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Soy Candle Wax Troubleshooting

Scents Soaps and Candles have put together a troubleshooting guide for when you make your soy wax candles and you think that they don’t quite look right. We have put together a list below of the most common issues that you might run into when you are making soy wax candles:

1. Frosting – This is when you end up with a white-ish chalky coating that forms on the sides and tops of your finished soy candles. This happens when you get a growth of small crystals that form on the top and the sides of the soy wax. You will discover that over a period of time that all soy wax will frost as it is a common byproduct of the natural wax. However the good thing is that frosting does not affect the quality or performance of your soy candle it is only an aesthetic problem. To help reduce frosting you should:-

Don’t mix as hard – You can reduce the effects of frosting by mixing your melted wax less vigorously. You will find that if you mix your melted soy wax too hard that it can result in the speeding up of the  crystallization process, which is what causes the frosting appearance.

Warm up your glass containers – If you warm up your candle glass containers (preheating) you will find that this can sometimes reduce the effects of frosting. Simply preheat your glass container before you pour your melted soy wax into it. 

Pour your soy wax at a lower temperature – Scents Soaps and Candles have found that when you pour your soy wax at a lower temperature it can result in a reduction in the crystal formations that occur when the soy wax hardens.

Let your soy wax poured candles cool down slowly – It is important to cool your candles at room temperature in an area that is draft free. If possible place your candle onto a wire cooling rack that will help your candle cool more evenly and prevent heat transfer.

2. Wet Spots – Candle makers refer to the shrinkage and air bubbles that are created when the candle cools down as ‘wet spots’. They occur as the candle cools down and the wax pulls away from the container. This happens due to some parts of the wax cooling quicker than other areas and as a result some of the wax pulls off the glass while the rest of the wax still sticks to the sides of the glass. While this can be annoying it does not actually affect your candles performance. To help reduce the effects of wet spots you should:- 

Preheat and clean your containers before pouring – You should always thoroughly clean your candle containers with soapy water and then dry them properly before using them. It is also wise to preheat your containers before you pour your wax as this will help the wax to cool down in a more controlled manner which should reduce pull away. 

Pour your wax slowly into your candle containers – When you pour your wax make sure that you pour it slowly into your candle containers and it will help reduce the amount of air getting into your wax. Too much air will affect the rate of cooling. Some candle makers like to gently tap the sides of each container after the wax has been added to help release any air bubbles.

Space your candles out when cooling – When you cool your candles we recommend that you space them about 4″ or more apart. You will find that if you place the containers next to each other that they will hold heat on the adjacent sides. As a result, you will find that those sides will cool down slower than the rest of the container. By spacing the containers apart will increase the airflow and help them cool at an even rate of cooling. By placing your candles on a wire cooling rack will also help you achieve a more even cooling. Avoid hard surfaces such as marble and granite that may pull the heat from the bottom of the glass container and result in the wax cooling too quickly.If this happens you will end up with shrinkage as the wax pulls away from the glass.

3. Rough Tops – Even the most experienced candle makers can experience a ‘rough top’. Rough tops occur when the air makes its way out of the top surface of the wax. Candle makers find it very annoying to end up with that rough surface on their candles. This issue happens quite a lot with Soy wax and it occurs when your candle cools after pouring. During the cooling process solid crystals begin to form and in an ideal world these would be in a uniform fashion. However during this process if there are air bubbles or the wax cools down too slowly or too quickly you will end up with ‘rough tops’. Here are some tips to help prevent ‘rough tops’:-

Do not over stir – If you stir your wax too hard it can lead to the formation of air bubbles which may result in imperfections in the finished candles. When you have poured your wax if you see air bubbles you should gently tap the sides of the container to help the bubbles escape.

Alter your pour temperature – Experiment with your pour temperature and adjust it by +/- 5°to find the best temperature to avoid imperfections while your candle cools.

Cover the rough spot with a repouring of wax – Many candle makers keep some wax to re-melt and use it to cover over any rough spots. Scents Soaps and Candles recommend that you re-pour up to an 1/8th of an inch of melted wax and pour this onto the candle to cover up any surface imperfections.

Use a heat gun to remelt the candle surface – If you end up with small rough spots you can fix them by using a heat gun. Just reheat the surface area of the candle with the heat gun and let the wax melt which should fix any imperfections on the surface.

4. Sink holes – Sink holes is the term that describes any little holes or cracks that appear on top of your newly poured candles. This happens when air bubbles become trapped in the wax during the manufacturing process. Sometimes when you are melting your wax you may hear air escaping from the wax. It does not always escape and sometimes the air remains in your poured candle if the surface wax sets before all of the air has time to escape. Then when the wax sets you will find air pocket that leave holes in the candle. This then results in the surface wax collapsing into the hole below it. Sinkholes can vary in size with some up to an inch deep into the candle. Here are some tips for how to reduce/repair sink holes:-

Pour wax into the sinkhole – If you end up with a sink hole after the candle has cooled you can slowly pour reheated wax into the hole to fill it. A good tip is to poke the hole while you fill it to remove any air bubbles that may still be trapped inside it. 

Use a heat gun to re-heat the surface wax – If you don’t have any spare wax to reheat you can use a heat gun. Hold it close to the hole and heat the wax until it melts and fills in the void.  

Watch the melting wax – Carefully watch the wax as it melts and stir it gently if you see any air bubbles beginning to form. When you have poured wax into its container you can carefully tap the sides to help get rid of any air that has become trapped.


5. Rough tops after burning – you will sometimes find rough tops in soy container candles after your first burn. This can happen as a result of the hot wax solidifying at an uneven rate. This is quite common in soy wax but it does not adversely affect the performance of your container candle.


6. Soy Wax Fragrance Leaching – Fragrance leaching is also referred to as ‘bleeding’ or ‘seeping’. It can happen when your fragrance oil has not bonded correctly with the wax, or if you have added too high a percentage of fragrance oil.

After a few days of cooling you may get some leaching of liquid onto the surface of your candle. This can also be accompanied by a very strong scent. When this happens candle makers refer to it as ‘fragrance leaching’. This usually occurs because either too much fragrance oil has been used or that the fragrance has been added to the melted wax at too cool a temperature. You must take care to use the correct amount of fragrance and also to follow the instructions for adding it to your wax. If you get this process wrong you will get leaching to either the top or bottom of the candle because the fragrance has not properly bound to the wax. You can reduce the effects of fragrance leaching by:-

Add you fragrance at the correct temperature – Our information sheets of each wax clearly state the correct temperature for you to add your fragrance oil. If you do not add it at the correct temperature it will not bind properly with the wax.

Stir your fragrance oil for two minutes – Take the time and effort to stir your fragrance oil for two minutes so that it has enough time to allow it to bind to the wax. Gently stirring will help the oil to incorporate fully. You should also give your fragranced wax a gentle mix before you add it to your containers.

Change your fragrance load – Many inexperienced candle makers make the simple mistake of thinking that if they add more fragrance oil to their wax that it will create a stronger scent. This is not the case and by doing so can actually have a negative effect. It is important to remember that every wax has a maximum fragrance load.


7. Large Flames and Sooting – When you have dark smoke it means that the wick that you have used is too big or that you have used too much fragrance and/or dye. All candles produce a certain amount of smoke from their flame but you do not want a candle to produce a large amount of visible smoke. Too much smoke is a sign that you have got things wrong and you need to check what you have done wrong in the candle making process. You can reduce the effects of sooting by:-

Use the correct wick – All candles produce some degree of smoke but if you find that you have too much smoke it could be because you are using the incorrect candle wick size. When you get thick smoke or your candle container begins to get a dark film around the rim of its container you will need to reduce the size of your wick.  

Reduce your fragrance load – If you have added too much fragrance to your wax you will find that it causes the flame to burn off the surplus oil and as a result produce dark smoke. Do not exceed the maximum fragrance percentage that Scents Soaps and Candles recommend for each fragrance.

Try a different type of wick – If sooting still occurs after you have experimented with sizing up and down in your wick series you may then want to try changing your wick series.

8. Tunneling – If you experience “tunnelling” in your soy container candle it is usually an indication that the wick size that you have used is not big enough for your candle. Tunneling happens when a candle wick uses far too much fuel (wax and fragrance) by burning it far too quickly. It creates a very narrow melt pool that can burn down very quickly which results in it leaving a lot of unburnt wax on the sides of the candle container – hence the expression ‘tunneling’. You can help prevent tunnelling by:-

Increase the size of your candle wick – When a candle wick is too small, it  results in it being unable to efficiently burn off all of the fuel (wax and fragrance). As a result there is not enough heat for it to form a good melt pool. Try wicking up to solve this problem.  

Decrease the size of your candle wick – When the candle wick is too big it will burn up too much fuel too quickly. As a result it will create way too much heat and then melt right down the middle of the candle. This is not a frequent event and can be hard to recognize. However if you have already tried wicking up and had no success you should try wicking down a size.


9. Small Melt Pools – To get a full melt pool can take some time – usually around one hour per inch of candle container  diameter. When your candle has been burning long enough for the correct time for your candle container size and your melted wax has not spread across to the edge of the container, it means that you are not getting enough heat to create a full melt pool. Small melt pools can be avoided by:-

Increase the size of your candle wick – Small melt pools can occur when the soy candle is not getting hot enough. This is happening because the candle wick is not burning at the correct temperature inorder to make the correct melt pool size. To get rid of the problem you should wick up. 

Don’t cut your wick too small – If you trim the wick too short it will lead to burning issues and as a result create a small melt pool.

Don’t be impatient – allow enough time for the melt pool to from – Creating a full melt pool is not a quick process. You must let your soy container candle burn an hour per inch of your container diameter. This will give the candle enough time to have created the correct size burn pool. If you have a 5 inch diameter container, this would be 5 hours of burning.


10. Mushrooming Soy Candle Wicks – Mushrooming refers to a candle wick that looks like a mushroom after it has been burnt. This happens due to carbon building up on the wick.Mushrooming occurs when the candle flame uses more wax fuel (wax + fragrance + dye) than it is able to burn off. This can happen quite often but there are things that you  It’s a common occurrence, but it can be avoided by:-

Use less dye and/or fragrance oil – Mushrooming can occur if you use too much fragrance or dye. So by reducing the amount of dye and fragrance oil that you use will help this problem. This is because your candle flame will be able to consume the reduced volume of fragrance and dye flowing up through the wick. It is important to remember that a higher percentage of fragrance oil often causes problems and in many cases does not result in a stronger fragrance. 

Trim your wick between each burn – Some candle wicks will mushroom more than other series of wicks. Just remember to trim your wick to 1/4″ every time that you burn your soy container candle.

Wick down – If you quickly get a deep melt pool, greater than ½” in 30 minutes, and you start to experience excess smoke or soot starting build up on the container, try wicking down.


11. Fragrance mixing issues – If your fragrance oil is not correctly mixed with the melted wax it will end up sitting at the bottom of your container candle because it will not have completely bonded with the soy wax and as a result this will lead to a yellowish discoloration. This can happen if the candle wax is not hot enough because the fragrance may settle down to the bottom of your pouring container. The result of this is that you will end up with a poor scent throw. When the fragrance is added at the correct temperature the fragrance oil will be evenly mixed throughout the soy wax, which will lead to a consistent cold and hot throw. You can avoid fragrance mixing issues by:-

Mix the fragrance oil at the correct temperature – Scents Soaps and Candles list the recommended temperature for each different wax for you to add your fragrance oil. Adding it at the correct temperature ensures that the fragrance oil will properly bind to the wax. If the temperature is too low, it will not create the correct solution and as a result may stop the fragrance oil from fully mixing with the wax, which will result in it settling on the bottom.

Stir for two minutes – Take the time and effort to stir your fragrance oil for two minutes so that it has enough time to allow it to bind to the wax. Gently stirring will help the oil to incorporate fully. You should also give your fragranced wax a gentle mix before you add it to your containers.

Use the correct fragrance load – If you have added too much fragrance to your wax you will find that it causes the flame to burn off the surplus oil and as a result produce dark smoke. Do not exceed the maximum fragrance percentage that Scents Soaps and Candles recommend for each fragrance.


12. Wet Clumpy Wax – You will discover that if soy wax is heated up too much, or that it gets moisture into it, or if the soy wax has a high oil content it can lead to issues of it becoming soft and starting to clump together. When using a natural product like soy wax you must remember that some brands can alter slightly from batch to batch. As a result you may end up with oily flakes that can stick together and sometimes you may get flakes that are crisp and dry. If you experience clumpy soy wax it will probably be a result of it having a slightly greater oil content or because of the outside temperature. This is not a problem – simply treat it as you would normally do with any soy wax. Scents Soaps and Candles recommend using KeraSoy Container Wax as it is such a good uniform product.


13. Air Bubbles in Melted Wax – Sometimes when you are melting your soy wax you can get air trapped in it during the melting process. This can happen because when the soy wax is made from soybean oil, it is regularly stirred and mixed. This process can allow air into the oil and sometimes it gets stuck in the wax when it is made into wax flakes. When you use wax that has air trapped in it you will end up with air bubbles when you melt it to use for your container wax. When you are melting your wax you may experience a foamy appearance on the top of the wax while you are heating it up. Sometimes you may see bubbles rising up to the top of the wax and in some instances you may hear popping noises. You can get rid of some of these air bubbles in your melted soy wax by:-

Gently stir the wax – When you gently stir the melted wax it can help the trapped air to escape. You should keep slowly stirring until you can see no more bubbles and the popping noise has stopped.

Be Gentle – If you stir the wax too hard it will generate extra air bubbles and make the problem worse. So always stir the wax gently and slowly.


14. Cloudy Wax – When you end up with cloudy wax it usually means that you have extra moisture and air that very occasionally becomes incorporated into the soy wax when it is made. This happens because when the wax is made it is being continuously stirred and as a result air can get into the oil. When the wax is then flaked on some occasions condensation may get into the flakes in small quantities. Usually when you heat up you soy wax and melt it, the wax becomes  clear, however sometimes you may see that the wax appears cloudy, and looks the same way as it does when it cools and sets up after it has been poured. This is a result of water or air having become trapped in the soy wax when it was made. You can help reduce this effect by:-

Heat the wax to the correct temperature – By heating the wax to the correct temperature and holding it at that heat will allow any trapped moisture to escape.

Let the wax air out – If you have wax that is cloudy and it is as a result of trapped moisture, you should open your bag of soy wax and let the moisture evaporate.

Store your soy wax in a dry cool location – When you keep your soy wax stored in a dry, cool location it will help any excess moisture to evaporate and as a result make sure no more moisture is collecting in your soy wax bag.

15. Soy Wax Discolouration – You will discover that some of the natural ingredients in fragrance oils can cause your soy candles to start discolor over a period of time.

If you have added colour or fragrance oil to your candles you will find that they will be affected by artificial or natural light at some point. This is similar to the way that sunlight will fade fabrics – you will find that even dye-free candles will eventually start to turn a yellowish colour and that your dyed soy wax will also eventually begin to fade. Fragrances can also result in soy candles gradually begin to turn yellow over a period of time. You can help reduce/slow down the effects of soy wax discolouration by:-

Add a UV inhibitor – You can add a UV inhibitor that will help to block the UV light which will help to stop any fading and yellowing. 

Add a little ivory dye – You could add a small amount of ivory dye to your soy candle if the yellowing effect is because of any vanillin in the fragrance oil that you are using. By adding a little ivory dye will help the candle look more like a uniform soy color candle.

Try to cut down on fragrances containing vanillin – Vanillin causes discoloration in wax.


16. Surface Cracking – Sometimes you will find that cracks can appear on the surface of your newly poured soy candles – these cracks are formed as a result of air bubbles being trapped in the soy wax. It is not unusual to discover a thin crack in a circle near the wick of your soy candle. This is a result of wax shrinkage as the candle wax cools and also small bubbles of air that became trapped at the bottom of the soy candle container. You will find that the wax will sink slightly after it has hardened due to the bubbles causing a small void. In most cases people do not normally see this and it does not cause any problems with the candle. The effects of cracking can be reduced by:-

Tap the sides of the candle container gently – By gently tapping the sides of your soy candle container will help any air bubbles to escape. But remember to be GENTLE!

Raise your containers – By lifting up your candle containers and putting them onto a wire cooling rack will help them cool more evenly. Remember that solid surfaces can take the heat away from the container too quickly leading to cracking problems. .By raising the containers will also help give them a better airflow which will also help them to cool more evenly. 

Test your pour temperature – You should experiment to see what is the ideal pouring temperature for each different wax that you use. A good starting point is to adjust your pour temperature by +/- 5°. By getting the correct pour temperature will allow your candles to cool more evenly and as a result reduce any imperfections.

Do a top up pour to remove the cracks – Many candle makers keep some wax to re-melt and use it to cover over any rough spots. Scents Soaps and Candles recommend that you re-pour up to an 1/8th of an inch of melted wax and pour this onto the candle to cover up any surface imperfections.


17. Your Soy Candle Wick Is Off-Centre –  You can find that your candle wick can move off-center. This happens as a result of the wick not being firmly held in place when the poured wax cools. It is very important to get the correct wick placement to enable your candle to burn safely and well. If your candle wick ends too far to the side of your container it will result in the candle not burning properly. If the wick is too close to the side of the glass it can cause the glass to get too hot and as a result cause it to shatter. Here are some tips on better ways of centering your wicks:-

Wick centering tools – A great way to centre your wick is to a wick centering tool which will keep your wick in the centre of the soy candle container. You can also use wick centering tools for multiple wicks in a container and they help to evenly space the wicks out.

As well as supplying all of the best soy waxes on the market, we also have a wide range of candle making supplies. Whether you are wanting a blue container jar, or a rose gold tin, we can help.