Delving into candle making, I researched and experimented with different approaches extensively. For instance, can you make a candle out of ear wax? The answer wasn’t what I’d expected.
Earwax isn’t a good material for candle making. After all, it doesn’t melt properly, and it makes a crackling sound rather than explosive vapor. Not to mention, it’d take ages to collect enough earwax for a candle (even for a small one).
Although ear wax isn’t enough for a functioning candle, it can be combined with other materials to make one.
Earwax and Candles
Maybe you’ve just rewatched Shrek, and it has really inspired you to give this earwax candle idea a shot. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t turn out the way it would in the movie. How do I know? Mythbusters, the Discovery Channel serial show, had its crew try this experiment.
In Episode 136, they collected Tory’s earwax and mixed it with commonly used materials for candle making (beeswax and paraffin). As a result, the wax didn’t melt; it burned, sparking, sputtering, and crackling.
Then, the crew added earwax from other cast and crew members and volunteers. They made this wax into a candle and placed it alongside a paraffin candle. As suspected, the problem wasn’t with Tory’s earwax; this addition didn’t alter the experiment results.
The earwax candle burned poorly and went out fast (compared to the regular candle). Accordingly, they concluded that earwax doesn’t melt smoothly like paraffin and other candle-making materials.
Why Can’t You Make a Candle Out of Ear Wax?
Theoretically, it makes sense. After all, you’re using wax to make a candle, so why should it fail? A few reasons are that ear wax candles:
A candle should melt slowly, allowing you to enjoy its scent as it releases vapor. However, ear wax doesn’t melt. It burns and dissolves without creating a vapor.
Leave a Bad Odor
Ear wax is essentially gland secretions, dead skin cells, sweat, and filth. Try putting that on a candle label, and see if it sells. What I’m trying to say is that an earwax candle will smell like, well, earwax.
Are Difficult to Source
It’ll be difficult to find enough earwax to make candles. A single candle required ‘samples’ from the Mythbusters crew and cast and even volunteers.
So, how are you going to source this DIY project? You’d need to collect earwax for years before you have enough just for it to burn shortly. Talk about watching your life’s work go up in flames.
What Can You Do?
You may not be able to turn earwax into a candle, but here are some ideas.
Mix Wax Types
It’s possible to make a candle by combining ear wax with other waxes (even if it isn’t very effective).
- Melt ear wax with paraffin or soy.
- Put the melted wax in a glass jar, and stir it with a spoon so that it doesn’t harden.
- Pour essential oils on the wax to give it a nice scent and suppress the bad smell.
- Give the mixture 24 hours.
- Remove it from the container with a spoon.
- Add the wax to your candles with a funnel.
- Light your candle.
- Put it out once it starts to smoke.
- Store your candle in a cold, dark place.
Use Other Materials
Making candles out of earwax may not be a good idea, but there are other materials that you can recycle into candles. And they might just be collecting dust in a cupboard or drawer, such as:
Believe it or not, old crayons can make for such colorful candles. Here’s how to DIY them:
- Add ice cubes to a bowl of water.
- Once the water gets cold, drop 10 to 15 crayons in it for five minutes to separate their wrappers.
- Break the crayons in half, and try peeling off their wrapper.
- If that fails, place the crayons vertically on a table.
- Slide a knife carefully on your crayons until you remove part of their wrappers.
- Use that spot to peel off the rest.
- Place the crayons (two by two) into a container you don’t need, and microwave them for two minutes. Make sure the crayon colors are complementary.
- Once the mixture is smooth, pour it into a small baking cup, metal cookie cutter, or something similar.
- After five minutes, poke holes into your candles with a toothpick.
- Insert wicks, and cut them off so that they’re ½ or 1 inch above your candles.
- Remove the candles from the molds with a spoon or knife.
- Put them in candle holders, and store them.
Making candles with Crisco is unbelievably easy and cheap. Just avoid using Crisco cans as candle holders because they can be unsafe. All you need to do is:
- Thread a wick into a disk.
- Secure it at the bottom of a jar.
- Tie the top of the wick to a pencil with flat sides so that it can stand still perpendicular to the jar.
- Microwave the Crisco for about 30 seconds.
- Stir it for about 30 seconds until it becomes a liquid.
- Pour the liquid into the jar.
- Give it a day to harden.
- Cut the wick, and store the candle as mentioned before.
Is Ear Candling the Same as Making Earwax Candles?
As you do your research about earwax candles, you’ll find tons of information about ear candling. Nonetheless, they’re entirely different processes.
You’re looking to make a candle from earwax, whereas others are looking to remove earwax from their ears for medical purposes.
In short, ear candling involves the placing of a cone-shaped candle into your ear. This way, its heat can extract earwax. Done by a practitioner or at home, this ancient medical practice is controversial and isn’t backed by scientific research.
What to Remember
Ultimately, if Mythbusters has taught us anything, it’s that earwax doesn’t make good candles. That’s because they burn fast, are difficult to source, and leave a bad smell.
Your best bet would be mixing earwax with other wax types like paraffin. Even better, old crayons or a can of Crisco make better wax for candles, and you won’t have to buy pricey materials!