Is Soy Candle Wax Safe To Use?

Soy wax is a type of wax made from soybean oil and is commonly used to make candles. It has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to paraffin wax, which is a petroleum-based wax. Some key purported benefits of soy wax over paraffin wax include:

  • Soy wax is made from a renewable, sustainable resource (soybeans), whereas paraffin wax is made from non-renewable fossil fuels.
  • row of soy wax blocks on a table.

  • Soy wax burns cleaner than paraffin wax, producing less soot.
  • Soy wax is biodegradable and less harmful to the environment if spilled or disposed of improperly.
  • Soy candles are often marketed as more natural, eco-friendly or health-conscious than paraffin candles.
  • Some find the scent throw stronger in soy wax compared to paraffin.

This article will explore the composition, benefits, and safety concerns around using soy wax for candle making compared to traditional paraffin wax.

Composition of Soy Wax

Soy wax is made primarily from hydrogenated soybean oil. According to CandleScience, the main ingredients in soy wax are:

  • Soybean oil – This is extracted from soybeans and is the main component of soy wax, making up 50-90% of the wax.
  • Hydrogenated soybean oil – The soybean oil undergoes hydrogenation, which converts some of the unsaturated oil into saturated oil through a chemical reaction with hydrogen. This makes the wax harder.
  • Soy esters – Esters are formed during hydrogenation and make up 5-50% of the wax. They influence the melting point.

Other vegetable oils like palm oil or coconut oil are sometimes added in smaller amounts as well. The exact composition can vary between different soy wax blends. But the key components are always soybean oil combined with hydrogenation and soy esters (

Benefits of Soy Wax

One of the main benefits of soy wax is that it is made from soybeans, which is a renewable and sustainable resource. Soybeans are grown annually in many parts of the world, making soy wax a reliable and environmentally-friendly alternative to paraffin wax which is made from non-renewable petroleum (Why Choose A Soy Wax Candle – The Benefits of Soy Wax,).

Soy wax is also biodegradable, meaning it will break down naturally over time without causing harm to the environment. Paraffin wax, on the other hand, does not biodegrade and can be harmful if it contaminates soil or water supplies. The biodegradable nature of soy wax makes it a more eco-friendly choice for candle making (Why Soy Wax?.

In addition to being made from renewable sources, soy wax burns cleaner than paraffin wax. Paraffin wax releases compounds like toluene and benzene into the air when burned, which can be toxic. Soy wax produces very little soot and emits less smoke when burning compared to paraffin (Benefits of Soy Wax Candles -Healthier, Fragrant, & Eco.). This makes soy wax candles better for indoor air quality.

Concerns over Soy Wax Safety

While soy wax is often marketed as a more natural alternative to paraffin wax, some concerns have been raised over its safety.

One concern stems from the fact that the majority of soybean crops grown in the United States are genetically modified. Critics argue that not enough is known about the long-term health effects of GMO soy products. There are also worries that the pesticides used on soybean crops could be harmful if inhaled while burning soy candles.

person with an allergic reaction.

Additionally, people with soy allergies may need to avoid soy wax candles, as the protein allergens may become airborne when burned. Allergic reactions from soy candle usage are rare but have been documented in sensitive individuals.

Testing Soy Wax Candles

Recent studies have analyzed the emissions produced when burning soy wax candles to determine if they pose any health risks. One study published in 2021 in Science Direct looked at gaseous and particulate emissions from scented and unscented soy candles (Salthammer, 2021). The researchers found lower emissions of potentially hazardous volatile organic compounds compared to paraffin candles. Another study funded by the USDA analyzed soybean candles to determine if they provide a healthier alternative to paraffin (Soybean Candles for Healthy Life and Well Being, n.d.). The researchers cited previous studies showing paraffin candle emissions can cause severe health problems. Their initial findings suggest soy wax does not produce the same harmful byproducts.

In terms of soot and lead content, a report by Candle Science & Testing analyzed various candle waxes including soy (Candles Science & Testing, 2020). They found all candle types exhibited clean burning behavior and passed smoke point tests when properly made. The lead content of the soy wax candle was below detection limits. Overall, the current research indicates soy wax itself does not produce dangerous emissions or contain toxic contaminants. However, additives like fragrance and dyes can influence the emissions profile when burned.

Comparisons to Paraffin Wax

Soy wax has many differences compared to traditional paraffin wax when it comes to making candles. Three key points of comparison are burn time, hot throw, and cost.

Paraffin wax typically has a longer burn time than soy wax. As Lonestar Candle Supply explains, “As previously stated, soy wax is more dense than paraffin and typically requires more heat to burn it up. This means that a soy wax candle would probably burn a bit slower than a paraffin candle.”1 The denser nature of soy means it needs more energy to fully melt and vaporize.

In terms of hot throw, or scent dispersion, paraffin wax also tends to perform better than soy wax. The low melt point of paraffin allows fragrance oils to volatilize more readily. Soy wax has a higher melt point that can bind scents rather than letting them lift into the air. However, there are blended wax options that can improve soy’s hot throw.

When it comes to cost, paraffin wax is generally the more affordable option. As Slatkin & Co notes, “Paraffin wax is cheaper and has a longer burn time, but it is not as eco-friendly as soy wax.”2 The pricing difference comes down to the raw materials needed to manufacture each type of wax.

Making Soy Candles

Making high-quality soy candles requires careful attention to wicking, pouring temperature, and curing time. Proper wicking is critical for an even, complete burn. The wick width should match the diameter of the candle vessel. Larger candles need wider wicks to sustain an even flame. Cotton or paper wicks work well for soy wax. Before pouring, the wax should be around 135-165°F to ensure proper adhesion and reduce air bubbles. Higher temperatures can burn off fragrance oils.

making a soy candle.

After pouring, soy candles need 24-48 hours to fully harden and cure, which allows the fragrance to stabilize within the wax. Avoid moving or burning the candle during this time. Once cured, store soy candles in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until ready to burn. With the proper preparation, soy wax makes long-lasting, clean-burning candles.

For more tips, see

Finding Quality Soy Wax

When purchasing soy wax, it’s important to find a reputable supplier that provides high-quality products. Some key factors to consider when sourcing soy wax include:

Reputable Suppliers: Look for manufacturers and vendors with a good reputation in the candle making community. CandleScience and Lone Star Candle Supply are two recommended suppliers known for selling top quality soy wax.

Testing and Quality Control: The soy wax should be tested for purity and quality. Contaminants like pesticides or hexane residue should not be present. Reputable suppliers will often provide documentation of testing and quality control measures.

Type of Soy Wax: There are different varieties of soy wax optimized for containers, pillars, tarts etc. Choose the appropriate type for your candle making needs based on the supplier’s guidelines and reviews.

Sourcing and Manufacturing: Domestically sourced and manufactured soy wax is recommended for freshness and traceability. Ask potential suppliers about their soy wax origins and production.

By purchasing soy wax from trusted, transparent suppliers focused on quality, candle makers can feel confident they are using a safe, high-grade ingredient.

Safety Precautions

When burning soy candles, it’s important to take some basic safety precautions. Proper ventilation is crucial – soy candles should always be burned in a well-ventilated room, and never left unattended according to Soy Candle Care – Unplug Soy Candles. Candles consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide, so enough airflow is needed to prevent dangerous buildup. Opening a window or door can ensure adequate ventilation.

person blowing out a candle.

It’s also important to keep wicks trimmed to 1⁄4 inch before lighting, according to How To Care Your Soy Candle – Finding Home Farms. Untrimmed wicks cause uneven burning, tunneling, and smoking issues. Using the right candle containers is also key – metal or heat-safe glass specifically made for candle use prevents dangerous breakage or wax leaks.

In summary, soy candles can be safely used with proper precautions like ventilation, trimming wicks, and using appropriate candle containers. Following basic safety tips allows enjoyment of soy candles without unnecessary risk.


Based on the information presented, soy wax can be considered a safe option for candle making. Soy wax is made from soybean oil, a natural and renewable resource. When burned, soy wax candles release very little soot and emit no toxic chemicals. Testing has shown soy wax to burn cleaner than paraffin wax.

While soy wax is not 100% risk-free, as no candle wax can be, it presents minimal safety concerns when proper precautions are taken. As with any candle, it’s important to keep the wick trimmed, avoid drafts, and not leave a burning candle unattended. With reasonable care, soy wax candles do not pose any unique or alarming risks.

For those seeking to avoid petroleum-based paraffin wax, but who remain concerned about potential soy allergies or other issues, there are also natural waxes made from beeswax or vegetable oils. Ultimately, soy wax can be considered a safe, clean-burning, and environmentally-friendly option for candle making and home use.

In summary, research into soy wax does not reveal any significant safety issues. When proper safety precautions are taken, soy wax candles present a safe alternative to paraffin candles.

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