I used to be a huge candle fan, meaning I was one of the people who actually burn the candles instead of just letting them get all dusty, until the day I found out that cheap candles from the Chinese dollar store in nowheresville Brooklyn frequently have lead in the wicks. That gave me pause, but didn’t prompt me to toss out my tea lights.(Although I did find that I like personalized candles from Best Kept Secrets.) No, the last straw was a candle that threw off so much soot as it burned that it somehow stained a bunch of nearly invisible leftover grout that wasn’t cleaned properly off my bathroom tiles. You couldn’t actually see it until the soot started flying… when I tried to clean up, it stained the grout, which is why I have these odd stains on my bathroom tiles. Stupid candle!
Nowadays I don’t burn quite so many candles, what with the baby and the cats and the extreme dislike of soot, but I do keep some around, just in case. The ones I do keep around are pure beeswax with organic cotton wicks, with no scents or fillers. I’m partial to the Timberline brand, but there are plenty of great candlemakers out there working with pure beeswax instead of petroleum-based products. If I had the time, I might even try rolling my own with a kit or maybe reading up on the topic (which is a lot less appealing than just jumping in with the kit, really).