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Cleaning the Indoor Air with Ionisation: Beeswax Candles: Do They Work?


According to the US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health in America. EPA also notes that “many chemicals present in indoor air environments have not been thoroughly tested and little is known about their long-term health effects”.

One ways to clean the air ionisation, through burning beeswax candles among other options.

So how does ionisation work? Does it work?

Ionisation is the process of negatively (or positively) charging atoms or molecules in the air, so that they are then attracted to oppositely charged particles.

The theory is that positively charged pollutants are attracted to the negatively charged ions, which eventually become too heavy to remain in the air and settle to the ground (or other surface) as dust. There is some evidence that ionisation does help air quality, and indeed it was reported to have completely eliminated airborne infections of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria acinetobacter in an intensive care ward in the UK.

Note though, that ionising does not mean the toxins have left your house, just your air. This is where vacuuming regularly using a HEPA filter is essential.

So can you really clean the air with Beeswax candles?

You know that paraffin candles are a source of indoor pollution, emitting benzene, toluene and ketones (and sometimes lead and mercury as well!). So obviously, don’t burn them in your home without good ventilation!

How burning beeswax candles may actually remove pollutants from the air. The burning beeswax is said to create negative ions in the air, which bond with the positively charged pollutants, causing them to be sucked back into the candle or to fall to the ground (see note above about vacuuming regularly!).

Does it work? Well, I could not find any studies demonstrating this effect, but there is certainly anecdotal evidence that burning beeswax candles can reduce allergies. For example, Lauren, from empowered sustenance, reports two stories of people who used beeswax candles to help reduce allergies. In one case a mother stocking up on candles explained that her son had terrible asthma that was always worse at night. “The other day,” she told Lauren, “I burned one of these candles in his room two hours before he went to bed. He had no asthma symptoms at all! Now we do this routine every night.”

Is this because of the negative ions supposedly released? I can’t say.

If you decide to try this out for yourself, be careful when you buy beeswax candles to make sure they are labelled 100% pure beeswax.

In the United States, to be labelled ‘pure’ a product must only contain 51% of the relevant ingredient. So “pure beeswax candles” may in fact be 49% toxic paraffin!

In United States you can buy 100% pure beeswax candles from www.Bcandle.com, which have the added advantage of being made from North America beeswax. You can also buy a selection of 100% beeswax candles on Amazon with free shipping US wide.

Avoiding buying candles which are scented, as these will be adding their own toxins back into the air.

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