What are Unscented Candles?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Unscented candles are candles which have been produced without the addition of a scent. Paraffin and soy wax can both be used as plain bases for unscented candles. Many stores stock unscented candles, and it is also possible to buy block unscented wax for candlemaking at home. For people with environmental sensitivities, unscented candles are preferable to scented candles, and other people like to use plain candles so that the candles do not distract from the surroundings.

Unscented candles.
Unscented candles.

Any candle size and shape can be produced in an unscented version, from tealight candles to towering pillars, with both molded and dipped candles available without scent. Many unscented candles are also white, with the wax being left uncolored, although it is also possible to dye wax for colored unscented candles. Multi-colored molded and dipped candles, twisted candles, and a wide variety of other candle designs can be presented in scent-free versions.

An unscented candle.
An unscented candle.

There are a variety of reasons to choose to use unscented candles. Some people are sensitive to scents and perfumes, and they find scented candles unpleasant. The scents may cause headaches, breathing difficulties, or other problems. For the comfort of people with environmental sensitivities to scent, unscented candles may be used for entertaining large groups, to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time.

Unscented candles may also be preferable in an environment where large numbers of scents are already present, to prevent the smells from fighting with each other in the nose. Evening garden parties and dinner parties, for example, may be decorated with unscented candles. These candles are also commonly used in emergencies, where people want light without the distinctive aroma of unscented candles. Candles without scent tend to be less expensive than scented candles, making them preferable for use as emergency candles since they can be purchased cheaply.

For long-term storage, unscented candles have another significant advantage: they do not “bleed” scent into their surroundings or into neighboring candles. Scented candles tend to seep scent, which can result in an unexpectedly aromatic storage drawer, cupboard, or box if the candles are allowed to sit for a long time. The scent may also start to become cloying or noxious.

For crafters who like to engage in candle making at home, unscented candles are often a good starter project, since they are very basic and easy to make. Once crafters get familiar with working with wax, they can start adding colors to their base waxes for colored candles, and graduate up to using essential oils for scents.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@wavy58 – If you don't mind plain shapes, you can buy bulk unscented candles that float for much less money. I have discovered that tea light candles float just as well as those marketed for this, and you can buy a huge bag of them for very little money.

I am afraid of the dark, so if my electricity ever goes out during a storm, I get a glass bowl full of water and plop about four tea lights on top. I light them, and they burn for about three or four hours before going out, and by that time, I am sound asleep.

I used to buy fancy floating candles, but after finding out that the cheap ones float, I stopped. My little unscented tea lights do the job just fine.


I like burning unscented floating candles. I love seeing the reflection of the flame on the water, and I really love the fact that they don't stink up a room.

To me, most candle scents are just too powerful. They slam your nose, rather than putting a subtle hint of something in the air.

I buy unscented floating candles in the shape of flowers. They are a little more expensive than regular candles, and they don't burn for very long, but the effect they produce is worth the money.


I have seen several kinds of unscented pillar candles, and I have noticed that the ones without scent are usually very decorative to make up for the lack of aroma. In fact, I rarely see a decorative candle that has any sort of scent.

My cousin got me a super fancy candle as a graduation gift. It is tall, and it looks like a fancy cake with tiers and frosting. It is black, purple, and white, and I probably will never burn it, because that would destroy the design.

Another of my favorite unscented candles is yellow and twisted. It is covered in what looks like a net of white rope. It looks like a pillar candle that someone twisted in one direction while it was still soft.


I work with a lady who is very sensitive to perfumes, flowers, and any type of scented spray or candle. So, when we have our Christmas party every year, we burn unscented jar candles to keep her happy.

We all meet at the house of a coworker, and she has the lights dimmed and several unscented jar candles burning throughout the house. She likes to burn red and green candles during the holidays, and she also has a row of white candles burning on the mantel.

It creates a nice, relaxing mood without overwhelming the nose. Personally, I would rather smell the food there than some sort of perfume, anyway.

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