Frequently Asked Questions
: FAQ :: Frequently Asked Questions


How are candles made?

Although modern technology has introduced greater efficiencies in candle-making, our candles are made through the timeless process of placing a cotton wick into moulds, which are then hand poured with hot liquid wax.

How many types of candles are there, and what are the typical ingredients?

A candle consists primarily of wax and a wick. Candles may also contain colorants, fragrances and minor additives. The basic candle types are tapers, tealights, votives, pillars, jar or container candles, floating candles, outdoor candles, novelty candles, utility candles, and birthday candles.

What sort of chemical reaction occurs when a candle burns?

When you light a candle, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick. This melted or liquid wax is then drawn up into the wick by capillary action. The flame's heat vaporizes the liquid wax to produce water vapor and carbon dioxide (the same by products that humans produce when exhaling).

What kinds of waxes are typically used in candles?

The most commonly used candle wax is paraffin. Beeswax, plant/vegetable wax, and synthetic waxes are also frequently used in candles. Different blends of these waxes are used by National Candles.

Are certain candle waxes better than others?

No. All types of quality candle waxes have been shown to burn cleanly, safely and in the same manner. National Candles select only the best quality waxes or blends of waxes based on their suitability for specific types of candles or formulation profiles, as well as their own candle-making preferences.

Is paraffin wax toxic?

No. Paraffin wax - like all candle waxes - is non-toxic. In fact, the paraffin wax used by National Candles is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food, cosmetics, and medical applications.  National Candles only use fully refined, food & cosmetic grade paraffin wax for manufacturing candles.  

What causes a candle to smoke, and what can I do to correct it?

A well-made candle will create virtually no smoke when burning properly. However, if the wick becomes too long, or an air current disturbs the flame's teardrop shape, small amounts of unburned carbon particles (soot) will escape from the flame as a visible wisp of smoke. Any candle will soot if the flame is disturbed.

To avoid this, always trim the wick to 5mm before every use and be sure to place candles away from drafts, vents or air currents. If a candle continually flickers or smokes, it is not burning properly and should be extinguished. Allow the candle to cool, trim the wick, make sure the area is draft free, then re-light.  

Is candle soot harmful?

No. The minuscule amount of soot produced by a candle is the natural byproduct of incomplete combustion. Candle soot is composed primarily of elemental carbon particles, and is similar to the soot given off by kitchen toasters and cooking oils. These everyday household sources of soot are not considered a health concern, and are chemically different from the soot formed by the burning of diesel fuel, coal, gasoline, etc.

How long should I burn a candle?

Maximum burn times vary from candle to candle. Always extinguish a candle if the flame gets too close to the candle holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when half an inche of wax remains.

Are candles made with "natural" ingredients or essential oils safer?

A natural ingredient, as opposed to a manufactured or synthesized ingredient, is not necessarily any safer. In fact, scores of natural ingredients are known to be extremely toxic to humans in very small amounts. National Candles are committed to manufacturing candles only with ingredients known to be safe and approved for use in candles, whether "natural" or synthesized.

Is my candle biodegradable?

Yes. Studies have shown that beeswax, paraffin and plant/vegetable-based waxes are biodegradable. All of our candles are made from these waxes.

Are plant/vegetable-based waxes water soluble?

No. By definition, a wax is not soluble in water.

Why do some candles have metal-core wicks?

Metal-core wicks are sometimes used in various candles to keep the wick upright when the surrounding wax liquefies during burning. Today's metal-core wicks are made with either zinc or tin. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown both zinc- and tin-core wicks to be safe and non-toxic. However wicks used by National Candles only contain paper cores to provide wick stability.

What should I know about using candles safely?

Candles are safe when burned properly and responsibly. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that a burning candle is an open flame, and thus a potential fire hazard if not monitored carefully.

When burning candles, consumers should follow these basic safety rules:

Keep lighted candles within your sight. Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.

Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.

Trim wicks to 5mm prior to each use.

Keep candles away from drafts and vents.

Always use an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface.



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