Paraffin wax is one of the most popular waxes on the market for making candles. It is a very common wax used in some of the biggest brands in the business. However, it is not used as much by boutique and niche candle makers. Most small candle producers choose to use a more natural alternative.
What is Paraffin Wax? Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct. Paraffin wax is known for its strong scent throw and its versatility when it comes to candle making. It is white and does not have any odor. It is inexpensive, and ideal for making candles different types of candles.
With paraffin wax, you can mix in additives like color and perfume and they will easily blend in making your candle the color and scent of your preference.
How is paraffin wax made? Paraffin wax is made from slack wax. Slack wax is a byproduct of refining lubricating oil. The process for making paraffin wax is called de-oiling. The oil is removed through crystallization. Slack wax is heated and mixed with solvents, as it cools the wax hardens separately from the oil.
Paraffin Wax For Candle Making
Is Paraffin Wax Good for Candle Making? Paraffin Wax is very good for candle making due to its low cost and lack of odor, many people prefer to make their candles with it. When you go to purchase your paraffin wax it can be pre-colored. If you are going to add a fragrance you will need to purchase essential oils or perfume concentrates.
What kind of candles can you make with paraffin wax?
- Votive candles
- molded candles
- pillars that stand alone
The above candles require a melting point that ranges between 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are making candles to go in a container you will need a lower melting point of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by blending paraffin wax with soy wax or with coconut wax.
Candles that you will be using outside will require a higher melting point of 150 degrees. If you plan to use outdoor candles this Summer, you can keep the mosquitos away by adding Citronella oil to the wax. Citronella oil will repel the mosquitos to a certain extent, but you will need more than one candle.
Is paraffin wax expensive? Paraffin wax is the least expensive wax on the market. Paraffin wax is an affordable option when it comes to candle making because it is widely available as an oil byproduct. Production scales much more easily than other types of wax that depend on bees or coconuts.
In addition, you get an even better discount when you buy in bulk. Check out some of these candle making suppliers near you and you can check the latest prices on paraffin wax.
Paraffin Wax Scent Throw
We all want the beautiful aroma of our burning candle. The scent throw is dependent on how far the fragrance of the candle can reach when burning. The stronger your scent throw is means, the further away from the candle you are you can still detect the fragrance.
Does paraffin wax have a good hot throw? Paraffin wax candles have an excellent hot throw. Paraffin wax candles are actually known to have one of the best hot throws available of any other type of wax. However, some people choose to go with other waxes because of ethical and sustainability reasons.
Does paraffin wax have a good cold throw? Paraffin wax candles have a great cold throw. Similar to the hot throw, paraffin wax candles are known to have a cold throw that is as good as or better than many natural waxes. However, like the hot throw, some people still choose natural wax due to sustainability concerns.
The wax pool created by your candle is important because the larger the wax pool the further the scent throw will reach. A two-wick candle will throw the scent further than a one-wick candle, so this is another way to get the best scent throw from your paraffin candle.
Pros and Cons of Paraffin Wax
Here are some of the pros and cons of paraffin wax.
|Pros of Paraffin Wax||Cons of Paraffin Wax|
|Low Cost||Petroleum Byproduct|
|Many Uses||Environmental Concerns|
|Great Scent Throw||Smoke and Soot|
|Wide Availability||Health Concerns|
Advantages and Disadvantages of Paraffin Wax
- Parrafin will carry a higher fragrance load, so when you are making your candles you can get more perfume into them.
- A less expensive option than other products.
- No risk of soot or pollutants when burning your candle unless it is burning unevenly then it may produce soot.
- the higher cooling temperature renders paraffin more solid when cool.
- Paraffin wax candles burn for longer than other candles.
- Not sustainable in the long term.
- Some will leave a sooty residue as they burn at a hotter temperature.
- Parrafin itself is highly flammable.
Paraffin Wax Sustainability and Environmental Concerns
Paraffin Wax Environmental Concerns
Is Paraffin Wax Environmentally Friendly? Paraffin wax is not environmentally friendly. As a byproduct of oil production, there are some doubts about the environmental credentials. However, it is perfect for candle making and doesn’t smell or produce benzene when burned.
A 2007 British study failed to determine any ill effects. Some candle makers have changed to more sustainable products like vegetable-based soy wax, while others continue to use paraffin.
Is Parrafin Wax Vegan? Paraffin is definitely 100% free from animal components, so it can be used in vegan-friendly products. Also when you are making your paraffin candles you need to purchase some other raw materials including paraffin wax, wicks, some molds, or glass jars, and also scents and dyes.
You will need a large pot, possibly 8 quarts, and as wax should not be melted over direct heat, use a double boiler or an 8 quart Presto Wax Melter. Keep a thermometer handy to monitor the temperature of your wax. Have your containers ready to fill up when the wax is melted.
Paraffin Wax Health Concerns
Why Paraffin Wax is bad? Paraffin wax can release chemicals into the air, so it is always important to burn candles in a well-ventilated room. If a candle is burning unevenly it will sometimes release some black soot or a bit of smoke. However, that doesn’t really mean that it is releasing toxic substances into the room.
It could just mean that the wick requires trimming. When you are burning a candle you want a steady flame with no smoke, as this is a sign that your candle is burning properly.
Studies conducted by the American Chemistry Council found that high-grade paraffin is biodegradable.
Paraffin is also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in food and medical applications, and if it was in any way toxic, this would not be the case.
The majority of candles sold are made from paraffin and this would not be allowed if it wasn’t a safe product.
Paraffin Wax Substitutes
Can you Substitute Beeswax for Paraffin Wax? Beeswax has a higher melting point than paraffin. Beeswax also burns very cleanly, making it ideal for people who suffer from asthma, and is said to purify the air by giving off negative ions. You can make blends of beeswax and soy wax to achieve similar but natural results as paraffin.
Paraffin is widely used in candle making as it is affordable and readily available. If you burn them all the time they may contribute to poor air quality, but this is unlikely in a well-ventilated room.
Beeswax candles are made from wax found in beehives. It has a low melting point but does become rather sticky. It is naturally aromatic, so you don’t need to add extra fragrance to it. It is expensive, and this tends to make paraffin wax more popular because it is so reasonably priced.
You can use Beeswax instead of paraffin wax, and if your children suffer from asthma or allergies you may decide to do that. Otherwise, for day-to-day candle making, you are perfectly safe using your paraffin wax to make beautiful candles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paraffin wax does not frost like soy wax. However, over time, paraffin wax can begin to shrink. Which can cause cracks in some container candles or cause decorative candles to crack. This should not be an issue if the candle is used in a reasonable amount of time.
While some of the research on this is conflicting. The evidence seems to suggest that paraffin wax does release some toxins as it burns. Whether this is an acceptable risk or not will be entirely up to you and your customers. Many large producers still use paraffin wax today.
Bath and body works use a blend of waxes for a variety of its candles that include paraffin wax, soy wax, and other vegetable-based waxes. Although their candles include soy in the blend, the candles cannot be called soy candles.
If you are making scented candles in containers, the best wax to use is low melt point paraffin wax. This wax is typically a blend of paraffin and some other vegetable-oil-based waxes such as soy or coconut. The lower melt point helps it adhere to the container and melt easily.
Yankee candles are made from refined paraffin wax. In addition, the wax used in Yankee Candles is sensitive to both heat and light. While they offer candles that contain blends including soy and coconut. The candles cannot be considered soy or coconut candles. They are paraffin candles.
In conclusion, paraffin wax is widely used in the industry and its advantages when it comes to candle making are undeniable. It can be used in nearly every type of candle, has a great scent throw, and is very affordable.
Problems only arise when you begin to consider the sustainability of paraffin wax in the long run, its impact on the environment, and how comfortable you are with any of the potential health concerns attached to the wax.
Like with many things the answer is somewhere in between. For now, paraffin wax has its place in the candle industry and as long as so many companies use it and customers buy it, that is not going to change any time soon.