If you haven’t yet tried soy wax melts instead of your traditional paraffin candles, you might have questions about them. If you have young children, pets or live with elderly relatives, you might want to ask about health and safety.
So, are soy wax melts safe and non-toxic? The short answer is yes. Soy wax melts are much safer than their alternatives such as paraffin wax melts and are 100% non-toxic if you buy from reputable companies. The only thing to watch for is allergies to any added essential or fragrance oils.
Let’s take a look at the safety of soy wax melts in more detail.
What is soy wax?
First things first, we need to look at the ingredients of soy wax. Soy wax is a natural product derived from soybeans. It is hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is solid at room temperature.
When soybeans are harvested, they are cleaned, cracked and dehulled before being rolled into flakes.
Once in flake form, the oil can be extracted and hydrogenated. Through hydrogenation, the fatty acids in the soybean oil become ‘saturated’, which alters its melting point.
This makes it solid when at room temperature. Often, the soybean husks are used for animal feed.
Why is soy wax safer for you?
Unlike paraffin, soy wax is made entirely from plant material. Paraffin, on the other hand, is made from petroleum, a derivative of crude oil.
When paraffin wax is melted or burned, it produces dangerous by-products, including carcinogens.
Often, people who burn or melt paraffin wax complain of headaches (check out my guide to headaches caused by wax melts and candles) . While some people believe this is due to the scent of a candle, it can actually be due to the chemicals released into the air. Soy wax doesn’t release harmful chemicals.
Safer for the environment
Petroleum-derived paraffin wax is made from crude oil, a fossil fuel. Almost everyone on the planet knows how bad fossil fuels are. When burned, they produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, which is bad for the planet as it contributes heavily to global warming.
Burning paraffin candles, obviously, isn’t as bad as flying around the world on a jet plane. However, the origins of paraffin are undeniable and if there is a demand for paraffin wax candles, they will be made.
Soy wax melts are safer for the environment because they are made from a plant wax. This makes them safer for children, pets, and the elderly too.
For more information on the different types of waxes used in candles and wax melts please check out my helpful guide.
How soy wax melts are made
Soy wax comes in pellet or flake form. It has an opaque, creamy and off-white appearance. The process of making soy wax melts is delicate: the temperature needs to be correct throughout the procedure.
If it isn’t, any colours or scents that are added in won’t bond properly with the wax. As a result, the scent might not be strong enough when the wax melt is used.
For this reason, soy wax melt manufacturers have to be really patient to ensure the soy wax melts reach the correct temperature before colour and scent are added. By following strict recipes, the scent and quality will always be the same.
If you would like to know more about how to use wax melts I have a great indepth guide.
Sourcing soy wax melts
While soy wax is much better for the environment, it isn’t without fault. Over the last couple of decades, the popularity of soy has grown enormously.
This has led to the growth of soybean farms on an industrial scale, often having negative impacts on the environment and local societies.
There are varying practices to how soy is produced. Some places use smallholders growing GM-free soybeans, but the majority of producers are on the larger scale.
Finally, if you see a manufacturer selling soy wax melts, you should still check the ingredients. A product only needs to have 51% soy to be labelled as such.
Some may have a mixture of other waxes, like paraffin, which you might be trying to avoid. Soy wax melts might also contain artificial scents and colours.
So, when sourcing your soy wax melts, always look for a reputable manufacturer that uses sustainable, GM-free soy and other natural ingredients.
I recommend these Soy wax melts from Amazon, they are 100% soy and use quality fragrance oils, these are tried and tested.
Are wax melts safer than candles?
Wax melts are so much safer than candles for several reasons. First things first, they are often used in electric wax warmers that have no naked flames.
This is ideal for every home, but especially for people who live with children, pets or the elderly. Even the burners that do have naked flames often have them surrounded and protected from being accidentally touched or knocked.
In terms of the wax itself, even paraffin wax melts are safer than burning paraffin wax candles. This is because the wax is only melted, rather than burned.
With a candle, the wax melts, evaporates, and then the vapour is burned. With paraffin candles, this produces harmful chemicals that exacerbate and cause asthma, lung damage, and can increase a person’s cancer risk over time. This is why many people opt for more natural waxes like soy wax, beeswax, and palm wax.
When we melt wax in a burner, the temperature is also lower than having a naked flame. Since the scent is the only thing that evaporates, you’re not breathing in any hazardous ingredients or chemicals. The wax stays behind in the burner.
How safe are wax melt burners?
Even though the danger of fire is eliminated with an electric wax melt burner, you should still not leave it burning for a long time nor leave it unattended.
Just as with any electrical equipment, there are hazards to be aware of, including overheating, trip hazards, electrocution, wire damage etc.
You should never leave your electric wax melt burner near or on anything that could catch fire, like paper, fabric or near curtains, for example.
You should also make sure that the wax burner is well ventilated and that the wax pool is free from foreign objects. Finally, never move a wax burner while it is switched on, or while the wax in the top is molten.
Are soy wax melts safe for cats and dogs?
Obviously, you should never let cats and dogs get hold of wax melts, but are wax melts safe for cats and dogs? If you’re melting soy wax melts around your pets, you have no reason to worry, provided that they’re 100% natural products and contain no paraffin or harmful chemicals.
With electric wax burners, there is a low-watt light bulb that is hot enough to melt your wax but it won’t burn you, your pets or your children if they come into contact with it.
The beauty of soy wax is that it has a low melting point that is just above your body temperature. This means that you don’t actually need to heat it a lot to enjoy the effects of a soy wax melt.
Final thoughts – are soy wax melts safe and non-toxic?
If you’re worried about the safety of wax melts, the best choice to go for is soy wax melts with an electric wax burner.
As we’ve seen, soy wax is much safer and more environmentally friendly than paraffin wax.
As it is plant-based and made from a natural substance, there are no toxins or harmful chemicals released when it burns.
What’s more, when used as a wax melt, the soy wax melts just enough to release the scent. Soy wax is especially good as a wax melt because it has a low melting point and so doesn’t need a high temperature to become molten.
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