Citronellas candles? We’ve all seen tiki torches filled with citronella at summer barbecues, and citronella candles on porches. Does that mean you have to burn citronella outdoors? Is it safe to use in enclosed spaces? While you certainly wouldn’t take a torch inside, it seems like a candle should be fine. Sadly, the size of the open flame isn’t the only issue. It might surprise you to learn that some candles need a lot more ventilation than others. Getting rid of mosquitoes is essential to your health, but not at the risk of causing other health problems. I’ll explain why you might want to skip the indoor citronella this mosquito season and help you find some safer alternatives. Before you light anything, especially around kids or pets, get the facts. Plus, that same nasty smell that drives off insects can easily permeate your house. Hence, it’s not worth all the cleanup later.
Can you burn citronella candles in the house? You cannot burn citronella candles in the house. Citronella in any form is not especially clean-burning, so the odor isn’t exactly going to leave your living room smelling like roses. Too much citronella could even make you or your loved ones sick.
Citronella Candle Facts
Most people choose citronella candles for their purported mosquito fighting qualities. It makes sense that you’d want to use them indoors, but please don’t do that. If you’re going to sit in the yard, it is safer to burn citronella, but I still wouldn’t recommend it.
The smell of burning citronella is a low-key part of many pleasant summer memories, and it might make you happier. Unhappily, according to Web MD, lung damage can result from inhaling citronella. It’s better to avoid burning citronella products.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a highly effective mosquito repellent, then I have more bad news. Citronella candles don’t work. Before you get up in arms about effective natural preventatives, there are plenty of them. Unfortunately, reputation aside, there’s just not much evidence that citronella is on that list.
Smoke from a citronella candle can indeed prevent mosquitoes. Regrettably, you’ll need a whole lot more than one or two to produce enough smoke to keep the pests away. Mosquitoes can fly, and that means they are perfectly capable of avoiding a small amount of smoke. A candle is not a bonfire, and you shouldn’t risk your lung health.
You can plant citronella around your yard to get some natural benefits. Sadly, it will not kill mosquitoes. As a mild deterrent, citronella is fine to include, but don’t use it alone if you want stellar results. I have some other recommendations for effective natural insect repellents that you can use indoors.
In adult humans, citronella irritates the eyes, throat, and lungs when overexposed. If you, like so many people, have kids, pets, or sensitivities, then citronella shouldn’t even be on your ‘maybe’ list. Not only is this plant highly toxic to cats and dogs, but small children can have severe adverse reactions as well.
Infants especially tend to be more sensitive to insect repellents. The younger a child is, the higher the risk. Meanwhile, your furry friends should never inhale, wear, or consume citronella products. Naturally, it’s better if you don’t ever bring citronella candles near pets and children.
Cleaning Up Citronella
The soot from burning citronella is easy to see on walls and ceilings. Fortunately, that also means it’s easy to wipe up. Unfortunately, if you have broken skin, you should probably wear gloves before you clean up.
As for the smell it leaves behind, that might be harder to remove. For fabrics like drapes and bedspreads, an excellent hot-water wash in a machine with heavy-duty detergent should help clear things up. Alternately, carpets, and couches may require steam cleaning.
To clear the air, you should vent the whole room or house. Open windows and turn on fans. When the smell inevitably lingers, you can help absorb it with activated charcoal and baking soda pouches placed strategically around your home.
Better Than Citronella Candles
If you want to burn a candle indoors, that smells great and has proven mosquito fighting ingredients, skip the citronella. Instead, get a lemon eucalyptus candle. This tree is not two different ingredients like eucalyptus and lemon, but rather one plant.
The CDC approved this tree’s oil for use against mosquitoes. Furthermore, they recommend it.
In addition to its usefulness against mosquitoes, it also works to prevent deer ticks. Particularly, dog owners may appreciate that in the house. Although you shouldn’t let them eat candles, the oil is safe to use on canines.
Better still, burning lemon eucalyptus in the house could help prevent fungi from growing. As a topical treatment, the oil is often used for toenail fungus. If you have issues with moisture in your home, a few of these candles certainly won’t hurt, and they could help with multiple problems.
I recommend The Good Home Company’s Natural Insect Repellent Spray and Candle set. The clean-burning soy candle has lemon eucalyptus, geranium, cedar, and rosemary essential oils to help ward off most flying insects. Moreover, it smells incredible. Plus, you get a two-ounce bottle of spray-on insect repellent with the same outstanding ingredients. Have yours delivered by Amazon when you order here.
Other Names for Lemon Eucalyptus
There are plenty of plants that have multiple names, but few with so many as lemon eucalyptus. You might see any of these names for this uniquely useful tree. Feel free to bookmark this page as a quick reference when you’re looking for candles.
- Wild Eucalyptus Citriodora
- Spotted Gum
- Lemon Scented Gum and Citron-Scent Gum
- Gommier à Odeur de Citronnelle and Gomme à Odeur de Citronnelle
- Eucalyptus à Odeur de Citronnelle
- Eucalyptus Citronné or Eucalyptus Citriodora
- Eucalipto Limón
- Corymbia Citriodora
More Indoor Candles That Repel Bugs
Although Lemon Eucalyptus is one of the most well known and efficient bug-repelling options, plenty of other natural choices work better than citronella as well. If you love the smell of the holiday season and want to help deter pests, a high-quality cinnamon candle is an ideal answer.
Unlike citronella’s more jarring odor, cinnamon is a sweet, pleasant smell. Skip the acrid smoke, and go with something much more sly and enjoyable when burning candles indoors. If your window treatments smell faintly of cinnamon, it won’t bother anyone.
Cinnamon oil alone can kill mosquito eggs. The powder will ruin ant trails and helps to keep them out of summer kitchens. However, burning a delightfully scented candle can also help convince crawling and flying insects that your home isn’t a friendly place for them to live.
Check out the Shorties Candle Company Cinnamon Bark Candle from Amazon. This large sixteen and a half-ounce candle has a beautiful aromatic scent, and it’s made in the USA. You can feel good about supporting local jobs while your home smells like an exotic bakery. Unlike citronella, this warm, inviting smell isn’t likely to bother your eyes or throat, so it makes a soothing alternative. Find out more about Shorties when you click here.
Safe to Burn Inside
When you’re looking for indoor safe candles, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, paraffin is okay, but soy is better because it burns cleaner. However, gel candles might be more problematic. There’s evidence that they occasionally explode.
Second, while all quality essential oil based scented candles smell nice, only some of them actually help with insects. Alternately, some scents can also help with focus, anxiety, stress, sleep, or even breathing troubles. The following list has a few of the more useful scents and what they’re suitable for.
- Lavender- This scent is easy to find and works to prevent mosquitoes. Additionally, it helps with anxiety and sleeplessness.
- Peppermint- Here’s another smell more commonly associated with the winter months that deserves summertime attention. Peppermint is most effective at deterring spiders and helping you focus while you do chores or work around the house.
- Melaleuca, aka Tea Tree- This oil is widely known for its antifungal and other positive health effects. However, in candle form, it may also provide a deterrent for flying insects.
- Neem- Although neem is frequently debated, a recent study in Ethiopia showed it was at least seventy percent effective for three hours when applied to the skin. When added to a candle, this essential oil might help prevent pests around your house.
- Thyme- Typically, you’ll find this in a mixed blend with other sweeter or more citrusy scents. Nevertheless, it is an effective repellent.
Get more out of your indoor candles by burning a Roxannes Candles, Peppermint + Eucalyptus from Amazon. These kosher, soy candles use real essential oil, and they’re vegan certified. With clean-burning wood wicks and classy black holders, these fit in well with any decor and lifestyle. See the ratings for yourself by clicking here.
For all the hype, leave your citronella in the garden and get some more useful essential oil based scented candles for the house instead. Make sure you check the ingredient list first. ‘Scented’ is not the same as ‘essential oil,’ and synthetic knockoffs aren’t worth it.
You can customize your scents to suit your environment without risking irritation or worse. Go with a citrus blend that includes lemon eucalyptus for a fresh, clean, uplifting aroma. If you’re feeling mellow, grab the lavender, or get cozy with mint and cinnamon. All those smells can help with insects better than citronella, and they smell great.
Don’t burn citronella candles indoors if you burn them at all. Instead, pick a high-quality essential oil candle that has proven ingredients.