You may have noticed that a lot of candle makers and suppliers are promoting their use of soy wax (including us here at Tenfire!) – so what’s all the fuss about?
Put simply, soy wax is made from a natural, renewable material – soybean. It is vegan, it is biodegradable and can be cleaned up with soap and water – it burns slowly for a long-lasting candle and produces almost no soot. Want to learn more? Read on….
Candles since the 1850’s have traditionally been made with paraffin wax when a pioneering chemist, James Young, learned how to efficiently separate the naturally-occurring waxy substance from petroleum and refine it. Paraffin wax was used to mass-produce candles that were inexpensive and offered a high-performing burn. However, crude oil, the origin of paraffin wax, is a non-renewable resource associated with environmental calamities such as oil spills and damage to the natural environment.
The 1990’s brought a new type of wax to the industry. In 1991, Michael Richards originally founded his company Candleworks to manufacture beeswax candles, but beeswax was expensive, up to 10 times the cost of paraffin candle wax. In the summer of that year, Richards began experimenting with a wide range of vegetable waxes and plant oils. His goal was to find a natural wax that was cost-competitive with paraffin wax. He continued testing natural waxes for several years, including a wider range of tropical and domestic plant oils, while researching and developing other vegetable wax candles. In 1995 soy candle wax was made available to the public. The Body Shop chain was the first to offer these new ‘soy candles’ to the general public.
As a material for candle production, soy wax offers some pretty clear advantages over paraffin:
Longer Burning - Soy wax has a lower melting point which means it burns up to 50% longer than paraffin wax candles.
Cleaner burn - As soy wax is made from a vegetable oil it is clean burning which means minimal soot is released
Better Fragrance - Due to the lower melting temperature of the wax, a larger ‘wax pool’ around the wick is created. This ‘wax pool’ allows the fragrance oils to more easily vaporise, and release more fragrance into the home
Renewable Resource – Soy wax is made from soybeans which are a sustainable and renewable resource
Easier to clean – A spill of soy wax is much easier to get out of fabrics as it is biodegradable, with a wipe of warm water, it’s gone!
So go ahead and enjoy your soy wax candle knowing a little bit more about it than you did before!