What Should I Melt Soy Wax In?


Soy wax has become a popular candle making material due to its natural origins and eco-friendly properties. Made from hydrogenated soybean oil, soy wax has a low melting point which makes it easy to work with. Before soy wax can be used for candle making, it needs to be properly melted down into a liquid state. This allows the wax to be combined with dyes, fragrances, and other additives. Knowing the right methods and equipment for melting soy wax properly is key to creating successful candles.

The purpose of this article is to outline the best practices for melting soy wax. We will cover the optimal temperature range, the advantages and disadvantages of different melting equipment like double boilers and electric wax melters, and important safety tips. The goal is to provide candle makers with the key information needed to melt soy wax efficiently and safely for their projects.

Soy Wax Basics

Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. After harvesting, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes, which are then solvent extracted with hexane to extract the soybean oil. The crude soybean oil goes through a degumming process to remove phospholipids and is then refined, bleached, and hydrogenated to produce soy wax (Source: https://www.soywaxcandles.net.au/soy-wax-properties/).

Soy wax is solid at room temperature but melts at much lower temperatures compared to paraffin wax. It melts at temperatures between 115-145°F depending on the variety. Soy wax also comes in different varieties optimized for container candles, pillars, votives etc. Popular varieties include Golden Natural 464, EcoSoya CB-Advanced, and Golden Foods Soy Wax 415 (Source: https://noybcandles.com/blogs/news/that-looks-funny-soy-wax-properties).

Melting Equipment

When melting soy wax, it’s important to use the right equipment to get the wax to the proper temperature without burning it. Here are some of the most common methods and equipment used:

Double Boiler

A double boiler is one of the most popular choices for melting soy wax. It allows you to gently heat the wax using steam from boiling water in the bottom pot. You place your soy wax in the top pot, nestled over (not touching) the boiling water below. This allows for indirect, even heating that prevents scorching or burning the wax (CandleScience.com).

Crock Pot

A crock pot or slow cooker can also be an effective tool for melting soy wax. Choose a crock pot with adjustable temperature settings and use a ceramic, glass or stainless steel pot insert if possible. Plug in the crock pot, add your wax and set it to the lowest temperature. Allow the wax to melt slowly and stir occasionally (WaxMelters.com).

Microwave-Safe Container

You can use a glass or microwave-safe plastic container to melt soy wax in the microwave. Heat the wax in 30 second intervals, removing and stirring after each interval. Take care not to overheat the wax. Only microwave 2-3 pounds of wax at a time for best results.

Electric Wax Melter

Electric wax melting tanks allow you to melt large quantities of wax efficiently. Choose a tank with adjustable temperature controls and capacity suited for your needs. Melt wax slowly, monitoring the temperature (WaxMelters.com). Electric melters allow wax to be safely heated and held at the proper temperature for extended periods.

Microwave Method

Melting soy wax in the microwave is a fast and convenient option, but it comes with the risk of overheating and burning the wax if you aren’t careful. To melt soy wax in the microwave safely:Melting soy wax in microwave – StarTribune

Use a container that is microwave-safe. Glass and ceramic work well. Avoid using plastic containers as they may melt from the heat.

Heat the soy wax in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each heating. This helps prevent overheating and hot spots forming in the wax.

Watch carefully as soy wax can go from solid to liquid quickly. Remove from the microwave as soon as the wax is fully melted to prevent burning.

Double Boiler Method

One of the most popular ways to melt soy wax is using a double boiler method. This involves using two pans, one nested inside the other, to gently and evenly heat the wax. To use this technique:

Fill a medium saucepan about halfway with water and bring it to a gentle simmer on the stovetop. Do not allow the water to boil vigorously. Then, place a heat-safe bowl inside the saucepan so it rests on top of the rim. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

Add soy wax chunks or flakes to the bowl. As the water gently heats the bowl, the soy wax will slowly melt from the heat conduction. Stir the wax periodically with a silicone or wooden spoon to help it melt evenly.

The double boiler allows for very gentle, even heating of the wax, preventing scorching on the bottom. Keep heating and stirring until all the wax is fully melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and turn off the heat when done. Be careful as the bowl will be very hot!

allow soy wax to fully cool and harden after melting before handling to prevent burns.

For more details on equipment and temperatures, see this guide.

Crock Pot Method

A crock pot, also known as a slow cooker, can be an effective tool for melting soy wax. The low, steady heat provided by a crock pot helps prevent the wax from overheating. Here are some tips for using a crock pot to melt soy wax:

Use a crock pot liner or an inset bowl – Melting the wax directly in the crock pot can make cleanup difficult as wax adheres to the sides. Putting the wax in a removable liner or bowl prevents this problem. Choose a bowl or liner that fits securely in your crock pot.

Set crock pot to low or medium-low – High heat can scorch the wax, so keep the temperature setting on the low end. Medium or medium-low is ideal for gentle, even melting.

Stir periodically – Stirring helps distribute the heat evenly so all the wax melts at the same rate. Use a wooden skewer or spoon to stir every 15-30 minutes.

Allow 1-2 hours for melting – The low heat of a crock pot means melting takes longer, usually 1-2 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally until all wax is liquid.

Avoid overheating – Once all wax is melted, unplug the crock pot. Overheating can alter the wax properties. Maintain temperature but don’t allow wax to reach over 185°F (85°C).

Electric Wax Melter

An electric wax melter is a specialized appliance designed specifically for melting candle wax. It offers the convenience of automated, hands-free melting. Electric melters are available in different sizes and capacities to suit hobbyists or professional candle makers.

Popular options include counter-top melters with a capacity around 1 gallon, as well as larger floor-standing melters that can hold 5-10 gallons of wax. Melters will have features like temperature controls, melted wax spouts, and removable inserts to hold wax blocks or pellets.

Electric soy wax melters range from DIY conversions of slow cookers to professional melters with precise temperature calibration. High-end melters from reputable candle supply retailers can cost $100-$300 depending on size and features. More heavy-duty, high-capacity melters are also available from Alibaba.[1]

For hobbyists, an electric melter can be an efficient upgrade from makeshift double boilers or crockpots. The capacity also allows melting larger volumes compared to a microwave. For high-volume candle production, electric melters are essential.

Ideal Temperature

When melting soy wax, it’s important to heat it to the proper temperature range. According to Raymond Dai at LinkedIn, the optimal melting temperature for soy wax is 185-200°F (85-93°C).1 Heating the wax too high, over 200°F, can cause it to discolor or lose its scent throw. Overheating also increases the risk of flash points and fire. On the other hand, if the wax isn’t heated sufficiently, around 185°F, it may not melt properly or thoroughly blend with fragrance oils. The ideal target range is 185-200°F to fully melt soy wax without compromising its properties or safety.

When using methods like a microwave, double boiler, or crock pot to melt soy wax, monitor the temperature carefully with a thermometer. Remove the wax immediately once it reaches the target temperature range. This prevents overheating while ensuring the wax is fully melted for candle making or other soy wax projects.

Safety Tips

When melting soy wax, it’s important to take proper safety precautions to avoid burns or fires. Here are some key tips:

Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax so it doesn’t overheat. The ideal temperature for soy wax is between 185-200°F (source). Once the wax has fully melted, turn off the heat source.

Always use potholders when handling the melting container, as the exterior can quickly get hot. To avoid spills, don’t fill the melting vessel more than halfway.

Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid leaving melting wax unattended. Keep flammable materials at a safe distance.

Allow the wax to fully cool and harden before attempting to pour or handle it. Melted wax can remain hot and liquid for a period of time after removing from heat.

Store soy wax per the manufacturer’s instructions, away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Storing Melted Wax

Once you have melted your soy wax, proper storage is important to preserve the wax and prevent it from losing its integrity. Here are some tips for storing melted soy wax:

Pour the melted wax into heat-safe containers like glass jars or stainless steel tins. Avoid pouring into plastic containers which may warp or melt when the wax is hot. According to [Supplies for Candles](https://suppliesforcandles.co.uk/candle-college/how-to-store-your-candles-and-wax-melts), glass and metal containers are ideal for storing melted wax.

Allow the wax to fully set and harden before moving the container. Moving melted wax too soon can cause spills or cracks in the wax. Set the wax aside and give it adequate time to fully solidify before disturbing it.

Store the wax in a cool, dry area away from heat sources. Keeping the wax in a climate-controlled space will help preserve the wax and prevent it from re-melting. As suggested by [Serathena](https://www.serathena.co.uk/blogs/home-fragrance-lifestyle-blog-uk/maximize-your-wax-melt-experience-how-to-store-wax-melts-like-a-pro), a cool environment helps maintain wax integrity.

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