90 percent of the candle types on the market are made from paraffin. This is a petroleum-based product that is unbeatable in terms of price. The environmental balance, however, looks much worse than that of a beeswax candle or a candle made from stearin or soy wax.
The manufacturing processes are also different. The powder pressing process is the cheapest, while scented candles are of the highest quality. The casting process is suitable for stearin and beeswax.
Beeswax is the most expensive candle material with the longest burning time. Honeybees secrete the wax to build their honeycombs. The natural product has always been the most expensive. Wax melts may only be designated as such if the burning mass consists of beeswax without any admixture.
With the development of the oil industry, the by-product paraffin was created – the most important raw material for candle production. The paraffin is obtained from mineral oil, has a low melting point, and therefore burns faster. Since paraffin is cheaper than stearin, higher quality paraffin candles are added to stearin for greater strength and longer burning times. Critics complain that burning the candle, which contains paraffin, creates health-endangering substances such as alkanes, alkenes, ketones, toluene, or benzene.
The differences between the individual candle types
The differences between the individual candle types can already be seen in the composition. Paraffin is an artificial material, while stearin, beeswax, and soy wax are natural. The latter are correspondingly more expensive, but you can be sure that there are no harmful substances and carcinogenic emissions when they are burned. This looks different from paraffin.
Other differences can be seen in whether the candles are dyed through or surrounded by a coloured wax coat: the latter often have better drip resistance because the colour coat is more heat-resistant than the white wax inside.
Pollutants pollute indoor air
When burning candles, different pollutants are created. Fine particles rise into the air when they burn up and can be inhaled. It is important to ventilate well after lighting a candle. However, the pollution from candle waxes is rather low. The decisive factor is the correct handling of the candles, whether made from paraffin, stearin, or beeswax.
How long does a candle burn?
A candle burns seven to ten grams of its mass per hour, explains the candle quality association. It can also go a little faster, for example, if some of the candles are too close together. Because then a lot of heat develops, so that the candles may also deform. Therefore, the experts advise a distance of at least ten centimetres between the individual candles.
You should be particularly careful with fragrances that are added to candles: Even those candles that are considered safe for test laboratories can be difficult for allergy sufferers or cause headaches, chronic respiratory diseases, and nausea in sensitive people. Pets usually also suffer from fumes. You should refrain from buying scented candles, especially in countries outside the EU; the pollutant regulations here can be very lax.