Fragrance is one my favorite things in the world—a whiff of a certain perfume can take me to another time and place, the smell of fresh flowers reminds me of how exquisite it is to be able to smell, and a waft of bread baking in the oven provides instant comfort and warmth.
Thoughtfully selected home fragrance is among my fragrance is no different. Indeed, the way your home smells is a large part of its special signature—for you and your guests—that invisible embrace that’s intimately linked to the memories shared in your home.
Because home fragrance occupies such a large physical space, like a room or your entire home, it’s important to choose fragrances (and fragrance-emitting objects) that won’t put pollutants or toxins in the air.
An easy place to start is a soy candle. Conventional candles are typically made with paraffin wax blend. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, a fossil fuel and non-renewable resource. Although burning a paraffin wax candle may seem rather minor when compared to the many other ways we go through petroleum products, it’s still not doing the environment (or your lungs) any favors. You may have noticed the black soot on a candle jar left behind by a paraffin wax candle. This “black carbon” is the result of incomplete combustion of carbon molecules. Soy, on the other hand, burns cleaner and does not increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Soy is a renewable resource that’s also biodegradable. As a bonus, soy candles tend to burn longer than paraffin wax candles and their wax is much easier to clean up—a little soap and water will do the trick! (Just be sure to look out for sneaky soy-paraffin wax blends.)
Another thing you can do to keep your home smelling lovely without unwanted byproducts in your air is to watch out for synthetic fragrances, and opt for natural, essential oil blends instead. Whether you’re searching for the perfect candle, room spray, or reed diffuser, be sure to seek out 100% natural fragrances. By doing so, you’ll avoid a host of nasty chemicals that are commonly found in synthetic fragrances. The fragrance industry is protected by trade secret laws, meaning that they don’t have to fully disclose their ingredients, so we can never be sure exactly what goes into the ingredient labeled “perfume” on the back of a box or bottle. If this weren’t bad enough, we can probably assume that there are phthalates in synthetic fragrance, which are known hormone disruptors and suspected carcinogens. I would be lying if I said I never ever use synthetic fragrances, but for the majority of my fragrances needs, I try to stick to natural fragrances, which synthetic fragrances are just mimicking, after all!
In fact, natural fragrances can be rather complex and enticing when properly blended. One of my favorite ways to scent my apartment, create atmosphere, and relieve stress all at once is to use an essential oil diffuser. I love buying pre-made blends, like “Sleep” by Essence of Vali, a blend of lavender, cedar, marjoram, and ylang ylang, but you can also make your own blends! Here is a really cool guide to crafting your own essential oil blends. Although the little bottles of essential oil may seem a bit pricey, they really do last a long time. A diffuser only requires a few drops to scent a room for hours. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can whip up a DIY essential oil room spray or simple place a few drops of oil on the corner of a pillow. Here is helpful information on determining the quality of essential oils since not all essential oil brands are alike.
What are your favorite ways to naturally scent your home?