We loooove candles….but were shocked to discover recently that burning scented candles in your house releases dangerous chemicals into the air!
Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct made by chemically bleaching and deodorising petroleum waste – urghh. Does that sound like something you want to breathe in while you settle into a cosy evening at home? I don’t think so.
When burned, paraffin releases soot and volatile cancer causing chemicals, some of the same things found in diesel fuel emissions! I took a picture of one of my (expensive and supposedly ‘natural’) candles that I was using before to illustrate how much soot was accumulating on the container. When I properly looked up how this company make their candles, it turns out they are not natural at all!
Most commercial candles are scented with synthetic fragrances and release formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene and esters into the air which can cause things like headaches, dizziness and allergies, to name a few…
After learning all this, there was just no way candles were going to fit into our quest for our healthiest and happiest life. But life is not about missing out either! We didn’t want to give up our cosy, candlelit evenings in!
Luckily, after a bit more research we found the healthy alternative: soy wax candles scented with 100% pure essential oils.
Why soy wax and essential oils? Soy wax melts at a low temperature and is an extremely clean burning wax, releasing much less soot into the air and none of the toxic chemicals of paraffin wax. Essential oils, if you buy high quality, 100% pure versions, are completely natural and non-toxic, and smell absolutely amazing. I didn’t even realise how artificial the synthetic candles smelled until I compared them to a naturally scented candle, it’s like comparing toilet spray to a bunch of fresh flowers!
You can buy naturally scented soy candles of course, but they are pretty pricey so why not make your own…
What you need:
- Soy wax flakes
- 100% cotton wicks with base, stickies and wick holder
- 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil – I used Bergamot and Orange
- Glass containers of your choice (for my first couple of candles I actually reused the glass containers my old dirty candles from the came in. Wash them well first! Otherwise, you can buy new ones like these
- A big stainless steel pot and a smaller stainless steel pot or pyrex bowl
- Measuring jug and scale
- If you plan on making several candles at one time, you will need additional wick holders, unless you’re not too bothered about how straight the wick is.
1.Fill your chosen container/s with wax flakes to the level you want the wax to come up to (leaving some headroom for the wick), empty into your smaller pot or bowl and repeat, i.e. you need two times the amount of wax for each container you use.
2. Add a sticky tab to the base of your wick/s and stick them to the base of your jar/glass container. Top tip: to more easily see where the centre of the container base is, turn your container upside down and stick the wick in base first.
6. Use your wick holder to secure the wick in place
7. Turn down the heat on your stove so your boiling water reduces to a simmer and place your pot or bowl of soy wax on top, stirring occasionally. Soy wax can set on fire if it gets too hot, hence the reason for this gentle melting approach. Try not to stir vigorously as you do not want to incorporate any air into the mixture.
8. When the wax is completely melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool down. While you’re waiting, warm up your candle container/s by placing them into a warmer drawer or by standing them in some shallow very hot water in a tray/shallow dish.
If you have a thermometer you can check the precise temperature of your wax. You want it to be 80 degrees Celsius when you add your essential oils. This is because if it is any hotter, the essential oils will start to evaporate and you will have a candle that doesn’t have as much scent. You don’t want the wax to be too cool though as you will not get as good a pour.
9. Add your essential oils and mix gently. You want to add about 85 drops of essential oil (5ml) per cup of wax, you can add more if you want a strongly scented candle (15ml per 250ml wax) or even leave out the essential oil altogether.
10. Pour your wax carefully into your waiting container and allow to cool at room temperature.
11. Cut your wick down to size and enjoy!
This article contains affiliate links to products I have sourced, bought and tested myself. Feel free to find similar alternatives elsewhere if you prefer.