Using Beeswax Candles for Cleaner Air
Candles are a traditional way of providing light and comfort in times of darkness. Even in the age of modern conveniences we still appreciate the warm glow. One of the most popular beeswax uses involves making candles. Why are they so popular? Why should you consider beeswax candles.
Creating candles is one of the most popular craft activities. And, there are many waxes you can use in these projects.
Candles remain a very in demand item to buy for yourself or gifts. Today, we can purchase or make them made from all different kinds of materials.
But… should we? Is that apple pie scented candle good for your lungs? Maybe, but maybe not.
Some of the materials in use may be harmful to your health. What “if any” toxins may be released when that it burns?
Because only bees make beeswax, it is always in limited supply. Any time demand outweighs supply – there is a chance for “creative marketing”.
Beeswax candles are often a victim of deceptive marking practices. You need to be able to read the label and understand what it means.
What are Beeswax Candles Made of?
Choosing the purest products will require some research on your part. You do not want to pay for candles that are advertised as pure and find that paraffin has been mixed in.
Paraffin is a by-product of the petroleum industry. It is readily available and inexpensive.
In recent years, the use of paraffin wax for has raised some health concerns.
Labeling is a tricky thing for the American consumer. A candle can be labeled as beeswax even if it contains other substances. Read the label closely.
Candles Made from Beeswax are Special
The elegance of a pure natural wax candle burning is unattainable when using man-made materials.
Bright light and a clean burn is only part of the reasons why they are highly valued. They make a great part of your home decor and people love getting them as gifts.
In recent years, rolled beeswax candles have become popular gifts. They are inexpensive and easy to make – even for kids.
Another popular natural craft – make some beeswax egg shaped candles with shells.
Cost and Availability of Natural Wax
At first glance, candles made from pure wax seem more expensive. Their cost per pound is significantly more than many traditional ones.
Yet, when you learn more about the benefits of burning natural wax candles you will see their value.
We often value an item by its rarity. Lets face it, no one would care about diamonds if they were as common as shells on the beach.
100% Pure beeswax candles will not be found at big box discount stores. They are too expensive to produce to sell at cut rate prices.
Cost of Materials
When considering the value of beeswax, we first must consider our friend – the honey bee. Worker bees are responsible for making that beautiful natural wax.
Honey bees fly approximately 25,000 miles gathering enough nectar to produce only 1 pound of beeswax.
The effort put into wax production accounts for the higher cost of the candles.
Beekeepers who sell a lot of wax do not harvest as much honey. They have to make a decision in regards to which product they want to produce.
Scientists have been unable to copy the exact structure of this natural wax made by bees- thank goodness. No synthetic beeswax – thank you very much. You can only get it from honey bees.
Different Forms of Beeswax Candles
When making a candle, you can use several different techniques. But you need clean wax and a good wick.
For thousands of years, wick materials were dipped into melted beeswax to create hand dipped tapers. This is still done today.
Containers or molds of every shape imaginable are used to make to create candles in basic shapes or fancy designs. The possibilities are endless. And the rolled wax sheets I mentioned earlier make beautiful gifts.
History of Candle Making
The use of beeswax as a light source goes back thousands of years. In Early American colonial times, it was a special treat to have these in your home.
They were hard to find and in great demand for use on special occasions such as Christmas.
A candle was often used for barter. A beekeeper would trade beeswax for other items needed such as: flour, meat, eggs etc.
The bright light and drip-less nature of beeswax was a pleasant change from the smelly animal fat candle used for everyday.
Not every homestead had bees. But it was a lucky community that had a least 1 beekeeper in the neighborhood.
In fact, if you are feeling really crafty – you can make your own hand dipped beeswax candles!
Why Use Natural Candles?
If they are more expensive than others, why would you want to buy them? Well, sometimes you do get what you pay for. There are certainly some benefits of beeswax candles.
They burn bright and clean with no smoke and few drips. Also, they are naturally long burning without the addition of any hardeners.
Candles made from other types of wax can contain additives to lengthen the burn time.
Considering the longer burn time than conventional candles, the beeswax candle may become an economical choice.
A natural clean light honey fragrance will be present from a natural beeswax candle. They do not need added fragrance that may damage your lungs or irritate sensitive sinuses.
However if you want to make your own , you can add fragrance.
Candle Bloom– You Must Be Kidding Right ?
No Joke. Any candle made from pure beeswax will develop a white coating known as “bloom”. This powdery patina coating is a natural occurrence.
The “bloom” is more pronounced when candles are stored in an area with great changes in temperature. All 100% pure beeswax candles will bloom over time.
If your candle does not bloom and you have not added any type of sealer to try to prevent it, you may not have pure candles.
The white bloom is a highly desirable effect but can be easily polished away with a soft cloth if you wish.
Why Not Conventional Candles?
Paraffin candles are made with highly refined petroleum by-products. Many contain chemicals that are possibly carcinogenic.
Some of these toxic chemicals are released into the air when the candles are burned. (Now I know why that apple pie candle I used to have made my throat itch ).
Also, these candles may have synthetic wicks or those that are zinc-cored. Who knows what kinds of chemicals may be released when that wick burns ?
Marketing managers know that scent sells . Don’t be lured into a purchase that will pollute your home and possibly damage your lungs.
What about Soy Candles ?
Soy Candles are suggested as a good substitution for paraffin. They are certainly more desirable.
And soy is sometimes mixed with beeswax for a variety of reasons. That’s fine as long as you know what you are paying for.
The problem is that candles made from soy may contain preservatives to deter spoilage. Again, this is a step away from the “natural” wax experience.
Also, soy candles are mostly made from genetically modified soy crops . These soy crops are often sprayed with toxic pesticides.
Soy candles are a step above paraffin but they still fall a little below my preference for a natural product.
Are Your Beeswax Candles Pure?
Sorry, we must talk about marketing again for just a moment. It is apparently legal to call a candle beeswax even when it is not 100% pure.
I don’t understand why that is okay but it is true. Always look for candles made with American beeswax.
Wax from other countries may contain toxic chemicals that are not allowed in the US.
Candles made from beeswax are a renewable energy source . This is another great reason to do everything in our power to save the honey bees.
Whether you are buying pure beeswax candles or those mixed with other waxes, know what you are buying.
An you can always learn how to make your own beeswax candles. There are many ways to be creative with them.
No time for crafting? Visit my Etsy store for 100% Beeswax Candles through out the year in limited quantities.