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Why We Burn Clean

Why clean-burning candles, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple, really: you breathe what you burn. That means every time you light a candle, you could be breathing all kinds of toxins and carcinogens, which, let’s be honest, is a big no-no. Everything you put in, on, and near your body should be safe, so while you enjoy it in the present, you’re not worrying about the consequences in the future (think: not wearing sunscreen and then paying for it with sunspots and pre-mature wrinkles later on). 

So, what makes a candle clean-burning? The absence of phthalates, paraffin, parabens, sulfates, and even bleached wicks, to name a few. It’s easy to read through a list of ingredients and skim over the majority of it, especially if you don’t know what something is. At TSL, we want to make sure that we keep our customers informed so that you can make safe choices for yourselves and understand the steps we take to protect your health, which is what this post is all about. Think of today’s reading as Bill Nye breaking down the “dirty list” for your candles. And if you want to imagine Bill’s voice as you read, we support that, too. 


Phthalates are actually different types of plastics that are used to increase products’ flexibility. While there is currently mostly inconclusive data on the health effects of phthalates and whether they pose significant harm to people, we believe in taking the “better safe than sorry” approach when it comes to our candles. It’s widely accepted that heating many plastics — especially ones that melt — can release harmful carcinogens into the air, and since candles melt, we thought it best to exclude phthalates from our ingredient list. 


Paraffin is made from petroleum, also known as crude oil, which is what gasoline is derived from. Paraffin wax is used in many candles and beauty products, even though it can be an irritant to both the skin and eyes. What you might not realize, though, is paraffin oil is also a common accelerant used for outdoor grills and generally goes by the name of kerosene. The use of paraffin often means you’re also using stearic acid, a byproduct of the meatpacking industry, in order to make the substance harden. We leave paraffin out not only to protect your lungs, but to avoid participating in any non-environmentally friendly activities. 


Parabens are a family of chemicals that are often used as preservatives, especially in cosmetics. While most products contain safe amounts of parabens, as people buy, use, and even eat, products with parabens, the chemicals can add up, leading to too much for the human body to safely handle. An overload of parabens is linked to reproductive toxicity and an increased risk of breast cancer. As if that all isn’t reason enough, parabens were introduced in the 1950s. Considering it’s been a solid 70 years since then, we think it’s safe to move on to better (and safer) things.


Sulfates, sometimes listed as SLS or SLES, are often found in soaps, detergents, and toothpastes. While there is no direct link to sulfates causing any type of long-term health problems, they can make life less comfortable. For many people, the use of products with sulfates can cause irritation to your eyes, skin, and after long periods of time, your lungs. When you burn a candle, we want every part of the experience to be pleasurable and without side effects — there are enough people and things that are already irritating, so why add another if you don’t have to? 

Bleached Wicks

We’ll keep this one short and sweet: breathing in bleach is generally frowned upon in the health community. Bleached wicks usually mean that other potentially-harmful chemicals are present, too. So when you burn your wick, you’re releasing a whole lot of chemicals into the air that aren’t even doing anything to make your candle experience more enjoyable. We choose to keep our wicks au naturale so that your lungs and the environment aren’t exposed to those pesky chemicals that can cause far more harm than good.