If you are like me, you love the ambiance that is created by burning candles, but most of us don’t think about how toxic store-bought candles can be and how they can harm our health and the health of our pets. Burning candles, particularly artificially scented candles, is particularly harmful, as according to an article in the Huffington Post, “certain candles may emit numerous types of potentially hazardous chemicals such as benzene and toluene, (a liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum) which can cause damage to the brain, lungs and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties.” Burning candles without additives like beeswax or vegetable-based candles may not emit any unwanted or harmful pollutants; however, the wicks can be harmful if they include zinc, tin or lead, which are standard compounds used in the composition of some wicks. In fact, burning candles with lead core wicks, which are still made in countries outside of North America, have been shown to cause lead poisoning. You can read more HERE.

Diffusing essential oils requires no flame or heat – only filtered or distilled water, some good organic essential oils and a diffuser. The diffuser distributes the oil molecules into the environment through the air, and when inhaled, they make contact with the nerves which carry them to the brain. You can use one or a combination of essential oils depending on what purpose you have in mind, like sleep, relaxation, calming, rejuvenation, relieving asthma symptoms, etc. Many diffusers have a light feature which glows either one color or a variety of colors when it is on. Choosing the right color mix can give the glow effect of candles, which creates ambiance without harmful chemicals or breathing problems. Voila!

Another bonus to using a diffuser is that the essential oils can help to clean the air in your home organically, and they work to combat mold microorganisms and increases atmospheric oxygen. Couple essential oil diffusion with a flock of house plants and you can create an oxygen-infused amazing smelling environment.

I have a large cat with chronic feline asthma, and I diffuse a lot of lavender, which helps him to breathe better and helps to keep his asthma attacks at bay. I sometimes add peppermint or frankincense which are both very complimentary for asthma as well. If you have a family member, child or pet with allergies, be careful about the quality of the essential oils you diffuse as well as the scents you choose, and only do so for a short time until you can gauge any adverse reaction. Poor quality essential oils can cause more harm than good if they are made with cheap or low-grade ingredients.

Maybe the diffuser doesn’t create enough ambience for you. If that is the case, I strongly advise that you invest in good quality electric candles in place of the traditional wax or soy candles. They are safer, they won’t harm humans or pets, and can create the exact kind of ambience or mood the wax or soy ones do. If you spend a few extra dollars you can get candles that will last a long time before a battery change is necessary; remember you get what you pay for.


Essential oils are highly concentrated, and if there is anything that you, a family member or a pet are allergic to such as a spice, food, flower or herb do not diffuse that thing because the potency of essential oils could cause a more severe reaction. Quality does matter significantly when purchasing essential oil products, and I strongly suggest that you purchase only high-quality organic products for ingestion, diffusing and flavoring anything you make to eat or to put into homemade products that you use on or in your body. Do your research before you buy, as different companies sell virtually the same products, but at vastly different prices and qualities. Make sure you know what you are getting, and that you know the company is reputable.

You can buy essential oil diffusers almost anywhere now, including at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Goods and even at your local health food or specialty store, and they vary wildly in price. I use smaller ones and have them in almost every room of my home, including the bathrooms.

Let us know if you use any of these methods in your home and how it works for you, or if you have any other suggestions for creating ambiance in your home.