Suggestions Please: Candles and Room Sprays

photoFirst off, the winner of the PureDistance White sample is MaggieCat. Please hit the contact us radio button and give us your shipping info and I’ll get it out to you.

Now here’s where I need some suggestions. I used to live in apartment that had windows on either end and that made for very good cross-ventilation. I was also an old (well, 50’s is old in Los Angeles) building and I never lit candles in it because it was an old wood structure that would probably go up like a matchstick if you even rubbed it hard enough. There was one time when AOL who had offices down the street plunged us into darkness for 24 hours and I was petrified one of my neighbors would pull an Ashley Greene and we’d go up like tinder. The bathroom also had windows as did the kitchen so any of the more unseemly odors didn’t linger (Although if I cooked something smoky it would set off the smoke detectors).

That and I was just convinced that I didn’t like candles. Maybe because my ex did, and practically anything he used to like I now don’t. (I know, bitter much? How do I stay single?)

Now I’m in a different place that has many advantages: a pool (which I never use), a gym (ditto), and central AC (which I told myself I’d never use, but have to great joy). The bad thing about it is that neither the kitchen nor the bathroom has windows, just incredibly ineffective fans. I hate the idea of Fabreze (although I admit I use it on occasion) and the orange oil stuff from Trader Joe’s is pretty ineffective. I did buy a bottle of Orchidée Impériale from Surrender to Chance, but it’s so lovely it seems like a waste to use it to try to cover up the smell of the Irv’s Burger I brought home.

As for the candles, I actually ended up winning two at two separate events: A Scent Bar Rhubarb Grass at one and a Hotel Costes at another. I was going to give them away but they both smelled so great I couldn’t bring myself to. (Cheap and greedy, too. How am I still single again?)

Then I finally decided to start using them.

I was told by someone that the best way to use a scented candle is to light it, let it for a decent puddle of melted wax, then put it out. This will make the scent waft over until the wax solidifies. So I have them on the counter of the little bar area and when I’m in the mood I’ll go light one, or both. I figure the worst that could happen if they tip over after they’re out is that I have to scrape wax off the formica.

So here’s my question to you: what do you recommend in the way of candles and air fresheners? Ones that are preferable less than the cost of a small diamond (I am shocked at what some places ask for wax) and one that keeps the chemicals to a minimum? Please share in the comments.

Photo of the fake candles my fire-phobic friend Terre gave me on groovy kitschy candlesticks my friend Kimberly gave me in my dining room. Photo taken by me, obviously.


  • tammy says:

    Candles are a huge passion of mine, so I could go on ad infinitum, but I will stick to a few Sure Thhings!

    I always recommend Votivo Red Currant to those looking for a good candle. Not overly expensive, and excellent quality. The empty container makes a great vase, or even a cocktail glass in a pinch!

    Pacifica is also a good brand and Persian Rose was mentioned above but they have lots of other great ones.

    DL&Co Opium Den is one of my favorites. It’s spendy and a bit heavy for this time of year but totally addictive!

    Also, you might try some incense… no fire risk, and the scent lingers longer. Japanses incense is awesome and not in the least bit headshop-ish. Mind you, I quite like headshop-ish incense, too, and Spiritual Journey is cheap and amazing. I also really, really, really love HEM Myrrh incense cones.

    Lastly, I have heard Febreze works by dulling your sense receptors, so I refuse to use it! (No idea if that’s true, but don’t plan on taking any chances)

  • Natalie says:

    With candles it is important to keep the wicks trimmed to a 1/4 inch So you don’t get smoking, let the wax pool out completely or you will get tunneling, and follow the candle makers recommend time for burning usually found on the box or label under the candle(burning too long can create off scents from the candle), and use a wick dipper or tweezers to extinguish so you don’t get smoking/soot and always think of safety first. You can look on Candles Off Main at their accessories page for the dipper and tweezers and they have videos on how to use them. I use a dipper and it works great and can be use to center a wick that has gone off center. Diptyque is great but will break the bank. I like Voluspa and Nest candles myself. Aura, Linnea’s Lights, and Paddywax have gear scents too.

  • Victoria says:

    I personally am obsessed with Soi Candles! They’re soy wax and I find that they really give off a nice scent.

  • mikasminion says:

    I’m partial to Illume, Voluspa, and Esteban candles with some of the Diptyques coming in second (they have discontinued most of my favorites, grrr). I think paying a bit more for a good candle can be very worthwhile and usually find myself tossing my impulse-purchased cheap ones.
    Another way I scent my home, even if it doesn’t last long, is with nicely fragranced cleaning products. I guarantee that my kitchen and bathroom countertops weren’t half as clean before I started using Caldera countertop cleaners. I love the Rosewater Driftwood, Ginger Pomelo, and Mandarin Vetiver and, since I have several spray bottles floating around, buy the all-purpose cleaner concentrate and mix with distilled water to keep my habit affordable.

  • Aaron B. says:

    I really love Method air fresheners as well. Also, Aromatique’s (I think that is how it’s spelled) is another great air freshener, which I found at Dillard’s and they do not contain CFCs. Also, I love Diptyque candles, Voluspa candles are great for the price and I also am known to stock up at BBW whenever I have a coupon. I am a big fan of Nag Champa incense from World Market as well.

    • Aaron B. says:

      Oh and I forgot to mention that I love going to Anthropologie for candles. Every candle I have picked up from that place has smelled wonderful and filled the room with fragrance!

      • mikasminion says:

        I have to second the Anthropologie suggestion. I usually find lots of candles on the sale tables if I can happen to catch a sale and they often have some interesting stuff. The Capri Blue candles are very fragrant even when unlit and are great if I need that fruity tropical feeling.

  • sandy921 says:

    On the inexpensive side, I really like Method’s air fresheners. They tend not to smell as fake-y. We are using the Beach Sage one right now and it’s not bad at all. I’ve found that the Mrs. Meyers air fresheners are too strong. Enjoy your quest!

  • Ashley A says:

    I would like to second the Frasier Fir by Thymes, and the Thymes candles are great in general. Very scent-y, but not overwhelming. I like the Rosewood Citron and the Mandarin Coriander for summer. Their diffuser oils are also really nice. I’m also a fan of the Root Seeking Balance line of candles. All soy, very gentle fragrances but still have an excellent ability to scent a room. I like the Rosemary Eucalyptus and the Juniper Rosewood the best.

    For incense, I like Blackbird for Catbird. Violet Hour and Nymph’s Woods are both wonderful.

  • Tatiana says:

    So many options for room scents. I got a small L’Artisan Amber ball. The scent didn’t last very long, but the ball is still a pretty objet d’art. For my small half bath I like the Diptyque hourglass diffusers. I live in earthquake country so I have it set on the floor behind the little cabinet where I store the extra toilet paper and guest towels. The scent on these lasts a long time and you can buy refills. I also like the idea that it’s not going to burn my house down. I like a lot of the Diptyque candles as well. Right now I’m really wanting a Fornasetti candle just for the container it comes in, but can’t justify the price.

  • Tiara says:

    If you want to scent the room, I have no suggestions as those are a no-go here (my husband is a no-scent kind of guy). However, if you simply want to get rid of an odor, try Ozium Air Sanitizer. The original scent is best (a bit medicinal) but that dissipates quickly along with the offensive smell. A medical office I worked in used it and it was quite effective. We had the large, industrial sized can but it’s also available in small, travel type sprayers.

  • KimB says:

    Try the L’Artisan La Boule d’Ambre – though it seems pricey even for the smallest size it lasts so well that I find it is great value for the money. It’s a terracotta ball with scent infused crystals inside that slowly release scent. Haven’t tried the new Lavender but I have the Ambre in my bathrooms – no spraying needed, just works and works. I love it and wait till there is a sale to get my refills.

    Huge fan of Voluspa candles – the price point is great for the quality.

  • Kathryn says:

    Papier d’Armenie incense papers, saturated with benzoin resin, work like a charm to remove odors. They’re quite inexpensive and smell great.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I use Slatkins candles that are sold in Bath and Body Works. Lilac blossom, fir basalm, and whatever apple (country, harvest, etc) they got going one.

  • elisa p says:

    I bought Le Labo’s Santal candle which was pricey but I only have to light it for like 20 minutes for it to fill a room. Even unlit it’s pretty potent and works to cover up smells from ours, but mostly our neighbor’s cooking that seeps in(I think they make their own Kimchi ). It’s lasted me for 2 1/2 years! I bought it after falling in love with smell of the Granary Park Hotel (apparently they use that scent there). I also like Voluspa Atelier Provence Lavande for bedroom and Acquiesce Santa Barbara for bathroom (a citusy /tea scent). I don’t use rooms sprays because of the kitties but Meyers Geranium cleaning products also do the trick.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Tom,
    You remember we bought Tommy Bahama candles out at the Enormous Sale Mall. They are lovely, can’t believe how nice for $8!
    L’Occitane also has some very pretty ones, we just finished the Verbena one and next on the list is Néroli & Orchidée 30 hour candle. It’s sitting there awaiting a match right now.
    MUD Australia now has a candle range that my mate Ainslie created for them. They come in a lovely porcelain re-usable jar and you can buy refills. A little pricey here at AUD$100 but you get over 80 hours burn and they smell incredible. MUD Australia have opened stores in the USA recently too.
    Portia xx

  • ROBERTO says:

    The best DIPTYQUE

  • Dina C. says:

    Whenever the subject of scented candles comes up, I have a couple of favorites I always mention. Thymes Fraser Fir is absolutely amazing. Not just at Christmas time, but any time you’re in the mood for feeling like you’re walking through the woods up north. This is nothing like those horrible pine shaped air freshener cardboards that dangle from the rear view mirror! Another big favorite is Pacifica’s Persian Rose. This blend of rose and myrrh smells super expensive and lux, even though it’s very affordable. It reminds me of Eau D’Italie’s Paestum Rose, but with a brighter citrus topnote. I like to burn small votive candles in my kitchen; I don’t use sprays. Finally, I have a large Prada Infusion d’Iris candle that scents the room that it lives in. Even unlit, it has a gentle projection of wonderful iris & incense. I found it at a discounter for a good price.

    • Ann says:

      Seconding lovely Dina on the Thymes Fraser Fir — very crisp and refreshing!

    • tammy says:

      Persian Rose is one of my faves, if not The One. They discontinued it awhile back and I panicked and hunted down…more than I am willing to admit. Thankfully, they brought it back, but I don’t regret my panic-buy one iota.