Cheapest Wax for Candle Making: When the Budget is Tight

There are numerous candle making waxes available in the market, and most of them are expensive because of the overall cost of their production. But a wonderful hobby of candle making shouldn’t be hindered by the high cost of ingredients when you can purchase cheaper ones. That’s when paraffin wax comes into play. It is an inexpensive yet trusted wax that has been around for many years now. 

Paraffin wax is the cheapest candle making wax in the market. It is a soft, colorless solid that is a byproduct of crude oil and versatile wax. It holds colors and fragrances well and is suitable for any type of candle. However, paraffin wax is not an eco-friendly choice for candles. 

This article will talk about the cheapest yet most popular candle making wax, paraffin wax, and its amazing characteristics as a versatile wax. We will also talk about how this wax is obtained from its source, some factors affecting its low price, and reasons why you would or would not want to use paraffin wax for your candles. Lastly, you will find some interesting candle wax alternatives for your candles. 

Paraffin Wax: The Cheapest Candle Wax in the Market

Paraffin wax is considered the cheapest candle making wax. But it doesn’t mean that it has the least strength among all the waxes. Many candle making companies still use paraffin wax despite its bad reputation for chemical content. 

The Inexpensive but Versatile Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax comes from petroleum, coal, or oil shale and is used in many applications such as candles, cosmetics, and even medicine. They are usually white, translucent, tasteless, and odorless in a solid state. They may also feel hard, brittle, and slightly dry when touched.

When melted, paraffin wax is a clear, colorless liquid of low viscosity, increasing its volume by five to eight percent and decreasing density. The first recorded use of paraffin wax was in 1867 when scientists discovered that petroleum solidifies upon cooling, creating a low-melting-point candle wax.

Paraffin is scraped from the oil refineries and bleached by adding dioxin and textured by acrolyn, a known carcinogen. It is then mixed with animal-based stearic acid, a byproduct of the meat packing slaughterhouses, hardening the wax for candle making.

Although often named as unhealthy candle wax, paraffin wax is still one of the most popular and used waxes in candle making. It has stable properties that make it the best sought-after wax by candle makers. 

Its Latin name parum means too little, and affinis, meaning akin, directly translates to too little relation to other substrates.  This means the stable properties of paraffin wax are a great advantage because it does not react to many chemicals. It also does chemically react to concentrated alkaline and acid. 

It is also highly resistant to water and vapor and has a glossy appearance that candle makers love. 

Paraffin is also known as slack wax, a byproduct of oil refinement, which is unpleasant for all reasons, from its smell, appearance, down to its numerous impurities. But with the help of chemistry, manufacturers are able to transform this wax into a convenient candle making wax, meeting 0.5% or lower oil content. At this rate, it will have FDA approval to contact food sources.

The fully refined paraffin wax is perfect for candle making, from its appropriate melting temperature, moisture content, and perfect white color. As a versatile candle making wax, it can produce any type of candle and would easily accept colors, allowing for more vibrant ones. 

Paraffin candles are considered to have one of the best scent throws in all candle making waxes, making them perfect for scented candles and any fragrance you would want to incorporate.

Although inexpensive, paraffin wax is already considered one of the best candle wax in the market. Many big stores use paraffin because of its great performance, stability, consistency, and suitability for greater production. Not only is paraffin versatile in itself, but it is also often combined with other natural waxes to help maximize both waxes’ candle benefits.

Paraffin wax does not have rigid curing requirements (continuous hardening of candle wax). It only takes 24 to 48 hours, while other candle waxes may require up to a week of curing. It also distributes fragrance oils evenly throughout the candle.

Paraffin Wax with Different Melting Points

It is essential to know the melting point of the candle wax. This way, we may avoid overheating wax, which may affect our candles. It is also good to know that paraffin wax is made with different melting points, which stresses their strength in candle making. The varied melting points would tell you what candle type is best suited and each designated melting point’s characteristics. 

High Melt Point Paraffin Wax

High melt point paraffin wax is a harder type of wax that provides more structure and rigidity to candles. It is best suited for candles like cylindrical, hand-dipped, molded, and sculpted gift candles. However, the higher melting point would not allow the fragrance to remain well in the candles.

The melting point of this type of wax is at 145 degrees Fahrenheit or 63 degrees Celsius. The higher melting point is a great advantage in making various types of candles. As the wax is heated at a high temperature, it also increases its chances of not cooling quickly, which may cause wet spots to container candles. 

When candles cool, they tend to shrink because of the temperature change, but with high melt point paraffin wax, they would not cool quickly; therefore, no shrinking would happen. 

Medium Melt Point Paraffin Wax

Medium melt point paraffin wax is commonly used for votives and container candles. Its melting point is 127-145 degrees Fahrenheit or 53-63 degrees Celsius. This type of wax is harder than the low melt point paraffin wax and holds shape better. It is also good at holding fragrances, but additives are still needed to achieve great scent throw.

The lumpy candle wax needs to be cut into small pieces before melting to ensure that all wax parts are evenly melted before pouring. 

Low Melt Point Paraffin Wax

This wax’s melting point is lower than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, 127 degrees Fahrenheit or 53 degrees Celsius, to be exact. Low melt point paraffin wax is soft and adheres well to containers, making it best for container and tealight candles.

The wax holds fragrances so well that it lasts until the candle burns out. However, it is more difficult to work with and produces more soot than other waxes. 

Factors Contributing to Paraffin Wax’s Low Price

We’ve been told many times that paraffin wax is by far the least expensive candle wax and if your budget is tight, this is the wax for you. Now, let us talk about what makes paraffin wax inexpensive and how these factors affect its price in the market. 

The Easy Process of Obtaining the Wax

Natural waxes like beeswax and soy wax undergo a more meticulous process than paraffin. The easy process of obtaining the wax makes it inexpensive. Although it comes at a lower price, many candle making companies still use it for their candles because of its non-reactive properties. It can be enhanced to its full candle wax potential by adding other chemicals. 

In the last section, you will know how easy manufacturers are able to obtain paraffin and turn it into a candle making wax. 

Paraffin Wax is Easily Available

Paraffin candles are dominant in the candle making industry. It is cheaper to manufacture compared to other natural candles. Paraffin is a byproduct during the production of lubricating oils. It is produced from processing crude oil to make petroleum products for fuel airplanes, cars, and trucks. It is also used in the medicine and plastic industry.

Since the processing of crude oil, where paraffin came from, is done for many purposes and industries, the production is always massive. Hence, the byproduct, paraffin, is also produced in larger amounts. High supply means high availability equating to a lower price.

Processing of Crude Oil for Many Purposes

Crude oil is processed for many purposes, one of which is harvesting paraffin wax. You remove the paraffin content from crude oil for candle making, and the remaining content is used for jet fuel, diesel, and lubricating oils. 

Producing many byproducts from one source lessens the cost of production, hence implicating lower prices. 

Paraffin Wax is the Cheapest Compared to Other Natural Waxes

Natural waxes like soy wax and beeswax need additives and undergo processes that cost a lot in their production. These natural waxes are specially processed to make candle wax, unlike paraffin which is a byproduct.

When compared, beeswax candles could cost up to ten times more than paraffin candles. If you purchase ten-pound beeswax, it will cost you $90 or more and $33 for soy wax of the same amount. While in paraffin wax, you can get ten pounds for as low as $18. 

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Cheap Wax for Candle Making

There are so many reasons why candle makers still resolve to use paraffin wax, but there are more reasons why they don’t. Here are some primary reasons you should avoid using inexpensive wax for your candles. 

Paraffin Wax Causes Eye Irritation to Some People

As science evolves, the study of paraffin wax’s content is more open to the public. Anyone who would search on the web would know to avoid using paraffin wax because of its unhealthy reputation. 

Paraffin wax is reported to have caused itching, tearing, and soreness to some. This happens upon lighting up a paraffin candle, and the smoke and fumes from the candle cause these symptoms. It may not be the same for everyone, and the symptoms often happen to people who have high sensitivity to chemicals. 

Paraffin Wax Can Harm Your Respiratory System

Paraffin candles, when lit, release harmful chemicals into the air. The black soot and toxic fumes are like inhaling diesel fumes. When inhaled, these fumes may cause serious health problems to some, considering the list of toxic chemicals paraffin wax candles contains.

Benzene, toluene, naphthalene, tri-decane, tetra-decane, penta-decane, and hexadecane are only some of the toxic chemicals found in paraffin candles. These chemicals are often associated with asthma, allergic reactions, and worsening of respiratory conditions. So, if you have any allergies, it is better to get away from paraffin candles. 

Paraffin Wax Irritates Your Skin

Paraffin wax is also used in beauty products and cosmetics, so you may think that the wax is safe for your skin. However, the wax used in candle making may be more harmful than those found in beauty products and are not designed to soothe your skin.

Irritation may come from the fumes released by paraffin candles which causes itching or worsen existing skin problems for some. 

Paraffin Wax Does Not Have a Sustainable Source

Crude oil, paraffin’s origin, comes from natural sources like any other natural wax. However, crude oil is a non-renewable natural source that may run out of supply with its continuous use. This source would be depleted one day, ending the existence of paraffin candles. 

Another good reason to stray away from using this cheap wax is the process of its production. The harvest of crude oil is not environment friendly, and the collection process may damage natural habitats causing pollution to other natural resources.

Furthermore, the harmful chemicals produced may cause air and water pollution because of the hazardous waste produced from the refining processes dumped in different water bodies. 

Healthy Candle Making Wax Alternatives

Soy wax, beeswax, and palm wax are among the most popular all-natural candle wax guaranteed to be environmentally friendly and healthy.

Soy wax is a vegetable wax that comes from soybean oil. Soy candles are known to burn slower and cleaner and not produce harmful chemicals when burned. It is also affordable and has a subtle scent throw, perfect for softer candle scents.

Beeswax, the oldest known candle wax, is sourced from bees and is considered the healthiest candle wax to burn. It is smokeless and sootless and helps purify the air with its natural honey scent.

As the sources are rare and production costs a lot, beeswax is one expensive wax, which requires a lot of time and resources to produce. Only a pound of wax is produced by a hundred pounds of honey harvested.

Palm wax, a soft creamy white-colored candle wax extracted from coconut oil, is another natural alternative for your candles. It is environmentally friendly and with high sustainability. Palm wax candles burn slowly and have a great cold and hot throw. However, it is expensive because of its luxurious properties. 

Process of Obtaining Paraffin Wax

In this section, we will talk about how paraffin wax comes out of crude oil.

Crude oil is not automatically ready for use once it is collected. It is made of various chemical compounds and needs to be refined to get rid of the other compounds and be used in different products. 

Paraffin wax is one of the natural compounds found in crude oil. Crude oil is not usable with wax, so it will undergo dewaxing to remove the paraffin content from it. Paraffin wax will undergo further processes after being removed from the crude oil. These processes depend on where the paraffin wax will be used, such as candle making, soap, cosmetics, or medicine. 

Conclusion 

As the main ingredient for candles, candle making wax needs to be premium quality. And high quality does not always mean expensive. As for the case of paraffin wax, it is considered the cheapest candle making wax, but many luxury candle brands still choose to use it or mix it with other waxes. It’s just a matter of determining which would work for you and which would not. Expensive or not, quality always comes first for candles. 

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