Are Scented Candles Bad for House Plants?

Scented candles are great for creating a relaxing and pleasant environment and are used by hundreds of thousands of people every day. While they aren’t harmful to us, they can be harmful to our house plants. If you just started using these candles in your home and have started seeing your plants turning brown, then the reason may be the candles.

But, are all candles bad for house plants? No, they aren’t. High-quality candles made by reputed manufacturers won’t damage house plants the same way that low-quality ones do as long as you have proper ventilation inside.

Let’s take a look at how scented candles affect the health of house plants and the measures that you can take to minimize the damage. Do note that the most efficient way will of course be to not have candles burning near your plants. But if you love using scented candles, then there are a few ways in which you can have both.

Are Candles Bad for House Plants?

Are Scented Candles Bad for House Plants

The fumes from low-quality scented candles can directly affect the health of your house plants. A high-quality one, however, may not pose the same amount of danger but the soot particles will always create an issue. One way to minimize the damage is to make sure that the room is well ventilated.

So, as long as you keep your windows open and there is a constant flow of air through the room, you shouldn’t be having any problems. Additionally, if you have an air filter, you can turn it ON too to ensure that the soot won’t affect your plants.

Apart from the above, there are other ways in which you can reduce the amount of soot produced by your candle. Soot is generated due to the forced flow of the flame or when the wick is more than 10 to 15 millimeters long.

So, if you ensure that there is no strong wind around the candle and the wick is trimmed properly, the amount of soot generated will be less. Another thing you can do is to make sure that you never use narrow containers as they constrict the flow of the air and make the candles flicker.

Minimize Soot When Extinguishing the Candle

Soot can harm your plants not only when the candle is ON but also when you extinguish your candle. Here are some tips on how you can minimize the amount of soot when extinguishing your candle.

  • Never extinguish the candle by cutting off the oxygen supply through the use of an inverted cup over the flame. This generates a lot of soot.
  • Cut the tip of the wick to minimize the amount of amber created on it. Amber is responsible for producing soot and so by minimizing it, there would be less soot produced.
  • Extinguish the candle by dipping the wick into the candle. The melted wax will extinguish the fire and therefore very less soot will be produced.
  • Blow the candle next to an open window so that the soot can escape out.
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It is important to note that the above steps will be most efficient only when the candle is of high quality. Low-quality candles sometimes come with lead and can be very harmful to both you and your plants. So whenever you buy a candle, make sure that it is made by a reputed manufacturer and look at the ingredients properly.

What to Look for When Buying Candles?

Whenever you are looking to buy candles, there are two things you need to look for. They are the type of wax and wick used.

  • Wax – Paraffin is the most commonly used wax in candles. However, it is a waste product of petroleum and releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. Do note that the amount of these chemicals released isn’t enough to damage your health but over time, it may lead to health consequences especially if you have bad ventilation in your home. Therefore, a safer alternative would be beeswax or any plant-based wax.
  • Wick – Candle wicks are supposed to be either paper or cotton. However, many candles use lead in their wicks which can be dangerous for your health. Even though it is illegal to have lead in wicks, a lot of candles still come with such wicks. Most of these products come from countries such as China and Taiwan, so always buy a high-quality candle from a reputed manufacturer.

Toxic Chemicals in Cheap Candles

Two chemicals found in cheap candles that can damage your health over time are Benzene and Toluene. The former is commonly found in oils as well as paints and can lead to severe health consequences in large doses. The latter is produced from soot and can negatively affect your central nervous system.

Some cheap candles may also contain materials that you may be allergic to. So, when you buy candles, make sure you buy only high-quality ones that use natural plant-based wax and cotton wicks.

Some of the options you should consider when it comes to the wax in candles are:

  • Coconut Wax – It uses hydrogenated, refined coconut oil with natural vegetable waxes to create a slow-burning wax that is made of only natural materials.
  • Beeswax – It is a natural wax produced by bees. Candles made out of beeswax tend to burn longer and brighter too.
  • Soy Wax – This wax is processed from soybean oil. Soy wax has a lower melting point than traditional wax. However, with the help of additives, the melting temperature can be increased.
  • Palm Wax – While this is an all-natural wax, there have been many issues regarding its environmental impact. Due to this, you need to make sure that the ones you are planning to buy weren’t made at the cost of deforestation.5)     
  • Vegetable Wax – Vegetable waxes are superior to mineral waxes when it comes to a clean burn as well as fragrant aromas. They are made from renewable resources and are devoid of petroleum products.


If you’re worried about your house plants, take the time to make sure the candles you are using won’t harm them. Some candles are more toxic then others. When burning any candle, it’s always a good idea to have good airflow to allow smoke and chemicals to leave them room and fresh air to come in.

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