Safer Substitutes for Candles

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Candles bring a warm radiance to a room along with the soft smell of burning wax and sweet scents. Of course, they can also set fire to things, and some of the artificial ingredients they release into the air may not be so great for your lungs. Rather than take your chances with wicks and flames and heat, consider these alternatives that have much of the upside of candles without the downside.

Go Electric

An electric candolier or battery-powered tea lights look like flickering candles with no matches required. You can also do some scene-setting with a string of the same sort of tiny lights you’d wrap around a Christmas tree. Twine them around a bottle, gather them in a clear vase, scatter them across a table, or drape them along a wall or windowsill.

Make Scents

The fragrant features of a candle can be reproduced with incense, potpourri, or a scented oil diffuser. Fresh flowers are a less fiery way to make a room smell sweet. Get your spicy scents by baking gingersnaps or pumpkin bread instead of burning a cinnamon candle, and your sense of taste will be delighted too. Even a dab of perfume on a lightbulb can add an aromatic aura.

Opt for Organic

If you’re determined to have some candlelight in your life, you may not be able to do anything about the potential fire hazard, but you can make the experience a little safer by avoiding synthetic waxes and scents. All-natural options made with things like soy wax, beeswax, and essential oils—all with a cotton wick instead of a lead one—can give you the comfort of knowing that you’re not breathing in toxic fumes.

Whether you choose to burn your candle at one end or blow it out in favor of something flame-free, dim the lights and enjoy that peaceful glow.

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