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Soy vs Paraffin: The Real Deal

Candles are made from wax. There are companies who use paraffin wax; others use soy wax and other manufacturers mix soy and paraffin wax to create their unique candle products. Before jumping into whether soy or paraffin candle is the right candle to use, you must first understand the differences between the two waxes.

Soy Wax

Soy waxes are made through the process of Hydrogenation. Making soy wax starts with separating the oil from the soya beans using a mechanical press or a solvent. It is applied on the soybean to extract the soybean oil. The soybean oil is then treated with hydrogen solution to solidify it into soybean wax. Every manufacturer has their own process to create the soy wax “recipe” but the process of extracting the oil is very much the same for all of them.

Soy wax has the following general properties:

-    Non-toxic. The soy wax is not poisonous.

-    Made of 100% Soybean oil or Combination of soybean oil and/or animal or vegetable products.

-    Clean Burn. The soy wax meets several standards of federal regulations that classify it as clean-burning.

-    Colorless. The wax appears generally opaque.

-    White Soot. Soy can produce white soot when incompletely burnt like all other organic compounds.

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin waxes are made from crude oil or fossil fuel extracted from the earth. Crude oil is essentially a mixture of hydrocarbons that resulted from the ancient underwater plant and animal decomposition. To improve the purity of crude oil, they are sent to refinery companies where it is processed to become lubricating oil. Paraffin wax becomes the byproduct of making the lubricating oil.

Paraffin wax has the following general properties:

-    Potentially toxic. Some paraffin wax contains carcinogens when burned which are believed to be linked to cancer.

-    Non-reactive. It did not react to different laboratory test stimuli.

-    Water Repellent. It is an excellent water repellent and liquid protectant agent.

-    Clean Burn. Paraffin wax meets federal rules and regulations that classify it as clean-burning.

-    Colorless. It appears semi-translucent and does not contain any color.

-    Black Soot. Paraffin can produce black soot when burnt incompletely.


What is the right candle to use?

It has long been believed that paraffin wax releases soot and harmful chemicals and toxins into the air that may cause respiratory problems. 

Soot Release

Both paraffin and soy waxes can create soot – white soot for soy, black soot for paraffin. Both release different compounds into the air. Compounds such as alkanes, toluene, and alkenes have been reported to have unfavorable effects on the human body.  These compounds could compromise the air quality in your home. However, the emissions from the candles will possibly be so minimal that it may be considered insignificant to cause great harm.

Scent Throw

A lot of people think that the more fragrance an oil can hold, the stronger the scent will be. This may not be totally right all the time. Scent throw will also depend on the type of wax your candle is made of. Paraffin wax candles emit fragrances pretty fast. This is because paraffin wax has a lighr=t molecular structure and melts easily compared to soy wax which has a denser molecular arrangement. However, with soy wax, the fragrance is usually stronger as they are not easily dispersed into the air.

Burn Time

If paraffin wax emits fragrance in a short period of time, soy wax gives you longer burn time. Because it takes more heat to melt soy wax, it gives off light more efficiently than paraffin wax.

Source of Materials

Paraffin wax comes from crude oil, another form of petroleum, which originally has been extracted from fossils underneath the ocean. Soy wax comes from soybeans that are planted, harvested and replanted in the fields.

Practicality and Efficiency

Paraffin wax leaves residues to the sides of your candle holder or warmer. This could mean wastage of the unburnt wax. Soy wax burns evenly because of the chemical composition that makes it harder to melt. This gives you more hours of burn time and results in a more cost-effective choice in the long run. Also paraffin wax is typically more expensive than soy wax.


The Real Deal

With these comparisons presented to you, the choice is really up to you. It all boils down to your preference.

If you want a clean burning candle that gives you the strongest scent throw, comes from a renewable source, gives you more burn time, then Earth Vibes soy wax candles are the best option for you.

Whether you choose soy or paraffin candles for you, you will be choosing a product that has been thoughtfully created, passed the regulatory boards and declared safe to use at home.

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