I Like My Candles Like I Like My Friends…Non-Toxic. Are Your Candles Slowly Killing You?
Ok, I admit, that clickbait was a bit dramatic, but you know me by now - it's part of my charm (and my husband agrees!) I was having a conversation with a couple of my newly hired employees about why I don’t use stabilizers, additives or blends in my candles and I was surprised at how little information there is regarding the dangers of paraffin.
Years ago, when I first started learning about candles, the quality engineer in me researched every variety of wax, wax blends and fragrance/essential oils. I was determined to make the highest quality candle on the market and still maintain an affordable price point. This blog post is a compilation of the results of all my research and testing. I learned soy much in the beginning and I hope you find it valuable to understand my ‘Why’ as it relates to the quality of my candles.
(The snark, well, that's just a bonus!)
What is soy wax?
Soy wax is a 100% natural wax derived from the vegetable soybeans. Soybeans are one of the major agricultural crops grown in the United States, behind only corn. Most of the world’s soybeans are grown and harvested in the Midwestern United States. After the beans are harvested, they are then cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. Soybean oil is extracted from the flakes and the leftover flakes are used for animal feed.
Paraffin wax - the most commonly used candle wax - is made in a contrasting way and because of this, the cost is much cheaper. Paraffin wax is the product of the oil purification process from petroleum, coal, or oil shale. When you remove the waxy substance from crude oil, you’re left with paraffin wax.
The Top 8 Reasons You Should Be Burning Soy Candles
Paraffin candles are cheaper and smell good. Why switch to soy candles?
- Reduce Health Risks
- Natural Ingredients
- Stronger Scent Throw
- Better Scent
- Easy Clean-Up
- Support American Farmers
Reduce Health Risks
Burning soy candles vs. paraffin is better for your health and home.
Candles are beautiful to watch burn and have a calming effect on us. However, it’s not so beautiful or calming when soot covers the walls and curtains, and we breathe it in. The soot also circulates through your air ducts. In other words, it gets on everything!
The soot contains 11 toxins, including two carcinogens: toluene and benzene. In fact, recent studies are finding that firefighters have a higher rate of cancer because of harmful chemicals in products, such as benzene found in waxed furniture.
The carcinogens found in paraffin candles are typically labeled “toxic air agents” by environmental agencies. Soy candles don’t release toxins into the air.
Soot from paraffin candles is a solid particle resulting from the incomplete combustion of petroleum-based fuel. These carbon particles can cause respiratory problems. Soy wax doesn’t form this petro-carbon soot. This makes for a better air quality and no need to periodically clean soot left by paraffin candles.
Soot particles are small, allowing them an easier way into the lungs. Some researchers advise children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory diseases like asthma to avoid candle soot.
Soy candles, unlike traditional paraffin candles, burn clean.
Many people find that paraffin wax gives them a headache. If you are one of those people, soy wax is a good reason to give our candles a try!
Soy candles are made from vegetable oil (soybeans), which are natural and renewable. Paraffin candles are made from petroleum oil, a nonrenewable source that contains carcinogens that get released into the air when burning. Soy wax candles do not release CO2. They don’t require chemicals to give them their scent either.
Soy wax is a sustainable resource that is biodegradable; whereas paraffin is a refined gasoline by-product. Its sourcing makes us less reliant on nonrenewable crude oil and, hence, better for the environment.
Soy candles are non-toxic candles since they are made from vegetable oil. This makes soy candles a healthier choice for humans, pets, and the environment.
Soy candles can burn anywhere from 35% to over 50% longer than paraffin candles because soy wax has a lower melting point, making it a cooler burning temperature than paraffin wax. Soy candles are efficient and reduce waste. They also burn evenly, minimizing unburned wax left on the sides of the jar.
So, while soy candles seem more expensive when you look at the size of the candle you’re getting for your money, it is actually about the same price since soy candles of the same size as their paraffin counterparts last longer. Plus, you don’t have to buy soy candles as often!
Stronger Scent Throw
When a candle’s scent “throws well” the scent fills the entire room. Soy candles throw well. The lower melting point of soy wax results in a greater surface area of liquid wax pooling around the candlewick. The oils are released from the liquid wax pooling around the wick and from the wick itself. The type of wick is one of the major factors in how strong a candle smells.
I use a cotton wick with a braided paper core. It burns slow and clean allowing more fragrance into the air. Adjusting the size of the wick can reduce or strengthen the throw of a soy candle without having to over saturate a candle with fragrance oil to get a strong throw. To this day, I still love nerding out with wick testing and throw. (I am constantly sending my team unsolicited wick pics!)
While a matter of taste, many people prefer the scent of soy candles over paraffin. Soy candles hold onto the scents from the essential oils that are often used to give soy candles their fragrance. Also, since the soy wax burns clean, you get a cleaner scent as a consequence.
Malicious Women Candle Co only use Bio-Grade A Fine fragrance and essential oils. Bio-Grade A is the highest quality of oils and are safe to use in soaps and body care products. I also am proud to be 100% phthalate-free.
Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are a group of chemicals with a variety of different uses and applications. The most common use is in the manufacturing of plastics to make them more flexible and durable, but phthalates can be found in pharmaceuticals, building materials, cleaning products, and other household goods. Some makers will use phthalates in their candles to increase scent throw. Rather than take a short cut and put the health of my employees and customers at risk, I test and engineer each scent with different wicks and adjust wick the size to increase scent throw.
View our scent categories to find your perfect scent!
Candle spills from paraffin wax candles are difficult to clean, but you can clean soy wax spills up just with soap and water. No need to strategically place potted plants over the carpeting!
Support American Farmers
Soy candles help American farmers. Unlike paraffin, soy is sourced from our soybean farmers, mostly in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana. So, you’re also helping the U.S. economy.
A Candle-Buying Tip
Many candle makers advertise their candles as being "soy candles", but are actually soy and a blend of other substances. If their labels doesn’t say 100% soy or list the ingredients, be skeptical. It might look like a better deal, but there’s probably a reason for that!
Bottom Line: our all-natural candles are free of additives, dyes, lead, phthalates, and parabens. We still hand pour our long-burning candles with safe ingredients and custom crafted scents.