How To Make Your Candles Smell Without Essential Oils

Making scented candles is my favorite pastime, and I love the soothing smell of a well-scented candle. But essential oils can be toxic to pets as well as very expensive. So, how can you make your candles smell without essential oils?

To make a scented candle without using essential oils, use beeswax. Beeswax has a distinctive natural scent. You can also use the following in place of essential oils when making scented candles:

  • Fragrance Oils
  • Herbs
  • Dried flowers
  • Teabags
  • Vanilla Extract

The following essential oils are reportedly dangerous to your pets’ health:

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Sweet Birch
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Tea Tree
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang Ylang

While the jury is still out on whether scented candles release enough of these oils to impact your pet’s health negatively, many pet owners would rather avoid burning candles with essential oils. 

Additionally, essential oils can be the most expensive ingredient you use in your candle. They also don’t always react well to heat, resulting in candles with poor scent throw. A final complaint of essential oils is that they are not environmentally sustainable.

Whatever your reason for avoiding them, fortunately, there are lots of ways you can make scented candles without using essential oils.

Use Fragrance Oils Instead!

What are essential oils anyway? Essential oils are made from concentrated plant-based materials. This sounds healthy, and in many cases, there are, but they are still chemical compounds that can be dangerous in their highly concentrated form.

How are Fragrance Oils Different?

How To Make Your Candles Smell Without Essential Oils

On the other hand, fragrance oils are synthetic, so they are made in a lab. While they may be infused with essential oils, they can be safer because they have been thoroughly tested and approved for use. 

They are also less expensive and more environmentally sustainable than essential oils because they use fewer natural materials to achieve the same effect.

Finally, fragrance oils are often explicitly formulated for candle-making, making them more effective to make your candles smell stronger. 

What are the Best Fragrance Oils?

Make sure you buy fragrance oils that have been approved for use in candles. I typically purchase mine from Candle Science, which has phthalate-free oils that have passed international standards for safe use.

Here are some of my favorite fragrance oils sold on Candle Science:

  • Apricot Grove
  • Rose Petal Gelato
  • Coconut Soleil
  • Sea Mist
  • White Eucalyptus

Use Herbs Instead!

While you may have already heard about using fragrance oils in scented candles, did you know you can also use herbs?

Best Herbs to Use in Scented Candles

Here are some herbs you can use when making scented candles. 

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon

You can experiment with other herbs as well. Since they are not as concentrated as essential oils or as effective as fragrance oils, they will not create as strong a smell, but they will be easier on your budget and your pets.

How to Use Herbs in Your Candles

The best way to use herbs in your candles is to chop them into very fine pieces and thoroughly mix them into your liquid wax before pouring your candle. This will also add a visible aspect and texture to your candles, making them even more enjoyable.

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Use Dried Flowers Instead!

As with herbs, you can also use dried flowers to make scented candles. Sometimes known as botanical candles, candles made with flowers have a stunning visual and scented aspect. 

Best Dried Flowers for Scented Candles

I have used the following dried flowers in my candles with good results:

  • Lily of the Valley
  • Roses
  • Peony
  • Freesia
  • Tulip
  • Jasmine

To add dried flowers to scented candles, you need to cut them into small pieces. Then you mix them with the hot wax, just as you would if you were using herbs.

A note about using dried flowers in candles: make sure you always conduct burn tests on these candles before selling them or giving them away as gifts. Since you added a foreign material to your candle wax, you need to make sure that the candles do not create excess soot or throw out sparks.

If you are making scented candles with dried flowers for the first time, try this recipe by Hungarican Journey. 

Use Teabags Instead!

Did you know you can make candles with teabags? And I don’t mean tea candles, as in small votive candles; I mean scented candles made with real tea. 

How to Use Teabags to Make Candles

How To Make Your Candles Smell Without Essential Oils

You can only use loose-leaf tea in candle making, so you should either buy it that way, or you can cut open a bag of tea to use in your tea-infused candle.

You can use any type of your favorite tea in candles: black tea, green tea, and even delicate white teas.

To make tea-infused candles, you will first need to soak the tea in oil. Simple cooking oil works best for this. Tea-infused wax is ideal for crackling candles. Crackle candles are container candles with wooden wicks that “crackle” as they burn, turning your candle into your own mini fireplace.  

Martha Stewart Living has an excellent recipe for tea-infused candles that you should try. 

Use Vanilla Extract Instead!

Want to make scented candles but out of fragrance oils? Look no further than your kitchen cabinet, which probably already has what you need to make your next scented candle.

Vanilla extract can help you create an awesome scented candle that will have your whole house smelling like a French cafe. When used in candles, vanilla extract has a light smell that even people who have allergies to fragrances can learn to love.

How to Use Vanilla Extract in a Candle

You must be careful when working with vanilla extract since it contains alcohol. Mixing too much with the hot wax can cause a flammable nightmare. 

You can use this recipe that combines vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cloves to make an inexpensive, great-smelling candle. 

This recipe works well, but the one thing I would caution against is using the aluminum can instead of a pouring pitcher to mix the wax. While this might seem like a great way to recycle used materials, using a vessel with a spout is better to smoothly pour your candle without burning yourself.

Don’t Forget Beeswax Candles!

How To Make Your Candles Smell Without Essential Oils

I saved the best tip for last. With beeswax, you don’t have to use any fragrance at all. Beeswax has a beautiful natural smell, which reminds me of warm and sweet honey.

Why Use Beeswax?

For one thing, beeswax is one of the oldest waxes used in candle making. Beeswax is expensive, so I don’t use it for everyday candles. But whenever there’s a special occasion like my husband’s birthday or a friend’s wedding, I always break out the beeswax.

Beeswax is clean, natural, and is often used in medicinal and spiritual candles. 

My Extra Special Beeswax Candle Recipe

This is the most straightforward scented candle recipe you’ll find anywhere.

First, you need to buy the right beeswax. Beeswax usually comes in large blocks that look like bars of yellow soap. I prefer to use pearled beeswax for making candles because it tends to melt better. 

When using a bar of beeswax, you can carve it into flakes yourself with a cheese grater, but this is an arduous process. If you try to melt the entire block, you will inevitably find a large chunk of beeswax that did not dissolve properly when you pour your candle.

Next, you need wicks. I found hemp wicks pair well with beeswax candles. Hemp wicks are all-natural and burn beeswax well smoothly. As an alternative, I sometimes use wooden wicks in my beeswax.

Cut the hemp wick so that it is about an inch taller than the upper lip of the candle container. Secure it with a wick tab to the center of the inside bottom of the candle. Once the wick is in place, use a clothespin to hold the wick upright, so it does not get pulled down when you pour your candle. It should look something like this.

Heat your beeswax to 155 degrees Fahrenheit (68 degrees Celsius) using a double boiler system. Pour the beeswax. Once the candle hardens, you can remove the clothespin, but a beeswax candle should cure for ten days before using it.

And, Voilà! Now you have an awesome scented candle without any essential oils or added fragrance!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I make my scented candles smell even longer?

When you are finished burning your candle, and it has cooled, make sure you replace the lid on your candle. Covering your scented candles when not used helps prevent their scent from dissipating.

Why is beeswax so expensive?

One of the reasons it is expensive is that there is a high demand for bee products, like wax and honey, and harvesting these can be resource-intensive. Beeswax is one of the longest burning waxes, however, so your beeswax candles will tend to last longer. 

Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.