Soy Candles vs. Petroleum-Based Candles vs. Air Diffusers

  • Soy candles, petroleum candles, air diffusers

Whether you’re looking to make your home smell great, create a little bit of warmth, or just add that perfect decorative touch that really pulls a room together, there’s nothing like a candle!

But, are all candles really created equally? And are candles even the only game in town anymore? What about scent diffusers, essential oils, all that good stuff?

You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers!

Let’s break down the differences between three big players – paraffin candles, soy candles, and scent diffusers. From there, we’ll help you decide which is the right fit for your Chicago home!

Paraffin (Petroleum) Candles

Paraffin wax has been around since the late 1800s, and was the favorite of candlemakers for a long, long time. Candles made with this type of wax are sometimes called “petroleum” candles, because paraffin wax is made from a byproduct of crude oil. Generally speaking, this is a hard and brittle wax, with a high melting point.

Soy Candles

Compared to paraffin, soy candles are sort of the “new kid on the block” – but they’ve already made a huge impact. We’ll get more into that in a minute. What you really need to know about soy candles is that they’ve been around since the 1990s. They’re made from hydrogenated soybean oil. As a result, they are non-toxic, renewable, and biodegradable. Soy wax is generally a little bit softer than paraffin, with a lower melting point.


Why burn a candle when you could simply spread your favorite scent through the air? That’s the thinking behind diffusers, which use essential oils or other fragrant materials to “diffuse” a smell throughout your home. There are many different types of diffusers out there. For example, some are electric, and gently warm essential oils or wax cubes to release their scent. Others, like reed diffusers, involve letting a piece of bamboo or wood carry the smell of your favorite scented oil up and into the air.

The Verdict

In the battle of the candles, there is a clear winner. Between soy and paraffin, soy is usually the better option, for a number of reasons:

  • It comes from a greener, more renewable source
  • It has a cleaner burn, with no sooty residue or toxic carcinogens released into the air
  • Its lower melting point makes it less likely to burn your skin or damage your furniture
  • Soy candles usually last a lot longer than paraffin candles (as much as 50% longer!)
  • Soy candles also tend to have stronger, more pleasant scents

One argument for paraffin is that it might be slightly cheaper to purchase a paraffin wax candle upfront, compared to a soy candle. But given the amount of fragrance you get, the amount of time you can expect your candle to last, and the comfort that comes from knowing you’re making the more sustainable, environmentally friendly choice, soy candles do tend to pay for themselves in the long run.

Now, what about candles versus diffusers? On that point, it really comes down to personal preferences. When making this decision, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Aesthetics. Both candles and diffusers can be chic, but candles have a live flame, while diffusers do not. So candles might keep you warm and offer some light, while diffusers won’t. In the end, it all comes down to what decor and design choices you want to make!
  • Safety. Do you have kids or a playful pet running around? A diffuser may be a safer choice, compared to a candle, since it won’t have a burning flame.
  • Smell. Generally, candles tend to release a lot more of their fragrance, faster. Diffusers can take awhile to really get going. But some diffusers also let you change out scents whenever you’d like, which candles can’t do.
  • Longevity. Because they don’t burn up, diffusers tend to last a lot longer than candles (especially if you use your candles frequently). Plus, you can reuse many diffusers again and again, if you switch out just a few parts.

Five Steps for a good smelling home between cleanings

What Do You Think?

Now, we’d love to hear from you! Do you have a preference when it comes to diffusers or candles? Or is there one type of candle that stands above the rest? Are you committed to purchasing from one amazing local candlemaker that other people just have to meet?

We’d love to keep the conversation sparking! Feel free to share your thoughts on Facebook, where our community of clean home lovers keeps the talk going 24/7!

Curious about how to clean up after you burn through your candle obsession? We feel you – and we’ve got tips on doing just that available here. Looking for anything else? Don’t hesitate to check out our FAQ page or reach out today to get your free service estimate!

2018-09-13T18:07:32+00:00 September 10th, 2018|Residential Cleaning|