For some time now, paraffin wax candles have been a widely marketed product in the candle and scented candle industry. Many of the candles you'll find on the market today are made of paraffin wax and/or soy wax. There are other materials used to create the wax for burning candles but we'll be comparing soy and paraffin materials for now.
For some people, concern arises when discovering that paraffin is derived from petroleum and consists of straight-chain hydrocarbons that combust to produce a dark soot which can fall from the vessel. It isn't so uncontrollable and all candles could produce a bit as a result of burning. To minimize soot be sure to trim your candle wicks before each use.
Paraffin wax is petroleum based and is created using crude oil extracted from the earth. Once extracted, it's sent to refineries and moves down the supply chain to eventually be turned into finished products for specific goods, in this case - wax that's used to produce candles.
It's sometimes stated that paraffin wax can produce emissions that might compromise the air quality in your home. Rest assured, the amount of these chemicals is so minimal that people are generally not affected. To be clear, paraffin wax is not toxic - something some soy candle manufacturers claim - and should not compromise the health of anybody enjoying the candles, if used properly.
Most types of candle waxes perform well and will burn cleanly and safely when produced by high quality fragrance and candle manufacturers. Good companies will select waxes or blends of waxes based on their suitability for specific types of candles or formulation profiles, as well as the company and their customers' preferences.
Soy wax used in scented candles is made from soybean oil and can contain other non-soy materials, including the fragrance oils blended to incorporate the scent. The soybean oil is separated from the beans by use of a mechanical press or by using a solvent to extract the oil. The primary step in making soy wax is a process called hydrogenation in which the soybean oil is treated with a hydrogen solution that causes it to solidify and create the wax.
Soy wax as a lower melting point and therefore burns at a cooler temperature than paraffin wax, meaning your candle should burn slower/longer and more efficiently than a paraffin wax candle of the same size.
One of the most mentioned attributes of soy candles is their ability to burn cleanly since soy wax is petro-carbon soot free and made mostly from soybean oil. For those who rarely burn scented candles in their homes, a cleaner burn may not seem important, but to frequent candle users it can be produce less soot, last longer, and provide better scent throw than paraffin wax candles.
- Burning either candle wax is not toxic or harmful.
- Both soy and paraffin wax are suitable to produce quality scented candles.
- Soy wax may burn cleaner, slower, and for longer than paraffin wax candles of the same size.
- Soy wax burns at a lower melting point than paraffin.
- Soy wax may provide better scent throw than paraffin wax candles, but depending on how well-manufactured they are, both should burn and perform well.
- Soy wax is made of soybean oil while paraffin wax is made from refined crude oil.
- Small bits of black coloring or soot is not harmful. It truly isn't much of a concern, especially if you care for your candles and trim the wick before use.
- Both types of candles are safe to burn when made properly. You are encouraged to burn both and identify a personal preference, if any.