Is Beeswax Flammable?

Honey bees working on beeswax and a candle

Beeswax is a natural substance produced by honey bees as they pollinate flowers. It’s also a useful material for humans, with many uses that date back to ancient times. In this blog post, we take a look at whether beeswax is flammable and why it matters. If you’d like to learn more about the many different applications of beeswax and its various properties, a flash point of wax, and necessary precautions, keep reading!

What is Beeswax?

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honey bees. Created from a honeycomb, which is the material that honeybees build to create their nests. These nests are what bees use for raising young, storing honey and pollen, and collecting materials for making beeswax. Beeswax is used in many different industries, from food to medicine. It has many uses, including cosmetics, furniture polish, crayons, candles, and in many different types of furniture. Most beeswax is yellow-colored, although it can also be very light in color and almost look like white wax. Beeswax is a mixture of many different chemicals, including fatty acids, esters, hydrocarbons, alcohols, and more. Most of these chemicals are flammable.

How Flammable is Beeswax?

If we’re talking about the flash point, the answer is that beeswax is actually a pretty flammable material, thus making it a fire hazard. The flashpoint of beeswax is around 100°C (212°F). That’s a pretty low flashpoint temperature, which is one of the reasons why it’s so popular as candle wax. This also makes it risky to use in certain situations, as even a small spark from static electricity can cause it to catch fire. The flammability of beeswax actually makes it an interesting and useful material for some types of chemistry experiments, like the old-school trick of lighting an alcohol-soaked paper with a cork. A substance that is both flammable and easy to light is “flammable”, not “combustible”. It might look like it’s about to catch fire, but it won’t actually burst into flames unless you add a source of heat, like a match. That makes beeswax safer than some flammable substances like paraffin since it’s harder to light it on fire.

Beeswax is flammable and the molten wax can cause serious burns and fires

Tew, J. (2014). Wisdom for Beekeepers: 500 tips for successful beekeeping. A&C Black.

When Is Beeswax Flammable?

As we said, beeswax does have a low flashpoint temperature. But that doesn’t mean it will catch fire at room temperature. The way you work with beeswax can have a big impact on how likely it is to ignite. For example, you’ll notice that we didn’t list candles as a use for beeswax. That’s because melted beeswax is actually a poor choice for candles. It’s too thick at normal room temperatures, so it won’t flow through the wick properly. You can get around this problem by using a double boiler to melt your beeswax slowly. That will keep the wax at a safe temperature and allow it to heat up slowly.

How to Safely Handle Beeswax

A lot of this information also applies to other types of natural waxes or candles, but beeswax has a few special caveats. First, it’s important to keep your sewing beeswax away from open flames and hot fire. You can use it to seal seams on fabric items, but you should do so with caution. Beeswax is relatively soft and malleable when it’s warm, so it’s easy to put it on the wrong side. Keep your wax in a double boiler so you can seal your seams safely. Be careful when you’re working with beeswax, too. When working with liquid wax, it’s easy to get splashed or spill, if you’re not paying attention. If you get it on your skin, it’s not only messy but also a bit of an irritant. It’s easily removed with an oil-based cleanser on some paper towel or cotton wicks, though sometimes it can become a real mess.

Do you need a double boiler for beeswax?

A double boiler is a type of cooking setup that’s used to melt and heat a substance while keeping it away from direct heat. Double boilers are used to melt substances that are flammable, like butter or chocolate, to keep them away from direct heat. Easy, right? But what if you want to melt natural beeswax? Is it safe to use a double boiler to melt beeswax? Well, yes, you can use a double boiler to melt the beeswax as it has a low melting point. But, there are some things to keep in mind when melting beeswax in a double boiler. First, make sure to use a large enough pot for the beeswax because it can expand when melted. Second, make sure that the water in the double boiler is not touching the bottom of the pot containing the beeswax. The water should be above the bottom of the beeswax pot. Third, keep an eye on the temperature of the water in the double boiler as you’ll want it to stay under a simmer. You should be careful when beeswax melts as it is a combustible material. You should pay the same attention as when working with other flammable items.

Benefits of Beeswax Candles vs. Paraffin candles

Beeswax candles are generally considered a healthier option than paraffin candles. Paraffin wax is made from crude oil, which is an incredibly non-sustainable resource. Beeswax is made from honey, which is renewable and sustainable. Beeswax candles are also more eco-friendly since they don’t produce black soot as paraffin candles do. And beeswax candles are generally more expensive than paraffin candles, which is another plus for beeswax candle producers. But beyond the health and environmental benefits of beeswax candles, they also smell better as they have a natural aroma. Paraffin candles, in comparison, often smell like burning fuel. Beeswax candles burn three times longer and drip less than other waxes like paraffin. This type of burning candle will be cleaner with little smoke if properly trimmed. Votives, pillars, and container candles can all be made out of great beeswax. It is a good idea to add some essential oils that will give a much better smell as beeswax burns.

Do beeswax candles give off negative ions?

This is a common question and one that doesn’t have a clear answer. There’s no research that has specifically looked at the negative ion levels of beeswax candles. That being said, we can look at the chemistry of beeswax to try to understand the potential for negative ion production. One of the most common chemicals found in beeswax is Octanoic acid. Octanoic acid is a fatty acid, and fatty acids are known for producing negative ions. Yet, there are a few things to keep in mind here. First, beeswax candles are not pure beeswax. They also contain other materials, like paraffin wax. These other materials will affect the chemical composition of the candle. Second, the size of the candles will also affect the number of negative ions produced.

Do beeswax candles contain paraffin?

Beeswax candles are made by melting the wax of beeswax or other wax-producing insects, then pouring it into molds. One way to tell if beeswax candles are made from paraffin wax is to check the ingredients list. If they contain mineral oil, they are probably paraffin-based. Another way to tell them apart is by the scent: pure beeswax candles typically have a stronger, honey-like scent than paraffin candles. Both types of candles have their pros and cons. Some people report that paraffin candles burn hotter and faster than beeswax ones. Others say that paraffin candles have a stronger scent — which can be good or bad depending on your personal preference. It’s also important to note that both types can produce smoke, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when choosing which one is best for you.

How were candles made in ancient times?

In the past, candles were made from a wide variety of materials. Beeswax was one of the most common materials used for candles. Other materials included tallow (animal fat), colza oil, olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, and nut oils. These materials were put into molds and allowed to be set into a solid substance. These candles were then placed on top of special candle sconces that had a small bowl on top. The bowl was filled with burning material, like animal fat or olive oil. The open flame would heat up the bowls and transfer the heat to the candles. These candles were used in both the ancient world and the early modern period. The only difference was that, in the past, people used candles as their primary form of light, whereas in the modern era, candles were used for decoration and special occasions.

Final Word

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honey bees. It’s also an incredibly useful material for humans, with many uses that date back centuries. Beeswax is a flammable substance, but it’s not a combustible substance. You should be careful when working with a flammable object. Melted wax can catch fire and will burn if it’s ignited. And finally, beeswax candles are a healthy and eco-friendly option when compared to paraffin candles. They smell better and are from renewable materials.