I love fall: the crisp air, gorgeous colors, delicious food, and wonderful smells!
This season always puts me in the mood to fill the house with the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon and spices, and other homey scents. Sometimes I accomplish this by baking and cooking yummy stuff! Sometimes I want to enjoy the scents without all the work!
In the past, I loved using scented candles. At some point, I realized that the vast majority of scented candles and synthetic fragrances are health hazards! Candles can release carcinogenic chemicals and lead into your home when burned, and synthetic fragrances can cause respiratory and nervous system problems, depression, thyroid and hormone disruption, and allergies.
Once I became aware of some of these issues, I switched to locally-made soy candles with lead-free, non-metal core, organic cotton wicks. In recent months, I’ve been researching using essential oils and a diffuser to not only scent the air, but also purify it and improve my family’s health and immune system at the same time (more on that coming soon, hopefully!).
So what are the options for a former scented candle user like me looking for healthier alternatives?
They are out there, from sustainably produced, all natural candles, to homemade potpourri, or a simple diffuser and essential oils. A new product that I recently learned about is Pink Zebra Sprinkles. My sister in law just became a consultant for this company and asked me to take a look at the sprinkles and see what I thought.
Sprinkles are a new twist on home fragrance products. Instead of using regular wax bars to place in a warmer (like Scentsy), these are small pellets or “sprinkles” of wax. They’re highly scented, so it only takes about a tablespoon of sprinkles to scent a large area. The sprinkles can be combined in different “recipes” to achieve different scent combinations. You can follow recipes created by the company and consultants, or experiment with your own mixtures. The sprinkles can be put in a jar and have a wick added to create a candle, melted in a simmer pot or warmer, or even just set out in a dish as an air freshener. The company offers a variety of different warmers and decorative shades to choose from.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying out a jar of Farm House Cider Sprinkles and one of the nifty Pink Zebra simmer pots and learning more about them so I can tell you what I think.
What I like:
- The simmer pot is really cool! Very easy to clean – the dish lifts right off the warming surface for washing – and safer than a flame. No worries about the hazards caused by the chemicals released in the soot and smoke of a candle or what’s used in the wick (although Pink Zebra does offer non-metal, lead-free, cotton wicks for those who want to make candles with the sprinkles).
- Versatility. You can use as little or as much as you want at a time, and with 51 different scents the combinations you can come up with are endless!
- Long-lasting, strong scent. It really does take very little of the sprinkles to produce enough fragrance to scent my whole house, and it lasts forever! One jar of sprinkles goes a very long way!
- The use of clean-burning soy wax. Pink Zebra uses soy wax produced in the US. While I’m not thrilled about supporting the soybean industry (can we say Monsanto? ), soy burns cleaner, doesn’t release fumes, and burns longer, slower, and at a lower temperature than paraffin wax.
- Non-toxic ingredients. Ingredients undergo extensive testing and are deemed “non-toxic”. This means if your toddler swallows a handful of sprinkles, he or she will most likely be fine, although it probably won’t taste very good.
- No phthalates. Pink Zebra’s products are phthalate free.
- No BPA packaging. All Pink Zebra packaging is bisphenol A free.
- Gives back to the community. Pink Zebra supports the HEROES charity, which donates daycare to single moms, as well as several other charities.
A Couple of Concerns:
- The use of paraffin wax. Although the wax used in the sprinkles is called “Soft Soy Wax” it’s actually a blend of soy and paraffin. Depending on the fragrance, paraffin may make up close to half the wax. Paraffin is a petroleum product and is associated with serious respiratory issues like asthma, among other things. This risk is lessened if the sprinkles are being melted in a warmer and not burned in candle form.
- The use of synthetic fragrances. Although Pink Zebra does use essential oils in some of their scents, they also use synthetics, which have the potential to cause respiratory and nervous system problems, depression, thyroid and hormone disruption, and allergies in sensitive individuals. You can read more about their rationale for using both essential oils and synthetic fragrances, along with technical details about the ingredients in their products, in this FAQ document.
With those caveats, I still think that Pink Zebra Sprinkles are a better alternative than traditional scented candles and home fragrance products for those of us who want a way to scent the air in our homes but want to reduce our exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals. The safest, “cleanest” option would be to use a warmer or simmer pot to melt the sprinkles in a well-ventilated space (simply melting releases less fumes and toxins than burning in candle form), and choose scents that are less likely to need synthetic fragrances to produce (spices, mints, citrus, vanilla). I contacted the company and asked if they’d disclose which, if any, of their fragrances contain no synthetic fragrances, but haven’t heard back. If I do, I’ll definitely update. In the meantime, you can check out the sprinkles and other products here.
The company is new (barely two years old) and seems to be health and eco-conscious. I’m hopeful that if enough consultants and customers request it, they might develop a 100% soy, all natural fragrance product for us green, crunchy types (get working on that, sis, ‘K? ) The company also offers reed diffusers, soaps and lotions.
For more information on safely scenting your home, I highly recommend this article at Keeper of the Home! It does a fantastic job of explaining the health hazards of conventional scented candles, how to evaluate your options, and how to choose healthier alternatives. It’s a must-read!
And, if the Pink Zebra Sprinkles intrigue you, I have an opportunity for you to try them out!
My generous sister in law has offered to give away one of their awesome simmer pots and a jar of sprinkles in your choice of fragrance! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your hat in the ring! Then take a minute to visit her website, Sprinkles of Faith, to learn more about monthly specials, how she got involved with the company, and more.
The Nitty-Gritty Details:
The giveaway will run from today, 10/14/13 through next Sunday, 10/20/13, ending at 11:59 p.m. (Central). There’s one mandatory entry, worth four chances to win, and several other options to earn additional entries.I received a simmer pot and jar of sprinkles for review purposes. I wasn’t compensated in any way, nor was I required to give a positive review. The Rafflecopter widget below has everything you need to throw your hat in the ring! US residents only, please. The winner will be chosen at random and announced no later than Friday, October 25. Good luck! :)