Many people know to check the ingredients in their favorite snacks because they like to know what they’re putting into their bodies.
But how many people are checking the ingredients in their candles to make sure they know what they’re putting into the air they breathe?
Soy wax candles are becoming increasingly popular in American homes thanks to their wide range of benefits. When you choose soy wax, you’re choosing an all-natural, American-made product that won’t release harmful toxins into the air.
What are soy wax candles, and why should you choose them over regular candles? Let’s explore.
What Is a Soy Wax Candle?
Soy wax comes from soybean oil. These candles are 100% natural since they are cultivated using vegetable soybeans.
Soybeans are one of the most planted crops in the United States. According to the USDA, there are 89 million acres of soybeans grown across the country, with 80% of the crops coming from the upper Midwest.
Because soybeans are not scarce, creating soy wax candles is an eco-friendly process. And since soybeans are grown on American soil, soy wax candles are American-made products.
Soy wax candles were invented by a group of Purdue college students in 1996. The students wanted to create eco-friendly birthday candles using renewable resources. They decided to try soybeans.
After a few rounds of trial-and-error, the students were able to figure out how soy wax melts and solidifies, thus creating 100% soybean candles.
Since 1996, soy wax candles have become a popular item across America. While paraffin (traditional candle wax) candles held more than 30% of the market share in 2018, the soy wax segment was predicted to grow. Researchers estimate soy wax candles will see an increase of 8.5% in market share between 2019 and 2025.
How Soy Wax Candles Are Made
Are you wondering how to make soy wax? First things first, you need plenty of soybeans. About 132 pounds (60 kg) of soybeans are needed to produce 22 pounds (10 kg) of soybean oil.
The soybeans are harvested, cleaned, cracked, and rolled into flakes. Then the plants are hydrogenated.
Hydrogenating the soybeans allows candle makers to convert fatty acids into saturated fats. It raises the melting point of the oil to create a solid wax, perfect for burning candles.
Container candles may include 100% soybean oil in their wax. But other candle types, such as pillar candles (the tall and sturdy candles that stand on their own) require other ingredients like paraffin or stearic acid. That’s why pillar candles are often advertised as “blended wax candles” as opposed to “soy wax candles.”
For candles that light up your home with delicious aromas, dyes and fragrance oils are added to the soybean oil before hydrogenation. Most scented soy wax contains up to 10% fragrance oil.
The most popular soy wax candle scents include:
- Bergamot (light citrus and floral aromas)
Soy Wax vs. Paraffin Wax
Until 1996, paraffin wax was the world’s go-to method for creating candles. But paraffin wax is derived using fossil fuels, which means paraffin candles are not sustainable or environmentally-friendly.
Paraffin comes from petroleum and crude oils that are extracted from the earth. Crude oil mixes hydrocarbons from decomposed animals and plants that lived millions of years ago.
Once the crude oil is extracted, it gets sent to candle refineries to be made into lubricating oils. The lube oil creates the base for paraffin candle wax.
The result is the colorless, soft, solid wax that we are familiar with.
In addition to creating candles, paraffin wax is often used for spa treatments. When applied to the cuticles, feet, and hands, paraffin wax can reduce joint pain, alleviate muscle soreness, and boost moisture levels in the skin.
However, when it comes to candles, an increasing number of Americans are checking their labels and ditching paraffin wax.
A 2009 study concluded that paraffin wax releases dangerous chemicals, like toluene (a mono-substituted benzene derivative), into the air when burned.
Researchers have found that while soy wax candles produce less soot and release significantly fewer toxins into the air compared to paraffin wax.
Benefits of Soy Wax Candles
Most people are turning to soy wax because it creates an all-natural candle. Soy wax comes from vegetables, making it a sustainable resource.
Therefore, soy wax is not only easier to produce, but the process of creating soy candles has a small environmental impact compared to paraffin candles.
Another benefit of soy wax candles is their ability to emit less soot and toxins into the air while burning.
Soot discolors the candle container and can spread to your furniture, curtains, and walls.
Paraffin wax can contain as many as 11 toxins, and it releases these chemicals into the air when the candle is in use.
Burning soy wax means lighting a biodegradable resource on fire. Therefore, it doesn’t release harmful carcinogens and toxins into the air. Soy candles are ideal for those looking to keep their air quality at a clean and healthy level.
In addition to keeping your air clear, the lack of soot and toxins allows soy wax to possess a stronger fragrance.
The chemicals in paraffin wax obstruct the aromas. Clean-burning soy candles lead to stronger fragrances that keep your home smelling just how you want it to.
Many people turn to soy candles because they are more durable. Soy wax can burn 50% longer than paraffin wax. They also don’t get as hot as paraffin wax candles, making soy candles a safer alternative for the home.
The Best Ways to Decorate Your Home on a Budget
Soy wax candles are becoming more popular due to their sustainability, variety, and lack of harmful toxins.
With so many different aromas to choose from, you’ll find that your home will always be smelling fresh when you choose all-natural soy wax candles.
Whether you’re searching for soy wax near me or other home decor tips, we’ve got you covered. Start browsing our blog now.