Candles are mesmerizing, don’t you think? When burning a candle I can’t keep my eyes of off them. Not only are candles beautiful when you burn them, they’re also wonderful decoration and aromatherapy. Burning a candle might seem easy, but have you ever wondered where candle wax goes when you burn a candle? Is it safe to breathe in? We’ll explain it today!

So, where does candle wax go when you burn a candle?

When you burn a candle it undergoes a process called combustion. This is a chemical reaction between the candle wax and oxygen to produce heat and light. The flame melts the wax near the wick and draws it up the wick by capillary action.

After the wax reaches the flame it vaporizes into heat, light, water vapor and carbon dioxide. How much of the wax is burned depends on a variety of factors such as the size, the type of wax and how long the candle burns. Rapeseedwax burns up to 80% longer than paraffin candles.

where does candle wax go

Do you breathe in candle wax?

Now that you know that there’s a chemical reaction we can understand your next question: are you breathing in the candle wax? Don’t worry, you’re not breating in candle wax. The combustion process transforms it into a few different compounds such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. How much carbon dioxide releases depends on the wax you use. For example: rapeseed wax releases less carbon dioxide than paraffin candles. When burning a candle these byproducts do get in the air, but in a minimal concentration that is not harmful to breathe in small quantities.

Do not burn low quality candles

Please keep in mind that the quality of your candle does matter a great deal. The amount of candles you burn also matters. Low-quality candles often contain additives or impurities and can potentially release harmful substances in the air. At Canndle we only produce high quality candles that are tested thoroughly and don’t contain harmful additives. Our candles are made from natural vegan rapeseedwax and high quality fragrances. Our wicks are tested to make sure you can enjoy your candle for as long as possible with a healthy meltpool.

Why do candles evaporate, but wax melts don’t?

Both candles and wax melts consist of wax (in our case of vegan rapeseed wax). There’s a difference though. Because wax melts don’t have a wick they require an external heat source. The wax isn’t pulled in to the wick when heated and therefore doesn’t evaporate. This means you can enjoy your wax melts for a longer time, although heating and re-heating the wax does mean it’ll lose it’s scent a little each time.

What can you do to elongate the use of your candle?

Although the quality of the candle is important for the length of the burn, there are some things you can do to elongate the use. Make sure you burn your candle for at least two to three hours when you first burn it (or as long as it takes to reach a full meltpool). Trim the wick after each burn, because a longer wick will create more black soot and a larger flame. Are you ready to buy a candle that you’ll enjoy for a long, long time?

Candles can be made from different types of wax. A lot of candles are made from paraffin or stearin. But with the growing number of people wanting to be sustainable and plant-based these candles are not the best option. Soy wax and rapeseed wax are both plant-based types of wax. But there are a few differences between them.

Different types of wax

As we already mentioned there are different types of wax: plant-based or not. You’ve already heard of paraffin, which is still the most used wax for candles at the moment. Other types of wax are:

  • Soy wax
  • Rapeseed wax
  • Coconut wax
  • Beeswax
  • Paraffin
  • Gel wax

Soy wax

Soy wax is a plant-based wax and is used by a lot of candle makers that want a plant-based option. This wax is made from soybeans and is a lot more eco-friendly than paraffin. But the soybean industry is responsible for a lot of deforestation and uses a lot of pesticides. Furthermore are the soybeans mostly produced in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. For candlemakers such as ourself, that are based in Europe, this doesn’t reduce the carbon footprint of our business because it has to travel far to our studio.

Rapeseed wax

Rapeseed wax is made from the rapeseed flower and therefore a plant-based wax. You’ll see this little yellow flower in a lot of places, but it’s extensively cultivated in Canada, France, Belgium, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Poland.  Our supplier is based in Belgium, whereas we ourselves are based in the Netherlands. Rapeseed wax is the most eco-friendly choice for us with a lower carbon footprint than soy wax for example. Furthermore, the bees love the rapeseed flower and growing more rapeseed will help the bees. Rapeseed wax offers a longer burning time and it mixes great with fragrance and has a great scent-throw.

Soy wax vs. rapeseed wax

Coconut wax

This is a newer type of wax and is harvested from coconuts. Therefore it’s also a plant-based wax. Because coconuts are a high-yield type of crop it’s a very sustainable wax. It’s a more expensive type of wax, just like rapeseed wax but it’s very sustainable if you live in North America. When used in Europe the carbon footprint is a lot higher, as the wax has to travel to Europe.


Beeswax comes from bees during the honey making process and is an eco-friendly wax. It’s said that it helps purify the air when burned, but there is no scientific proof for this claim. Beeswax produces less soot, but generally doesn’t really hold fragrance well.


This is the most used type of candle wax because it is cheap to produce and holds fragrance really well. Paraffin comes from petroleum, oil and coal shale. When burned it releases toxic chemicals as toluene, which is a benzene derative and is known to be carcinogen for humans. Sometimes stearin is added to paraffin wax to extend the burning time. Stearin can come from animal fat or it can be plant-based.


Gelwax is a transparent wax that has a cute look to it. This wax isn’t actually wax at all, because it is made from resin and mineral oils. It’s similar in holding fragrance and burning time, but is mostly used in novelty candles to resemble water or any other liquid.

Why don’t we work with soy wax?

There are a few reasons we prefer working with rapeseed wax over working with soy wax. Rapeseed wax has a number of benefits:

  • It’s more sustainable, as we already explained it’s produced locally.
  • Longer burning time, because rapeseedwax has a higher melting point than soy wax.
  • Allergen-fre, because it doesn’t come from a tree nut or legume.
  • Cleaner burn, rapeseed wax produces less soot when burned.
  • Better fragrance throw, it releases more fragrance when burned.

Want to try a rapeseed wax candle?

Of course there’s no good and bad in making candles. Canndle chose rapeseed wax because it best fits our business and ideology. Want to try a scented candle? You can find them here.

Or take a look at our newest products below