Soy candles: Top 10 facts
Unlike paraffin wax (which most candles are made from), soy wax is renewable, biodegradable, clean burning, toxin-free and has an appealing creamy white appearance and any spillages are easy to clean up.
1. Made from the beans of the soy plant
Soy wax is made from the beans of the soy (known as soya in the UK) plant. This means that soy wax is a vegetable wax and is therefore vegetarian and vegan-friendly. During the manufacturing process, the soy beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled and then rolled into flakes. Next, the oil from the flakes is extracted, then transformed into the familiar solid soy wax by a process called hydrogenation. Interestingly, hydrogenation is also the process that turns oil into margarine!
Unlike paraffin wax, which is derived from a finite resource (petroleum), soy candle wax is derived from a renewable resource, the soy plant, which can be grown over and over again. This means that soy wax is a sustainable commodity.
Soy candles are biodegradable, which is a tick in the eco-friendly box. This means that the wax can be broken down by micro-organisms and effectively becomes part of the earth again, re-used in one way or another.
4. No harmful fumes
You don’t need to worry about any negative side-effects of burning soy candles because they do not produce any harmful fumes. You and your family are in safe hands and can breathe easy. This makes burning soy healthier than paraffin wax, which, some studies have shown, emit toxins into the air, which can be harmful, particularly when burnt frequently in enclosed spaces (Kok et al., 2004). But be aware that some companies will describe their candle as being made from soy wax, even if only a very small proportion of the wax is soy, so make sure you buy 100% natural wax.
5. Perfect for aromatherapy
Essential oils are normally distilled from parts of a plant, such as its leaves, bark, roots or flowers; they are the concentrated essence of plants and that’s why they smell so great. Aromatherapy uses essential oils, such as lavender, ylang ylang, clary sage, teatree, lemongrass, orange, geranium, and bergamot to enhance our physical and mental wellbeing. It is well-known that lavender can really help with sleep and relaxation. Because soy wax is natural and has a low melting point, it makes an excellent partner for essential oils. The addition of essential oils provides us with not just a scented candle, but an aromatherapy candle. AromaWeb state that holistic aromatherapy emphasises the importance of using natural ingredients in aromatherapy, such as soy. So this rules out paraffin wax! Buyer beware – some candle sellers will combine a very small quantity of essential oils with inferior artificial fragrances, so make sure you look for those fragranced with 100% essential oils.
6. Burns cleanly
Soy candles burn cleanly. This means that you avoid that unpleasant black smoke that you can often get puffing out of paraffin candles. You can rely on having a clean-looking candle to style your home with because you won’t get a dark residue lining your candle container or marking other surfaces. Keeping the wick trimmed and keeping candles away from draughts is a good way to ensure any candle smoke is reduced.
7. Longer lasting
Soy candles last for a long time because of their low melting temperature, so you can burn your candle for longer whilst you relax in the bath. In fact, soy wax candles can burn for an astonishing 50% longer than paraffin wax alternatives which have a higher melting point. This makes them great value for money.
8. Superb scent throw
Scent is, well, essential in a scented candle! Soy wax candles have an excellent scent throw. This means that you can really smell the wonderful aroma of your candle and you don’t have to be sitting right next to it. Additionally, the scent is long-lasting, so you should be able to smell it for longer. Soy candles can be scented with essential oils, so you can enjoy their natural therapeutic aromas, rather than being subjected to inferior artificial fragrances.
9. Easily cleaned up
We all know that sinking feeling when we spill something sinister onto our carpet, sofa or clothes. Traditional waxes like paraffin are difficult to remove. With soy wax spillages, there’s no need to panic because splashes can easily be cleaned up. Whether it gets on our clothes, soft furnishings or favourite rug, you can simply clean it up with a cloth soaked in hot soapy water because soy wax is water-soluble.
Soy wax is a safer choice for candle-buyers. Because soy wax burns at a lower temperature than paraffin wax, spillages are less likely to cause harm; soy wax is seen as a safer alternative for families, especially when children or pets are around. Of course, you should always follow safety precautions at all times when burning any candle and never leave children or animals unsupervised near burning candles.