Where Does the Wax Go When You Burn a Candle? (and why it's important)
Everyone knows that when you burn a candle, the wax disappears as the candle burns down, but have you ever wondered where the wax goes when you burn your candle? If so, you’re in luck! There’s a science to burning candles just like anything else. Keep reading to find out the answers to your burning candle questions and to learn in simple terms how candles work when you burn them.
Does Candle Wax Burn or Evaporate?
The first thing you might wonder about candle wax is whether it burns up, evaporates, or if something else happens. When you light the wick of your new Jackpot candle, the flame’s heat melts the wax beginning at the base of the wick. As the wax around the base melts, it produces fuel for the flame, which continues to feed on that melted wax. This is when a process called the capillary action starts. During the capillary action the following things happen:
the heat of the flame draws the melted wax up the wick
when it gets there the flame vaporizes the wax into a hot gas
the gas is expelled into the air as both oxygen and hydrogen
oxygen in the air mixes with the gas
the chemical reaction or combustion creates light, heat, water, and CO2
This whole process creates heat that melts more wax as it burns, which provides fuel for the flame of your candle until you blow the candle out or the candle wax evaporates and there is nothing left but the empty jar. So, the candle wax converts to a hot gas and evaporates as it burns. Now you know but knowing always leads to more questions. Listed below are a few more common questions about your candle and how it burns.
Is It Safe to Breathe in Soy Wax as It Burns?
Now that you know what happens to candle wax when it burns, you may be wondering how that affects the air you breathe. Clean air is so important to your health as well as the health of your family and pets, so that’s a great question!
One of the reasons that Jackpot candles are made from 100% soy wax is because it’s a safer, more environmentally friendly choice when it comes to candle wax. Because soybeans are biodegradable and renewable, they can be farmed in a responsible way that doesn’t impact the environment in the same way that conventional paraffin (petroleum) wax does. Also, 100% soy wax produces less soot when burned, which keeps your candle jar and surfaces clean just like the air in your home.
It’s important to know that at Jackpot we use 100% soy wax and NOT a soy wax blend that often contains other materials like animal or vegetable byproducts. We like to know everything that’s in your candle from the wax and essential oils for scent to the wick, so we never use blended wax.
Why is My Candle’s Flame So High?
Now that you know more about what happens to the wax in your candle when you light it, you may have noticed other things, like a high or instable flame as your candle burns. One of the best ways to make sure that you get the most out of your candle and don’t burn it up too quickly or unevenly is to make sure that your wick is properly trimmed. Jackpot candles use two kinds of wicks:
If your candle has a cotton wick (or several cotton wicks for larger candles) make sure to trim the wick to about 1/4” before you light it. This will keep the flame low and slow burning and prevent the wax from burning too quickly, unevenly, and helps to prevent tunneling in the wax.
If your candle has a wood wick, it is less likely that you will have to trim it, but the same rule still applies. If the flame is too high, blow out the candle and when it’s cool, trim the wick to about 1/4" height and then relight.
No matter what kind of candle you have or what type of wick is set inside, knowing more about the products you use in your home is always the way to go. Safe, clean, green products are best for your health and the health of the planet too so enjoy your Jackpot candles knowing that it’s a high quality product that you can feel good about!
(Recipe credits: New York Times’ Classic Hot Chocolate recipe by Melissa Clark; Shaken Together’s French Vanilla Hot Cocoa recipe by Melissa Riker; Tasty’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate recipe by Ellie Holland; Well Plated’s French Hot Chocolate recipe by Erin Clarke)
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