|Soy Candle Information
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| What are soy candles?
Soy candles are made from soy wax, which is hydrogenated soybean oil. Soy wax was invented in 1992 by
Michael Richards who was looking for a cheaper alternative to beeswax. As he entered the candle industry in
1991 he realized there was a growing demand for natural wax candles.
Soy wax is often mixed with fragrances to produces scented soy candles. Soy candles are available in
supermarkets and specialized stores and can also be bought online. It is also easy and very rewarding making
soy candles at home.
Advantages of soy candles
Soy candles have to following advantages compared to paraffin wax candles:
· Soy candles are inexpensive - Beeswax is a great natural alternative to paraffin, but to get the same
results as a soy-based candle, it is very expensive. Soy wax is a new alternative to paraffin wax that is cost
· Soy wax is all-natural - Soy wax is a favorite of environmentally conscious people because it is not made
from petroleum, like paraffin candles.
· Soy candles last longer - soy candles last 30% longer than paraffin candles.
· Soy candles spills are easy to clean - It's very difficult to remove paraffin wax from furniture or textiles. Soy
wax spills can easily be clean up with hot soapy water.
· Soy candles produce less soot - Soot is very unhealthy and should be avoided. Soy candles produce
about 60% less soot that paraffin candles and thus help to maintain air quality.
· Scented soy candles distribute more flavour - The incorporation of soybean oil lowers the melting point of
the candle, which translates into cooler burning candles with excellent scent dispersion.
|Let's not kid ourselves, this is fire we are playing with! It deserves the proper amount of caution and safety
practices, and is not something that should be "out of sight, out of mind"!! You should always remain in the
room with any lit candle. Please read the safety guidelines below and ALWAYS follow the directions on candles.
General Candle Burning Safety
Following these proper candle burning guidelines will help ensure a better burning candle, and greatly reduce
the risk of smoke or fire damage:
· NEVER leave a burning candle unattended!
· Keep burning candles away from children and pets.
· Do not place near flammable objects such as curtains, walls, etc.
· Place on a protective, heat resistant and level surface.
· Keep candle free of foreign objects such as wick trimmings, matches and dust bunnies! These things can
catch on fire and may promote smoke damage.
· Avoid burning in drafts.
· Do not walk with lit candles.
· Keep wick trimmed 3/8 to 1/4 inch at all times to prevent the wick from smoking and avoid resultant soot
· Allow candle to cool before trimming the wick and relighting.
| Container Candles
· Do not burn a candle in a container that is chipped or cracked.
· Do not allow candle to burn completely down to the bottom of the container. Stop about 1/2 inch short.
· Do not allow the flame to touch the sides of the container.
· Containers can become very hot, handle with care!
· Make sure candle has cooled sufficiently before replacing lid.
· Container candles should be placed in a proper holder or on a metal trivet to protect surfaces from heat.
Hot candle jars CAN damage furniture surfaces.
· Burn votives in an appropriate holder, made specifically for votives. DO NOT BURN VOTIVES WITHOUT
A HOLDER!! We use a wax specially formulated to be used WITHIN a container.
· Votives burn best using a tight fitting container, especially with lower melt point waxes.
· Keep wick straight during burning process to avoid the flame shattering or cracking the container.
· Follow the general safety guidelines that apply to every candle.
· Burn these candles in their appropriate containers, designed especially for their use.
· Do not consider tealights to be in a container, use of another container is necessary.
In 1991, Michael Richards founded Candleworks to manufacture beeswax candles. As he entered the candle industry with
beeswax products, he realized there was a growing demand for natural wax candles. However, there was a huge economic
barrier. Namely, the cost of beeswax was 10 times the cost of petroleum candle wax (paraffin). In July, Michael Richards started
experimenting with a wide range of plant waxes and vegetable oils to find a natural wax that could be cost-competitive with
petroleum wax. He completed thousands of hours of tests with tropical plant waxes such as carnauba and candelilla waxes,
plus domestic oils such as corn and soybean oil.
In 1992, this testing resulted in the first vegetable wax candle, made from a blend of vegetable oil natural waxes. At that stage of
development, the vegetable wax was hard and brittle. To obtain a pliable wax, Michael started to acquire and test a wider range
of tropical and domestic plant oils including partially hydrogenated coconut, palm and soybean oils. Michael Richards continued
working two parallel tracks:
*Manufacturing beeswax candles
*Research and development for other vegetable wax candles.
In 1994, Michael started blending beeswax with soybean oil to achieve an economical natural wax candle.
The Body Shop, a national chain of stores that was Candleworks' main beeswax candle customer, was first to purchase orders
for a line of natural wax aromatherapy candles from Candleworks. For the first few three months, the content of The Body Shop
candle wax was a blend of beeswax and almond oil. Because of the increasingly high cost of almond oil, Michael started
blending soybean oil with the beeswax. He completely replaced almond oil with soybean oil in all commercial production of
candles in May 1995.
Michael then experimented with various ranges of hydrogenated soybean oil to eliminate the cost ??? in his natural wax formula.
In the fall of 1996, beeswax was no longer used. Instead, the candle wax developed and utilized by Candleworks featured
hydrogenated soybean oil as the majority percentage wax in the candle formula. Other vegetable oils were then added in
minority portions to achieve specific cosmetic characteristics, such as a smooth even surface and scent projection. Michael
created low-melt soy wax for container candles and high-melt point wax for freestanding pillar candles in 1996.
With the goal of creating an edible birthday candle, Purdue University students developed their own candle formula using
soybean oil. The candles won first place in a competition sponsored by the Soybean Development Council and Purdue's
Department of Agronomy.
Candleworks negotiated with the University of Iowa to provide a chemical engineering intern to document the new soy waxes
developed by Michael Richards. This resulted in a report prepared by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship titled:
"Increasing the Use of Soybeans in the Manufacturing of Candles."
The Indiana Soybean Board unveiled a brand of candles called "Harvest lights" made from soybean oil at the Farm Progress
Show. The development of these candles completely farmer-funded through Soybean Checkoff program. This formula has
since been patented.
Documentation of Michael's research process on the development of natural plant-based waxes from 1991 through 1999 was
submitted to a patent law firm in Des Moines, Iowa (McKee, Vorhees and Sease). Formal application for patent pending status
was presented to the U.S. Patent Office the following year.
Soywax, a hydrogenated soybean oil that is used as a renewable and biodegradable alternative to paraffin wax in candle-making,
was investigated for its tendency to produce soot and potentially harmful organic volatiles (e.g. acrolein, formaldehyde and
acetaldehyde) during candle burning. While a considerable amount of soot was produced from the combustion of paraffin
candles under disturbed condition (simulated air movement), little or none was observed from soywax candles. Low level of
formaldehyde was detected in paraffin candle fume, but it was not present in significant quantity in the soywax candle fume.
Acrolein was not detected in either type of candles. Soywax candles burned at a significantly lower rate than paraffin candles did.
Thermal, textural and combustion properties, such as melting and solidification profiles, candle surface temperature distribution,
hardness, and adhesiveness, and burning rate, of a hydrogenated vegetable oil were also investigated. The effect of adding
hydrogenated palm oil, free fatty acids, and paraffin on these functional properties were quantified. For complete technical
information, please refer to the following two recent publications.
Rezaei, K., T. Wang, and L.A. Johnson. Hydrogenated vegetable oils as candle wax. J. Am. Oil Chem Soc. 79: 1241-1247 (2002)
Rezaei, K,, T. Wang, and L.A. Johnson. Combustion characteristics of candles made from hydrogenated soybean oil. J. AM. Oil
Chem. Soc. 79: 803-808 (2002)
Cargill purchased intellectual property rights in Michael's soy wax innovation. Cargill now manufactures sobean wax formulas
developed by Michael. Michael continues to market the soy wax in the industry and provide technical training for other candle
manufacturers in the use of soy wax.
Michael Richards launched a nationwide guild of candle manufacturers called "Village Chandler." This guild is committed to the
use of soy wax in candle production. (At present there are more than 62 Village Chandlers in 17 states and Canada)
This soy wax innovation is fast becoming a new national industry. Today, soy candle manufacturers range from numerous
entrepreneurs to major manufacturers.
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