Those of you who have been to my house may be surprised to hear that I am a huge fan of scented candles and reed diffusers. The surprise factor is because the most over-powering scent by far in my home is our much loved but very stinky dog, Maisy.
Ironically as I write this she has just farted which highlights why I am so obsessed with finding a natural air freshener that works. I am sure you can imagine how distraught I was when I first made the discovery that the candles and reed diffusers which I had been buying were made with synthetic scents which are thought to be a key source of toxins in the home.
As if that wasn’t bad enough I went on to read that many of the candles sold commercially, and almost certainly the cheaper candles that I used to buy, are made from paraffin which is a by-product of petroleum. Paraffin candles are known to release chemicals such as benzene and toluene when they are burnt which are both carcinogens.
There seems to be some debate with regard to whether the levels released are high enough to put you at risk. I think that it would all depend on how often you burn them and what the ventilation is like in the room but I am not sure it is worth the risk if there is a natural alternative. Add to this the fact that paraffin needs to be bleached to make it look attractive and that some of the candle wicks used even contain lead and that’s a whole lot of additional and potentially harmful toxins ‘comin right atcha’ as you relax in the evening.
I am sure that you have already guessed that the bad news is going to keep coming as the same is true for a lot of air freshener products such as room sprays and plug-ins. Unless otherwise specified they are likely to be made with synthetic scents and yes, these also contain potentially harmful toxins.
When I was first reading up on all of this we were living in an NHS allocated flat in Bristol, the use of which I will be eternally grateful for, but boy did it smell fousty. One of the first things I did when we moved in was to buy a reed diffuser and some scented candles to try and mask the smell and yep you guessed it, they were the cheap and potentially toxic variety. So it was with a heavy heart that I stopped using them once we committed to reducing our chemical exposure and I tried to find natural alternatives whilst leaving the windows and doors open as much as possible to let some air in.
In my usual style, once the idea was cemented in my mind, I went on a mission to find natural alternatives to mask the not so nice smells in my home; and no siblings, I am not including myself as one of the ‘not so nice smells’.
I have found this the simplest way yet of naturally scenting the house. Simply light a tea light underneath and add a few drops of essential oil to some water on top and hey presto within moments you have a beautiful smell filling your home. Our oil burner has come courtesy of Amphora Aromatic and we have all loved trying their new ‘Energise‘ blend. It is amazing how much essential oils can ‘lift’ your mood. The only issue with our oil burner is that I need to buy some tea lights made with beeswax, soy or palm oil as I am pretty sure that our current ones are paraffin based.
Naturally Fragranced Candle
You can buy candles made from beeswax, soy or palm oil and scented with essential oils. The one that I have tried so far was nice but the smell was very subtle and certainly no match for wet dog. I didn’t explore naturally scented candles any further as I then discovered pure beeswax candles and I haven’t looked back since. They only have a very subtle smell but due to their magical air purifying properties that do seem to neutralise odours. I plan to cover air purifiers in a separate post to give them the justice they fully deserve so watch this space.
Naturally Fragranced Reed Diffuser
I think reed diffusers are my favourite way to scent the home but I haven’t yet cracked how to make my own natural version. It’s fun making your own blends with essential oils so it is something I am determined to conquer. As soon as I have perfected it, it will be coming your way via the blog. Obviously if you don’t want to make your own there are specialist shops now selling natural reed diffusers but they are quite expensive.
Orange spiked with cloves
This is amazingly simple and at Christmas it smells lovely. You just get a nice ripe orange and some cloves and simply spike the cloves into the orange. It gives a lovely smell for the first few hours but I have found that it doesn’t last for more than a day.
These jars go by a variety of different names but the ones I first came across were called Mason Jars. I have posted a photo here to show you the concept and how easy it is to do. You basically get a glass jar and fill it with the things to create your ‘scent’; the example in this one is sliced orange, cinnamon and cloves but there are loads of different combinations you can do. You then simply add water to the jar and seal it. When you are ready to use it you pour the mix into a pan and heat it on the stove, leaving it to simmer gently for a few hours. I found that it releases a lovely smell whilst the pan is simmering but that the scent didn’t last for long once the hob was turned off. You can re-use the mix if you store it in the fridge and they also look really lovely as presents if you seal the jar and ‘tart it up’ a bit.
The carpet deodoriser that I included within the natural cleaning recipes makes our home smell lovely on cleaning day. I like to use lavender or cinnamon as the essential oil.
I am going to cover this in a different post as otherwise you will be bored silly after I have gone on and on and on about how much I love beeswax candles and my Himalayan Salt Lamp. Hopefully for your sakes I will have calmed down a bit by the time it comes to writing that post! Just in case you need a little teaser, here is a photo of my new love!