We’re constantly inundated with what we should and shouldn’t eat but what about every day items we have in our homes that are also toxic?

Soy candles are made using soybeans

Soy candles are made using soybeans

Candles are made from a variety of products but those cheap candles you pick up at home stores and a few high street fashion stores? Chances are they are paraffin wax.

Soy candles are made using soybeans – which is a natural and renewable source. Paraffin candles are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable source, and known to contain carcinogenic substances. A study by South Carolina State University back in 2009 found paraffin wax candles give off harmful fumes linked to asthma and lung cancer. At the time Dr Amid Hamidi, from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, who co-led the study said, “An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you. But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.”

So how often do you light you candles and despite this research we still see paraffin candles on sale and at bargain prices that consumers just cannot resist. A quarter of British households buy scented candles and with supermarket chains stocking their own brand candles this is an area expected to grow. 

Soy candles are a cleaner alternative to paraffin wax – some manufacturers include additives or produce products blended with paraffin wax, so it’s best to read the label thoroughly to see if you are purchasing a pure soy wax candle.

If the above isn’t enough to make you switch to soy candles, here are five more reasons why and some tips on how to look after your candles:

  1. Soy candles are natural as they are made from soybeans (vegetable oil) – whereas paraffin wax is made from petroleum oil. When burning soy candles they don’t increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere. Soy is also non-toxic as it is made from vegetable oil – the wax also doesn’t get as hot as paraffin wax.
  2. Soy candles burn cleaner – that black soot on your paraffin wax jars? That isn’t how a candle should burn. Soy wax candles don’t produce black soot like paraffin candles do. Some paraffin wax candles tend to have zinc wicks whereas soy candles usually use cotton or hemp. Zinc wicks produce more soot than cotton or hemp wicks, which can also result in that black soot on the side of candle jars.
  3. As soy wax has a slower burning time, soy candles tend to last longer – so you may end up paying more for soy wax candles but in the long run you won’t have to stock up as often.
  4. Soy wax candles tend to have a better scent throw – because soy candles burn slower (due to the lower melting point) the scent is released gradually into the air. Most soy candles also have a great cold scent throw – so even when not lit you can smell them! Soy wax also holds on to the scent better and releases fragrances easier than paraffin. Paraffin alternative tend to smell amazing at first burn but as you continue to burn the scent fades whereas soy candles will always give you that first burn smell!
  5. Some soy wax candle manufacturers don’t tend to dye their candles, as the natural colour of soy wax is a beautiful cream. So you can rest in the knowledge that your candle is as natural as it comes.



To prevent tunneling, when the candle doesn't burn to the edge of the glass, try the following:

• Trim your wick to around 3mm, ideally with a wick trimmer to give you a nice clean cut.

• Candles have a good memory. When you light your candle for the first time let the candle burn long enough (around 3 hours) so the entire top is liquid wax. That way each time you relight your candle it will remember the previous melt pool.

• Regularly repeat this burn to keep the wax open and even.

• Burn your candle for up to three hours max, any longer and the oils will begin to burn themselves. Rotate your favourite candles and get the most out of them!

New customers to Soy & Joy can enter discount code HELLO10 for 10% off their first order