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Can You Burn Citronella Candles Indoors? Reasons, Tips, & FAQ

Citronella candle in a glass jar on a wooden table

One of the benefits of citronella is that it acts as a bug repellent, which is why you will find a lot of outdoor candles that contain this essential oil. It is also why some people find it tempting to burn candles indoors to get rid of bugs that might have migrated from the outdoors to the inside of your property.

Generally, it is recommended that you do not burn citronella candles indoors. The smell can get into furniture and fabric, and the candles give off more smoke than plain candles, so may exacerbate asthma or other respiratory problems.

Read on for more information about citronella candles, including their benefits, and alternatives that you can use to get rid of bugs that are amassing in your home.

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About Citronella

citronella candle
Image By: faithie, Shutterstock

Citronella is an essential oil that is extracted from Cymbopogon. The oil is used primarily as a perfume, but another benefit of this essential oil is that it has proven an effective mosquito repellent and may be beneficial at repelling other flying bugs and insects. You can buy citronella soaps and citronella-based sprays that are used for this very purpose, but there are other ways that you can introduce the pesky mosquitoes in your garden to some citronella.

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Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are standard candles that also contain citronella essential oil. You burn the candles in the same way and as the wax burns, it releases citronella into the environment. The candles do produce quite a lot of smoke, as most essential oil candles do, but this smoke contains the ingredients that will dispel your mosquitos.

Can You Burn Them Indoors?

Image By: CHIRAG K, Unsplash

The candles are said to work in the same way to repel other flying pests like midges and even fruit flies, so it can be tempting to burn them indoors if you are suffering an outbreak of winged pests. However, the candles do give off a lot of smoke which means that they can irritate your throat and lungs. They may also cause eye irritation and even itchy skin if you are sensitive to the ingredients. For these reasons, and because the smoke particles get into furniture and fabric, it is not recommended to burn citronella candles indoors.

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The 3 Ways to Keep Indoor Bugs at Bay

Depending on the type and number of flying pests you have in your house, other methods can prove effective:

1. Traps

You can buy fly traps that are strips of sticky plastic or sticky paper, as well as other variants of traps. Alternatively, you can make your own by half-filling an empty soda bottle with a mixture of water and sugar or some pieces of overripe fruit. The flies will get in, but they won’t get out.

2. Block Their Entrance

If you have mosquitos, it is a good idea to find out how they are getting in and blocking their entrance, or they will keep coming back and causing a problem. Use caulk to fill in small cracks and gaps or wire wool for larger entry points. Try to avoid leaving doors and windows open for too long. As well as letting fresh air in, you are also inviting flying pests into your home by doing so.

3. Grow Herbs

Citronella candles aren’t the only thing that repels insects. Various herbs are known to act as repellents. Grow your own basil, mint, lemongrass, or even catnip. Lavender is another good option, and it smells great when you waft by it.

citronella candle in the grass
Image By: Guido Benedetto, Shutterstock

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Mosquitos and other flying pests are a nuisance. If you are trying to repel them while sitting outside, citronella candles can be highly effective. But it is generally advised that you do not burn these candles indoors because they give off more smoke than standard candles and they can cause respiratory and allergic reactions. Look for alternatives like fresh herbs and avoid the use of candles that contain any essential oils. Save them for outdoor use.

Featured Image Credit: Cmspic, Shutterstock


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