or sandalwood are both great choices.

Finally, the bedroom should be a space for relaxation and a good night’s sleep. Lavender is one of the best scented candles to keep in a bedroom because it can help you fall asleep quickly, and the lingering scent will keep you nice and relaxed throughout the night.

Tip 2: Choosing a Scent Based on Season

Whatever scented candles you choose to light should also blend well with whatever season you’re in. This will help to neutralize odors as well as make your home complement the weather and mood of the month.

In the spring and summer, floral and fruity scents are always a good idea. Keep these scents light and breezy, as powerfully scented candles can make the room feel hot and stuffy when it’s warm out.

In the fall, there are dozens of scent options, including cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and maple.

Finally, in the winter, you should opt for scents that produce a cozy atmosphere, such as peppermint, gingerbread, and bayberry.

How Long Should I Keep My Candles Lit?

To keep bad odors neutralized, you can keep your candles lit for as long as you like, but only if you are still awake and in the house while they are burning.

You should never leave a candle lit overnight, even if you want to keep your house smelling clean 24/7. Candles that are left unsupervised can easily lead to a fire, especially if they are left near hanging curtains and fabrics, or any other flammable material.

Final Thoughts

We all want our homes to smell clean and fresh, especially if there are guests over. Unfortunately, odors caused by pets, cigarettes, and garbage can all make your home smell less than pleasant.

While the fragrant scents produced by candles might seem to eliminate odors, you should be careful about which candles you choose.

Cheap candles made from paraffin wax will do nothing to eliminate the odors in your home; instead, they will merely mask any unpleasant smells.

If you truly want to neutralize the odors in your home, your best option is to use candles made from vegetable wax.

These all-natural candles are not only safer for you and your family, but they also neutralize odors when they are lit. While vegetable wax candles are a bit more expensive than candles made from paraffin wax, they are well worth it in the long run.

By keeping the tips from this article in mind, you can keep your home smelling clean and wonderful all year long.

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Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

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