I had to check into organic soy candles. I’m always curious about new types of organic products or at least products that are claiming to be organic. Some things make sense to me like organic clothing or organic flowers. I wasn’t sure about organic soy candles.
A little info to start:
- Organic soy oil can be certified organic – organic candles can not. The problem is in the processing of the soy oil into wax, synthetic chemicals are needed to accomplish this so the candle can’t be considered a truely organic candle.
- Other ingredients used in candles can be certified organic like essential oils.
- Organic product purchases do encourage more production of organic crops. The key is to buy those that are certified organic or from a reliable source. Some companies do use organic ingredients but because of the costs of certification ingredients are not certified.
What’s The Problem With Candles?
Most of what are considered natural candles are made from beeswax or waxes made from soy oil, palm oil or other vegetable oils.
Before vegetable waxes came along most candles were made from paraffin, a plentiful by-product of petroleum production. The inexpensive cost of paraffin has made candle burning very popular. For many reasons it is important to minimize your use of petroleum products. Vegetable waxes are a great alternative.
Some people say that paraffin candles emit black smoke or soot. This can be a problem especially for cheap candles but any candle can emit smoke if it is poorly made or if the wick is left too long and the air flow around the flame is disturbed.
The EPA has found that super scented candles or those that are soft to the touch are responsible for the most carbon soot. If you burn candles frequently this can mean blackening of walls, ceiling or furniture.
Some concerns have also been raised about toxins in the soot and in the fragrances added to the candles along with the lead levels found from burning candles with lead wicks.
Fortunately, lead wicks have been mostly eliminated. Most candles are made mainly with wicks of zinc, tin or cotton. Although be careful with cheap imported candles as some lead wicks are still being found.
Does Using Soy Wax Solves These Problems?
I wish I could give you a clear cut yes or no but I can’t. Sites that were pro soy said that soy wax candles have been found to emit up to 98% less soot and can burn up to 50% longer plus no harmful toxins are emitted into the air. They’re biodegradable and if you happen to spill some candle wax, soap and water clean up is all that is necessary and soy is a renewable resource unlike the petroleum products used in typical candles.
Soy wax is a good medium when using essential oils to scent candles. Soy wax burns at lower temperatures than paraffin which helps to preserve the health and fragrance benefits of delicate essential oils which can be destroyed when melting wax reaches high temperatures.
On the opposite side were those who had problems with soy wax being the better wax.
- Soy wax is a soft wax not suitable for all candle types. Soy candles made from 100% soy wax usually come in containers.
- Some other style candles like pillars that stand on their own may claim soy wax but probably contain a blend of waxes frequently 75% other waxes 25% soy.
- Most soy is a genetically modified crop unless it is certified organic. Many questions surround GMO crops.
- Soy candles are not soot free. Any candle can create soot as mentioned above.
- Soybeans are small and it takes many of them to create enough for soy oil. Other crops might make more sense.
- Other vegetable waxes are also renewable, can be biodegradeable and don’t emit toxins.
Is Your Candle Organic?
Since candles can not be certified organic you will have to be leary of claims of being an organic candle. Candles made from certified organic oils and certified essential oils are really hard to find and can be expensive. Your next best choice is to look for candles made from vegetable wax and if soy wax is used look for non GMO soy wax. The best are fragranced with organic essential oils. Next best are essential oils that are not organic and then there are those that use a high quality fragrance oil from natural ingredients. These types of candles are much easier to find and more affordable.
Where To Find Soy Candles Made With Wax From Organic Soy Oil
So far I have only found one company that I would list.
- Lumia Organic
This company works with an organic soybean grower to make their soy candles. Their candles contain wax made from certified organic soy oil and other certified organic vegetable oils.
I’ll be honest I found this whole issue of organic soy candles to be confusing. I support organics and am always on the lookout for new certified organic ingredients to further support organic farming. I found the wording used for most candles claiming to be organic a little tricky. I found organic soy candles labeled as such only because organic essential oils were used. In more than one instance I found candles labeled organic in one place and when you read the product description no further mention of organic only a claim of natural wax and this is just a couple of examples.
If you really want to be sure you are getting what you want whether it is natural, organic, green, fair trade or anything else you shop for you really do have to be informed. Find and shop with companies you can trust.