Shocking truths about soy wax candles

Are you a firm believer that soy wax candles are cleaner, safer and everything else is inferior or controversial?

7 truths about soy wax candles you may not know
7 truths about soy wax candles you may not know!

Think about articles you may have come across which insinuate how toxic and terrible paraffin wax is because it is a by-product of the crude oil refinement process. We are encouraged to turn to natural alternatives like soy wax which is renewable and gives a cleaner burn. Have you read things claiming 100% pure soy wax candles as if you can just pick the pure unprocessed soy wax from trees? These notions mainly originate from marketing ploys. For the major commercial soy producers, developing and maintaining markets for U.S. soybeans is a high priority. They are apprehensive that soybeans may lose market share to alternative natural sources like palm and coconut vegetable oils.
As a result of the ‘go natural trend’ soy wax has grown in popularity across the board because it can be marketed with the trending buzz words ‘eco-friendly, renewable, vegan, clean-burn, natural, sustainable, carbon neutral etc’. It is a marketing company’s dream come true. Demonise the opposition and you will look like an angel no further questions asked. Many people buy into soy wax candles because they believe in the buzz words. What they forget is they are buying soy wax candles NOT the actual soy wax itself.

Here are a few things you may not know.

Does soy wax candles burn cleaner than other candles?
Does soy wax candles burn cleaner than other candles?

1. Technically the wax only has to contain a minimum of 51% soy to be called soy wax. (shocking right?) This depends on the manufacturer. Many soy waxes are made from 100% soybean oil. Others are blended with vegetable oils or other waxes.
2. Soy oil for wax is solvent extracted from GMO soy seed commercially farmed with pesticides and insecticides and bleached with chlorine to remove colour. Think of the local farmers exploited for this.
3. Cornucopia and Natural News compiled an investigative report which revealed that soy products branded as “organic” may not be 100% “natural.” Soy products are bathed in hexane, a gasoline by-product that is particularly volatile. It is later removed by vacuum distillation for soy wax production, however there are bound to be residues.
4. Soy wax itself is a soft wax. In order for soy wax to burn as a candle, paraffin is usually added along with other additives to make it harder and improve hot scent throw. This is more so for votive, pillar and taper candles. How ironic!
5. Although tea lights, container candles and small tarts may be made entirely of soy, the 100% pure wax version is a very expensive wax and notorious for being difficult to produce a good scent through from. If you have a soy candle with a long-reaching perfect throw, chances are it is a blended form which in itself is not a bad thing.
6. The soy bean is a genetically modified crop of which the United States grows the vast majority of the world’s supply.
7. Claims that soy wax burns cleaner is false. Soy wax does not burn cleaner than other waxes. A well made soy wax candle will burn cleanly just as any other well made candle that contains beeswax, paraffin, or palm wax. It is the making of the candle that decides the cleanness of the burn. The correct wick, not too much dyes or fragrance will produce a nice clean burn. If the soy candle is badly wicked for example it will blaze and may soot.

Is paraffin wax as bad as they claim?

Is paraffin wax as bad as some people claim?
Is paraffin wax as bad as they claim?

Judging that it has been checked and regulated by official bodies and most department stores sell mainly paraffin wax candles, I would think not. According to an article on the NHS website one researcher has been quoted as saying that ‘ occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you..’  In addition, candle science has improved a lot over the years. Major advancement has been made with blended waxes which harness the power of different plant and vegetable oils including paraffin mineral oil to produce beautiful wax that can burn cleanly and safely.
In all its a matter of preference or ethics which candle you buy. If you are really concerned then there are alternatives to enjoy fragrances without burning candles.

Additional reading
Are candles harmful to your breathing and health?