Yankee Candle: A Whiff of Americana

With scents like “Let Freedom Ring” and “Starts and Stripes”, Yankee Candles sure smell American. And unlike the similarly patriotic sounding  American Eagle, they actually are made in the USA.  The company was the product of a boy’s experiment melting crayons to make his mother a candle, and spawned into what is now America’s largest candle company.

Item found: All Yankee Candles are made in the USA. Candle accessories like diffusers, holders and trays are made in China.

Most common countries: USA (all candles), China (accessories)

Corporate info: Yankee Candle manufactures their potently fragrant candles in Massachusetts.  While there are no current regulations requiring disclosure of ingredients in candles, their site does provide some information. Yankee assures that they do not use lead wicks, which were banned in 2003. Their wicks are made from pure cotton. As far as their collection of over 150 fragrances is concerned, their blend is kept secret. The only hint they will give is that they use a combination of real essential oils and “fragrance extracts”.

Overall: Candles can be wonderful for unwinding after a long day. Candles are integral to many traditions and can make a home feel more inviting and warm. But there are potentially dangers beyond fire hazards. According to an article from the Healthy and Natural Journal, 30% of candles used in the US still contain lead wicks. Though now banned in the US, cheap imported candles still frequently contain the toxic metal as a way to keep wicks upright.

Most candles, like Yankees, are made from paraffin wax, a by-product of petroleum. When it comes to “fragrances”, scents are created using  petroleum-based chemicals. The EPA has stated that burning paraffin candles emits carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene. The soot residue created from their burning also contains these toxins.

Yankee Candle have a remarkably loyal fan base. Their candles are American made, lead-free, and come in recyclable glass jars that can also be nicely repurposed.  Unfortunately they contain paraffin wax rather than natural alternatives like soy wax or beeswax, which contain no toxins and generate considerably less soot. If you are looking to try some natural alternatives also made in the USA, try Edinboro Creations, UCO, and Bluecorn Naturals.


Thanks to Danika of Greenwala for help on resources for obtaining information for post. Check out her article for tips of how to improve your indoor air quality.


  1. Meredith says

    i love yankee candles! i havent seen the let freedom ring candle – my MIL would love it!!!

    • says


      If Yankee candles or other paraffin based candles make you sneeze or give you allergic reactions, try soy candles instead. Soy candles are natural without lead and chemicals and much easier on sensitive people. :)

  2. says

    I love some of the Yankee Candle scents but unfortunately I tend to have no candles at home, especially with small kiddos around. But I’m sure they smell great. Too bad they’re not made with natural products. And yes the soot could be more toxic than one may think because they generate other toxic chemicals. Great post :)

  3. Jill says

    I used to love Yankee Candles (the lovely fragrances), but I am more interested now in ones using Soy wax. Thank you for this website (I just found it)….I LOVE the MADE IN USA Challenge (I am Done buying from China) and plan to keep reading your website/blog to find out more! It may take longer to shop, but it’s worth it!! Thank you :) **We need to keep (and create) the jobs here in our own country**

  4. Celine Crook says

    I too was a loyal Yankee Candle lover. I now prefer the soy sprinkles from Pink Zebra which – yes – I am now selling. I love the intense fragrances and the ability to mix and match and make my own scents (as well as use them in candles or warm them in warmers). However, having done research on the differences between burning paraffin vs. soy wax, I realized I didn’t want the paraffin burning in my home. That was what made me switch. The EPA and the American Lung Association have both warned that burning paraffin wax releases cancer causing chemicals into the air…so no thanks!

  5. Robert says

    my grandmother and grandfather were candle makers and used paraffin their entire career over 68 years and both lived to over 100 years old. Jesus people I understand there are dangers in life but you have to draw the line somewhere on what really constitutes a health hazard. I guess we can all live in a bubble and never go outside again to avoid sun exposure too.

  6. Donna says

    Be sure to read the labels if you are buying anything besides actual candles at Yankee Candle, not just the accessories. Sadly, I just purchased a little jar of Meyer Lemon scented ‘Fragrance Spheres’ and when I looked closely at the label, it says : “made in China exclusively for the Yankee Candle Company”. That was disappointing, but I still love their real candles.

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