As the temperature outside drops, many of us light a candle to bring warmth inside our homes. Setting a table for friends and family, or drawing a hot bath for a solitary moment, we bring a special ambience by lighting a candle.
Paraffin is a by-product of petroleum distillation, and as such can be contaminated with a number of toxic compounds. At a dollar for a taper, or 50 cents for a tealight, paraffin might seem like a good option. But what exactly are we releasing into the environment of our homes? Paraffin is a by-product of petroleum distillation, and as such can be contaminated with a number of toxic compounds. The EPA warns that candles emit carcinogens such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and acrolein. Candles with metal wicks often contain lead, which is released when burnt.
Beeswax candles offer a beautiful alternative. Used for centuries, they create a warm golden glow.
Light a single taper in a dark room and be amazed at how much it illuminates. It is also a slower burning wax. While the price of a beeswax candle may appear higher than a conventional paraffin candle, it is actually more economical in the long run.
Because it releases negative ions, beeswax candles are believed to actually help clean the air. The internet is full of anecdotes from allergy and asthma sufferers, sharing stories of dramatic symptom amelioration.
Where does beeswax come from? Bees produce the wax in order to seal honey inside the comb. It is harvested by beekeepers along with the honey.
At a time when bees are facing a population crisis, choosing beeswax supports the beekeepers who are fighting for the survival of these crucial pollinators.
In Ontario, we are also lucky to be able to buy beeswax as a local product, helping to sustain our regional economy and food security.
It is important to mention that, in order to get the most from your beeswax candle, it will need a little tending. First of all, choose the best candle for your needs. A taper is always the lowest maintenance option. A pillar must be allowed to form a sufficient melt pool in order to avoid “tunneling” – usually at least one hour. Let it get as close to the outside edge as possible without spilling over. Extinguish pillar and votive candles by gently dunking the wick into the melt pool. This ensures immediate extinguishing. If wicks are left to smolder, they can be charred and difficult to re-light. Always trim the wick to ½ inch. Remember that beeswax burns hotter than paraffin or vegetable wax, so put tealights on a heat-proof surface, and leave plenty of room above the flame.
For vegans who prefer to avoid all animal products, The Big Carrot also has a wide selection of soy, palm, and coconut wax candles. Soy and coconut, with their lower melting points and creamy consistencies, can also be used as massage candles.
Always remember never to leave a burning candle unattended!
Written By Meadow Rose, Body Care Buyer