Healthy and Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Scented Candles

candles burning in spite of eco-friendly alternatives to scented candles

Scented candles will never go out of style and purpose. In fact, it’s safe to say that in 2024, no home décor is complete without them. But while their pleasant smells and cool designs can add to the cozy ambiance you want at home, they can be a health hazard and environmental risk. Fret not! You can still nail your favorite home interior look (and favorite scent) thanks to this list of eco-friendly alternatives to scented candles.

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Renewable Wax Candles

a woman sniffing up a candle
Sustainable, renewable wax is an eco-friendly alternative to scented candles.

Many scented candles in today’s market use paraffin wax, a soft, colorless solid from petroleum. In one study, researchers found how burning paraffin wax releases dangerous chemicals, like toluene. In addition, candle burning emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could cause several health risks, such as cancer and central nervous system shutdown, while adding to the greenhouse effect as a harmful air pollutant.

But that doesn’t mean you should stop using candles entirely. Instead of paraffin-waxed candles, opt for scented candles using renewable wax, like soy, coconut, and beeswax. These natural waxes emit fewer smoke particles, purify the air, and less soot. In addition, they have subtle, calming, and longer-lasting fragrances.

Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers are one of the popular scented candle alternatives if you still want your home to smell fragrant for hours. Unlike scented candles, they offer a longer-lasting fragrance of four months to a year, depending on the size of the reed. In addition, they’re low-maintenance and only need refilling once the aroma dies down.

Reed diffusers are vase-like vessels filled with fragrance oil and thin reeds. The reeds soak up the fragrance until the oil reaches the visible tip. It then evaporates into the air and emits fragrance. Although there are many options, the best way to achieve consistent fragrance is with an authentic essential oil-based fragrance and natural reeds.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Natural essential oils play an important part in aromatherapy and other wellness trends. They offer numerous health benefits, like reducing stress, better sleep, and even clear sinuses. In addition, they can also help kill bacteria, funguses, and viruses when diffused into the air.

Due to these oils’ vast uses, using them with essential oil diffusers makes them a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to scented candles. But understanding which oil works best for you isn’t the only thing- it’s knowing what type of diffuser can provide you with the aroma and evaporation method is crucial.

Nebulizing Diffusers

These essential oil diffusers use jet nozzles to create a steam of pressurized air, which breaks down essential oils. Due to this process, they become tiny particles and are easier to release into the air like mist.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

Although ultrasonic diffusers turn essential oils into a fine mist, they have ultrasonic vibrations under water. This would then break up the oil into micro particles that are easier to disperse into the air.

a sea of scented candles
Sure, scented candles are pretty, but there are alternatives that are much better for the environment!

Heat Diffusers and Evaporative Diffusers

Heat and evaporative diffusers work by evaporating the essential oils into the air. The difference is that a heat diffuser makes the aroma more intense and could reduce the oil’s beneficial properties. An evaporative diffuser uses an airflow, which blows the oils through a filter, evaporating it faster without degrading its properties.

Room Mist

Room mists are one of the most convenient, healthiest, eco-friendly alternatives to scent candles. Although the scent disperses fast, it can offer your room a burst of fresh fragrance when you want to set a lazy but cozy ambiance while unwinding after a day’s work. Many room mists can also pair with reed diffusers for longer-lasting fragrances.

Wax Tarts, Melts, and Sachets

Wax tarts and melts are like traditional scented candles without the flame and VOCs. It uses wax warmers that slowly melt the materials in a small porcelain plate until gently diffusing the aroma inside the room.

Wax sachets, on the other hand, don’t need candle warmers. Unlike most alternatives, they offer a subtle fragrance and can only work well in small spaces or storage areas like cabinets and closets. In addition, people can customize them for a more unique decoration.


Despite many people’s presumptions, incense is one of the best alternatives to scented candles. Although they create smoke that might become an issue, incense burning doesn’t produce VOCs or other toxic chemicals. The only notable downside to using incense is buying high-quality options that could make them eco-friendly, as they make it using natural ingredients. Some of the best scents are frankincense and lavender, which have subtle fragrances.

Plug-in Air Freshener

Although air fresheners are convenient, their scents don’t last as long despite the large coverage they provide with each spritz. To solve that, get one or two plug-in air fresheners for your home. Plug it in every day to continuously spritz your chosen oil. They make perfect additions to bathrooms and other related rooms to keep the air fresh and clean.


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About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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