A Clean Wax Alternative
Soy wax is a natural alternative for more sustainable candle-making, along with beeswax and coconut wax.
Although less expensive, paraffin wax candles are made using petroleum products derived from crude oil. Crude oil is a nonrenewable resource that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of habitats and pollution of our air and water. By contrast, soy wax is a biodegradable, renewable resource.
When you buy a candle off a random store shelf, do you know what’s in it? Commercial candles can sometimes contain harmful chemicals, like parabens, pthalates, and lead. As you’re burning these inside your home, you want to make sure they’re clean and additive-free.
Are Soy Candles Really Environmentally Friendly?
Soy candles are made out of hydrogenated soybean oil. They have a lower carbon footprint than candles made from petroleum products. The extent of that sustainability depends greatly on the source.
There are some potential problems with soybean farming, including destruction of natural habitats and the practice of monocropping.
Monocropping, or monoculture farming, is when only one crop is grown in the same fields year after year. This deprives the soil of certain nutrients and degrades soil health. It also increases the prevalence of disease and pests, leading to the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
Sustainable soybean cultivation focuses on soil health, crop rotation, biodiversity, water management, and other social considerations.
5 Benefits to Using Soy Wax Candles
While a candle burns, it can release tiny carbon-based particles of soot into the air which you can also see at times as a thin black film on various surfaces. Needless to say, you probably want to avoid breathing this in, especially if you have a sensitive respiratory system.
Soy candles produce significantly less soot and are generally better for indoor air quality than other candle types. When considering indoor air quality, take into account the type of wax, quality of the wick, and any other additives or fragrances that are being used.
Candles of all types that have added fragrances can also give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can affect air quality. Essential oils contribute significantly less VOCs than synthetic fragrances, but this is still an area of ongoing research. For best air quality while enjoying your candles, make sure the room is well ventilated.
Soy wax candles last longer and are a good investment for your money. On average, a soy wax votive candle will burn for 10-15 hours, versus a paraffin wax votive candle burning for 8-10 hours. This is because soy wax has a lower melting point.
Fantastic Scent Throw
Because of its low melting point, soy wax releases fragrance more quickly and easily. You get a stronger scent throw from soy candles as a result. Scent throw refers to the ability of the candle to disperse fragrance well. The fact that soy wax burns cleaner also contributes to a better, cleaner scent.
As much as I love beeswax, soy candles do have an advantage over beeswax candles here. Beeswax has a natural fragrance that can interfere with scent throw, whereas soy wax is more or less odorless.
Support for Domestic Farmers
The soybean oil used for making soy candles is sourced from farms in the United States. When you buy soy candles, you’re supporting the local economy. There’s also a lower carbon footprint from shipping and transportation of products from overseas.
By supporting these farms to be profitable, we may encourage them to practice more sustainable farming and maintain the land responsibly.
Support for Small Businesses and Artisan Crafts
Many small businesses hand-pour artisan soy wax candles, showcasing their unique creativity in new blends and styles. Not only can you support small business, you can also enjoy a nice collection of long-lasting candles that can totally transform the energy in your home.
How to Properly Care for your Soy Candles
Between burnings, when the candle is cool and solidified, you should always check the wick of your soy candles and trim them when needed. Carefully trim any scraggly or “mushrooming” ends off to avoid soot and smoke. Be gentle and deliberate, because the burned wick is often delicate and you’ll want to avoid cutting it too short.
Once a piece of the burned wick has been trimmed off, don’t pick it up; simply tip your (fully cooled) soy candle over to let the wick drop directly into the trash. If you pick it up or leave it around, it can easily smear and make a mess.
Sometimes your wick may curl and from a circle, then when it cools, the part of the wick that you’d want to trim is buried in the wax. In this case you can use sharp scissors to make the cut, then go in with tweezers to extract the pieces of wick debri from the candle. Yes, it’ll kind of mess up the surface of your candle. But it will melt and look nice again after you burn it.
Removing Dust and Debri from your Candle
If your candle has a lid, this will help keep dust and other debri from the surface of your candle. You don’t have to worry about this so much if you burn the candle regularly, but if you leave it on the shelf for a while you may notice a thin layer of dust has settled into the wax. Soy wax does tend to accumulate more dust than other waxes.
Soy wax is soft, and dust will cling to the surface easily. If you haven’t burned your candle in a while and it’s been sitting out without a lid, you’ll want to check it for dust before burning. Burning a candle with dust on it can contribute to poor air quality and be irritating to your respiratory system.
Simply wipe the surface of the candle with a microfiber cloth or used pantyhose, being careful not to bump into the wick or apply too much pressure to the surface of the candle.
Monitor Burn Times
It’s okay to burn your candles for a longer time period, but you want to keep an eye on them. Depending on the blend, some candles burn hotter than others. With some soy candles, you may notice soot or a wick that mushrooms or smokes when left to burn for a long time.
If it seems smokey after hours of burning, give the candle a rest and allow it to cool completely. Then you can trim the wick, give it a quick clean if necessary, and it should burn well for you again.
You also want to be careful when grabbing a soy candle that’s been burning for a while, because the container could be very hot. This is especially true of smaller glass containers.
Store in a cool, dry place
When not in use, store your soy candles with the lids on, or inside a box or cabinet to keep them clean. In my experience, soy candles don’t melt too easily, but you do want to keep them in a cool, dry place for best effect.
Where Does Hermes of VALIS Get its Soy Wax?
Here at Hermes of VALIS we use Golden 464 soy wax, from AAK, a leading supplier of vegetable oils. According to our suppliers, this wax is sourced from sustainable soybean farms in the United States. It’s made of 100% hydrogenated soybean oil and soy monoglycerides.
Golden brand states that the wax could be derived from genetically modified (GMO) varieties of soybean, but that residual DNA/protein is not detectable in the fully processed product.
We get our wax, most essential oils, and many other supplies from Shay and Company, a local small business committed to providing natural ingredients here in Portland, Oregon who we love to support!
Do you Love Soy Candles?
Try Hermes of VALIS soy candles for a variety of different mood changes and to support your magickal intentions. See for yourself how it transforms the energy of an entire room!