Throw Away Your Candles and Do This Instead

I have a love-hate relationship with candles. They’re so pretty. The little flames are so cozy. And, most of all, they can smell so good…peppermint, ginger, lavender–or my personal favorites: woodsy smells that make you feel like you’re staying in a cabin in a forest after a freshly fallen rain. I freaking love that smell!

But I hate candles too. And for good reason it turns out! In fact, everyone should hate candles! (Well, maybe hate is a bit extreme, but you’ll catch my drift if you keep reading–see, what I’m going to explain is very much backed by science.)

As much as I enjoy the smell of candles, they’ve always given me headaches. More like migraines actually. I light a candle, expecting to relish the aroma of sweet oranges mixed with bergamot and instead twenty minutes later I’ve put the candle out and I’m lying in bed groaning with a pillow over my face and my brain throbbing like it wants to escape my skull.

Over the years, I’ve done this ‘candle ritual’ countless times, each time hoping for a different result, and each time feeling icky. Partly because people keep giving me candles…it seems like candles are a generic gift people give when they don’t know what else to buy, and we all need to stop doing that!

Because candles can be dangerous.

Not because they might burn your house down (though they might) but because the vast majority of them are actually quite bad for your health and the health of your family–including the health of your pets. In fact, if you have birds, I really hope you already know the dangers of candles, because candles can cause serious health issues to birds.¹

We’ve all heard of the ‘canary in a coal mine.’ When a bird gets sick due to the air, the miners are supposed to leave the coal mine for their safety. Yet, even though candles make birds sick, people keep burning them.

Here are some of the downsides to candles:

  • They’re fire hazards
  • They produce soot that can stain your walls
  • They can trigger allergies and asthma
  • And candles SERIOUSLY compromise air quality.

While everyone knows candles are fire hazards, most of us don’t know just how badly candles can affect air quality.

Think about it. Fire basically vaporizes that candle you bought from the store, and then you breathe in the vapor: soot, volatile organic compounds, and all.

We think of food and water as the fuel for our bodies, but what we really need the most is air. You can go 30 days without food, 3 days without water, but you can’t go 30 minutes without air. And when you light a candle, you’re breathing in that candle, which might include nasty chemicals and toxins.

The vast majority of candles are made from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum². That’s right, most candles are actually made out of the same material that eventually goes into your car as gasoline and creates car exhaust. I think if people knew that, no one would willingly sit in their living room smelling a petroleum byproduct chemically scented to smell like lemons, no matter how good the synthetic lemon smell is.

As it stands, there is not just possible air quality damage from the paraffin wax in candles, which can release known carcinogens such as toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde into your breathing air³. The wonderful aromas of candles may also have negative health effects. Synthetic fragrances can contain something called phthalates, which have been associated with reproductive issues and hormonal imbalances⁴. These fragrances can also act as allergens or irritants, causing headaches, nausea, or other symptoms in sensitive individuals⁵ (like me!)

Even the candle holder might have a dangerous composition if it is made with a nonstick coating. Certain nonstick coatings can release toxic fumes when heated, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to various health problems, including kidney and liver disease⁶.

But who can deny? The scent of candles can be relaxing, atmospheric, and inviting.

Even with knowing all these potential health effects, many of us will still be tempted to light up candles because how else can we achieve the relaxing atmosphere of an enticing scent wafting through the air?

The answer is both very simple and relatively unknown.

If candles have such downsides, what can I use

In my opinion, the best alternative to candles is called AromaTru. AromaTru was invented by a man who’s been obsessed with improving air quality for himself and everyone around him ever since he was a kid with severe allergies.

Peter Spiegel is his name, and he is also the inventor of AirDoctor which is an affordable, trusted, and high quality air purifier that has been distributed at big box retail locations like Costco, Walmart, and Target throughout the nation for almost 20 years.

During his obsessive research on air quality, Peter came across these frightening facts about conventional candles I just shared with you, as well as the disquieting realization that even many aromatherapy products may pose risks.

Conventional aromatherapy diffusers use water, which makes them difficult to clean, and can lead to mold, which can compromise air quality⁷.

Another issue with aromatherapy is the quality of the essential oils used. During his quest to find the highest quality of essential oils, Peter realized that many essential oils on the market today can’t truly have the ingredients they claim they do – many of them are actually synthetically derived, which isn’t exactly great for your lungs. (Peter Explains this in the video below.)

Peter explaining his passion for air quality to Dr.Gundry (a renowned cardiologist, New York Times best-selling author, and medical researcher.)

Finding out all of these air quality issues with conventional scented products, Peter decided to invent the AromaTru diffuser, a unique essential oil diffuser that is mold resistant and along with it, developed a line of USDA organic oils that truly are what they say on the bottle.

And I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to do a write up reviewing AromaTru.

First Impression

My first impression when I received my AromaTru was, “Wow, this box is nice.” You know when a company sends you something in a nice box, it really just gives off a good impression. Normally, I’m the kind of person to just rip into packages when I receive them, but AromaTru’s box was just so delightful, I couldn’t. I opened it nicely, and was glad I did because as lovely as the outside of the box is, the inside is even better.

The AromaTru itself was heavier than it looks; it definitely doesn’t seem to be made of cheap materials.

It looks natural and minimalist and would fit well in any space. As a bonus, it also has a softly glowing color-changing light ring around it.

The oils themselves were also clearly high quality. They’re labeled USDA organic, which is a very difficult designation to get⁸ and indicates to me that a product is top quality and has obtained the 3rd party lab testing needed to be USDA ertified Organic.. A nice bonus is each oil says its country of origin, which is fun and lends to the feeling that these oils are truly exquisite quality.


I was really looking forward to putting AromaTru to the test, and was cautiously optimistic that unlike candles, it wouldn’t give me a headache.

To really put AromaTru through the ringer, I decided to test it in a place that often smells bad…

See, I often do my writing in an office that has a dog treat manufacturing facility in the back. And while it is fun to be able to get all the dog treats I want for my dog, it is not fun to smell dog treat manufacturing. Salmon days are bad, but liver days are the absolute worst. Liver dog treats smell absolutely gross to me and everyone else in the office.

As luck would have it, AromaTru arrived in time for me to test it while beef liver dog treats were being made in the next room.

Setting up AromaTru was simple and pretty much self-explanatory. It also comes with clear instructions. What’s really cool is you can diffuse multiple smells at once, and time how long each smell goes for a truly personalized aroma experience.

AromaTru has an absolutely vast library of smells to choose from, but I personally tested some of my favorite smells: lavender, lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

They all smelled absolutely lovely, and it was so delightful that I could set my AromaTru diffuser to do each scent one at a time or all of them together. After a few minutes of the aromas diffusing, I felt more relaxed.

What was absolutely shocking though, is how mixing the mint and eucalyptus aromas in particular affected me…I was only expecting it to simply smell good, but it actually made me feel good. I suddenly found myself breathing deeper and easier than I was before. Breathing in that mix of smells was a refreshingly, nostalgic feeling.

I had horrible asthma as a child and often had to use inhalers to loosen up my lungs. I don’t have asthma anymore, but the stark difference in my breathing after using the eucalyptus made me remember the relief I’d feel as a child when I used my inhaler.

The best I was hoping for when I ran the diffuser was to experience a pleasant smell without getting a headache… This benefit was WAY beyond my wildest expectations – and the total opposite of candles..

But I couldn’t help but think, maybe this bonus is simply a placebo, all in my mind, so I decided to do a little research.

Well, it turns out that there is actually research to back up my experience!⁹ A 2011 study showed that breathing in essential oils of peppermint and eucalyptus temporarily relieved the symptoms of people with upper respiratory tract infections.

Another great feature is that the unit atomizes the oils directly into the air. that means I didn’t have to mess around with putting oils into the water and then cleaning it out before it got moldy. No mess, no fuss, no mold. Wow!

But what do the reviews say?

A review of AromaTru wouldn’t be complete without including other people’s opinions in it. Here are some verified reviews:


Verified Purchase

Wow. I’ll be honest, it was tough at first to think this would be worth it compared to other options. But after pulling the trigger and owning for a while now, I have to say wow. Glad I got one. I don’t remember ever receiving so many compliments on how good my place smells now. And when I show them the unit, it’s usually nothing like they had in mind. Blends with most of furnishings when it’s not on which I really like. Easy to use too. I could write more but you get the idea. I don’t normally leave reviews (I know I should leave more) but just had to leave one on this.


Verified Purchase

I recently purchased this oil diffuser and have been extremely satisfied with its performance. The diffuser is easy to use and has a sleek design that fits in well with any home decor. The mist output is strong and consistent, effectively dispersing the essential oils throughout the room. I also appreciate the built-in timer and automatic shut-off feature, which adds an extra level of convenience and safety. Overall, I highly recommend this oil diffuser to anyone in the market for one.


Verified Purchase

I just assembled and started up this diffuser! It is very user friendly and I am already enjoying the wonderful, clean aroma in my home! There is no water used so no need to clean or worry about mold! I love that it has a light-that changes color and will definitely use it as a night light. I highly recommend this diffuser!

Not only are there some glowing reviews for AromaTru, the guys in the office with me agreed that it is very pleasant smelling and surprisingly relaxing.

How is AromaTru different?

To make it easiest to show you just how unique the AromaTru brand is, I decided to make a list of all the ways it is uniquely awesome:

  • Mold resistant
  • Easy set up and maintenance
  • True, pure USDA organic essential oils
  • 41 essential oil options with 4 built-in diffusers, which means it is possible to explore over 9,000 unique combinations!
  • With the built-in controls, you get to choose how strong you want the smells to be and how long to smell them
  • Long-lasting; compared to candles, one bottle of AromaTru oils might last for months (depending on frequency of use)
  • Aromatru doesn’t harm air quality
  • Optional app set up. Wake up to your favorite smells and come home to your favorite smells with no effort!
  • Elegant design
  • Makes a wonderful gift
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee


Now, for the big question: did AromaTru’s aromas manage to cover up the smell of liver dog treats being manufactured in the next room over?

Yes, it totally did.

To be totally unbiased though, I’ll admit there was one thing I don’t like about the AromaTru. Maybe it is just me, but I wish they sold a little shelving unit or container or something for me to store any extra essential oils in. I suspect I’ll be buying a lot more of their oils, and I wish I had a nice, organized way to store them. I’m big into having cute containers and I might have to search around for a bit to find the perfect one.

But overall, my verdict for AromaTru’s diffuser and their oils should be obvious by now: fantastic!

I would definitely recommend getting at least the diffuser (which works with oils even if they’re not from AromaTru), if not the oils too – because if you’re going to kick candles to the curb, you deserve to do it in style. Get AromaTru’s diffuser and oils for yourself or get it as a gift for any candle lovers in your life. It may seem like a luxury, but we all deserve cleaner air, fresh smells, and more relaxation in our hectic lives.

Check AromaTru Availability >>


Ben-Arye, E., Dudai, N., Eini, A., Torem, M., Schiff, E., & Rakover, Y. (2011). Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections in primary care: A randomized study using aromatic herbs. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc /articles/PMC2967840/

Feldman, B. (2020, April 10). 7 health issues caused by chemicals found in paraffin wax. Happy Wax. https://happywax.com/blogs/from-the-blog/7-health-issues-caused-by-paraffin-wax

Gross, L. (2020, August 25). This chemical can impair fertility, but it’s hard to avoid. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08 /25/parenting/fertility-pregnancy-phthalates-toxic-chemicals.html

Jean. (2021, May 17). Scented candles kill pet birds!. Bird Tails. https://birdtails.org/1995/09/01/scented-candles-kill-pet-birds/

Leigh Matthews, B. H. (2022, October 11). The problem with Teflon, PFOA and PTFE pans. LeafScore. https://www.leafscore.com/eco-friendly-kitchen-products/the-problem-with-teflon-and-other-non-stick-pots-and-pans/

Milnea. (2022, December 19). Worried if candles are toxic?. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-candles-bad-for-you/

Modern Farmer. (2018, October 16). 5 reasons getting USDA Organic Certification is really difficult. Modern Farmer. https://modernfarmer.com/2018/05 /5-reasons-getting-usda-organic-certification-is-really-difficult/

Mold in diffuser -causes, Cleaning & keeping it Mold Free. Mold Master. (2022, January 16). https://www.moldmaster.org/mold-in-diffuser/

Whitten, C. (n.d.). Candles: Health benefits, risks, and Safety Tips. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/ features/candles-health-benefits

AromaTru Diffuser

Check AromaTru Availability
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