What is it?
Soy wax is a wax derived from the "hydrogenation of soybean oil that is ultimately derived from soybean". Soy wax is a patented product so little is known about how it is actually produced.
Soy wax is sold in flake form. The flakes are as thick as a piece of card paper, and are about as big as dime or penny, sometimes even smaller. They are a creamy white color.
This particular form of vegetable wax is very soft, so it always needs to be poured into a container after melting. Unlike paraffin, beeswax, or bayberry wax, soy wax is not freestanding. Because soy wax is so soft it has a low melting temperature, making it far less likely to blister and burn a person's skin if spilled.
Why choose soy v. paraffin?
Unlike paraffin, soy wax is 100% natural. It is derived from soy beans, and therefore is a renewable resource; however, paraffin is refined from crude oil, which is filtered and chemically processed.
Depending on its form, paraffin burns from 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, though most burn around 140 degrees. Soy wax, however, burns at 119 degrees. Because of the lower burning temperature, soy wax can last 30% to 50% longer than paraffin.
Soy wax in its raw form is actually a bit cheaper to purchase than paraffin. This is due to the fact that the price of petroleum is rising heavily, whereas the cost of soy beans is rising with the cost of living. Soy wax candles support our world's farmers and open up an entirely new industry for them to explore. In addition, soy wax lessens the world's dependency on foreign oil.
Due to its molecular makeup, soy wax can hold 4-5% of fragrance oils. This offers a highly fragrant candle, as opposed to the 2-3% capabilities of paraffin.
Unlike paraffin, soy wax cleans up easily with soap and water; therefore, if you spill any on your clothes simply throw them in the washer without attempting to scrape it off. If you spill soy wax on the carpet, soap, water, and an old toothbrush will get the worst of it out until your next professional cleaning.
Many paraffin waxes have animal fat additives; vegetable waxes such as soy are a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly alternative to paraffin.
The American Lung Association has recently released reports indicating how harmful paraffin candle pollution can be. Recent studies have shown that many paraffin candles release trace amounts of eleven toxins, including acetone, benzene, lead and mercury. These emissions have been found to be almost as harmful as second-hand smoke. Although regular candle usage probably will not harm an individual, frequent candle use can cause health problems. In addition, because soy wax is 100% natural, it burns very cleanly. Many of us have bought a paraffin candle only to have the edges of the jar be clouded with a black residue. This is petro-carbon soot. Soy wax emits very little soot, and no petro-carbon soot. Therefore, the jar stays much cleaner than with paraffin, and the soot is easily cleaned away with a damp soapy rag.
My mother and I own a small candle-making cottage industry. We sell mostly at craft shows, and a bit commercially. In our business, though, we sell paraffin and soy wax candles, and strove to find the best quality of each raw material before starting. We prefer the use of soy wax, but need the paraffin for its ability to freestand. I find that a soy wax candle does, indeed, burn much more cleanly than a paraffin one of comparable size. While there are slight grey marks around the lip of the jar, this is very minimal, as opposed to the thick black soot which accumulates on the lip of a jar containing paraffin.
We have sold soy wax candles to people with mild to moderate asthma, especially the unscented variety, and have heard back from several customers that they trigger significantly fewer attacks. Also, I have a co-worker who buys our soy wax candles for her mother-in-law, who is legally blind.
There are many reasons to purchase soy wax candles. It is my hope that I have successfully presented a few of these.
Soyces(okay, I couldn't resist...)
Candlewic Product Catalog Edition 3