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The Basics of Candles: A Breakdown

As a common household item, candles seem like a rather straightforward product to many. Perhaps with second thought you will realize that there is a lot that you do not know about candles. Have you ever thought about what goes into a candle? How is it possible for a candle to burn? What is the math behind how long a candle burns? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.

How do candles work?

This is a straightforward question with a surprisingly deep answer. Put simply, a candle burns because of a combustion reaction. When you light the wick of a candle, the wax around the wick is heated up and begins to melt. This wax is then brought up the wick. As the liquid wax gets warmer, it breaks down and turns to gas. There is a lot more behind the science of a candle, but this is a simple explanation.

What are candles made of?

There are several different materials that you might be using to make a candle. At the Spirit of Wicks, we use soy wax to create our handmade candles. However, there are many other options. Most candles are made from paraffin wax, but there is also beeswax, gel wax, palm wax, and coconut wax.

What is the best wax for candles?

Soy wax is a great option for those who want an environmentally conscious candle. Paraffin wax is for those who want a cheap, easy-to-find ingredient. If you are looking for a natural, clean, and sustainable candle option, then go with coconut or soy wax. Soy wax is 100% natural, vegan, and eco-friendly. Beeswax is relatively expensive but is all natural. Determining your priorities will help you to understand the best wax type for your personal needs. There are a number of great resources out there to help you know which wax type will be best for you.

How long do candles last?

Tough question. As a general rule, you can expect 5-9 hours of burn time for each ounce of wax in your candle. As you might have suspected, this will depend on a number of different factors. The size of the candle, wick type, and wax type will have a huge impact on the burn time. Fortunately, the more environmentally friendly candle options result in a longer burn time. This means that a paraffin or even a paraffin-soy combo will burn for a shorter time when compared to a soy or coconut wax.

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