You can buy candles almost anywhere these days. Also, there’s a lot to choose from – different colors, shapes, sizes, and scents invite you to buy and make your home cozier. There’s no doubt that candles can improve your home decor or make you feel more relaxed with their scents. But are they safe for the environment and yourself?
Image credit: Lemon Canary
That’s a fact, most of the candles sold at shopping malls are made from paraffin wax (or simply, paraffin). In short, paraffin is a derivative from crude oil. Paraffin contains more than 10 toxic components (i.e. toluene and benzene that are highly carcinogenic compounds are also found in paraffin) and pollutes the air with toxic soot when burns. Not all paraffin candles are made from 100% paraffin. Variations like 90% paraffin : 10% vegetable oil wax or 80% : 20%, etc. exist, but this still doesn’t make candles safer. Moreover, some paraffin candles might even contain heavy metals that get released into the air.
Despite these warnings, paraffin candle manufacturers fight facts that paraffin candles are not healthy and safe to use. Lucky for us, there are alternatives like vegetable wax (e.g. soy wax) or beeswax candles that get way more good points than paraffin candles.
For example, soy wax candles are made from unrefined soybean oil. Pros of soy wax candles are very clear and straightforward:
– soy wax is 100% biodegradable;
– soy wax is a renewable source, and paraffin wax isn’t; also, you support organic farming by using organic soy candles;
– soy wax candles are healthier, they don’t contain toxic components;
– soy wax candles burn much cleaner than usual paraffin candles. Know that soy wax still produces soot when burns, just way less than paraffin.
– candles made from soy wax burn 50% longer than paraffin candles;
– soy wax is easier to wash off than paraffin wax, which sometimes is impossible to remove from surfaces.
– like I mentioned before, soy wax candles still release soot (just less than paraffin);
– soy wax is quite soft so not all forms of candles can be made from it;
– most soybeans are genetically modified; if you want to avoid that, search for certified organic products or buy from a trustworthy manufacturer;
– note that although soybeans and soy oil can be certified, soy candles can’t be because of soy wax making processes.
Aside from these cons, it’s still evident that soy wax candles have far more benefits and they are a better alternative than paraffin candles.
Do you buy soy wax candles? What’s your favorite brand?