Wax Pedia

Paraffin wax

is a solid form of paraffin, a specific type of alkane hydrocarbon. It is used in a wide range of everyday applications, most notably in common candles. This wax also sees a great deal of use in industrial applications, and it is present in everything from the Lunar Rover to drywall. It is also found in many foods, where it is used as a preservative, so it is present in many ingredient lists, and even in some recipes.

The definition of paraffin wax is based largely on its physical state, with it having to be in a solid form. It can stay a solid at anything cooler than 147°F (64°C), although, depending on circumstances, it may be liquid at anything hotter than 116°F (47°C). The wax has no taste and no smell, and is a clean white color. It burns steadily and easily, making it ideal for candles, although it does not burn as hot as beeswax.

Unlike beeswax, paraffin also becomes quite brittle when it solidifies, and breaks and cracks easily. For this reason, it is rarely used in lost wax casting at a fine art level. It is sometimes combined with other agents to make it somewhat smoother and sold as a cheaper casting wax for non-fine art purposes, such as industrial casting.

In drywall, paraffin wax acts as a sort of heat sink during the day. It stores a great deal of heat, and so is added to the drywall when the that product is created. On hot days, the wax liquefies, storing up the heat that comes from the sun. At night, as it cools, it solidifies and releases the heat back into the house, helping to keep the thermal mass at a relatively constant temperature. This phase change cooling system is also sometimes used in electronic devices, most notably on the Lunar Rover to keep the expensive components at a safe temperature in the low-gravity environment of the moon.

Like many waxes, paraffin is edible, although it has no real taste or scent. It is added to foods as a preservative and to make them more attractive. Many chocolates and sweets, for example, contain this wax to give the candy a shiny coating. The wax also stops moisture from leaving the coated candy, keeping the pieces moist and less likely to spoil in unrefrigerated conditions. Cooks who use it in home baking or confectionary should make sure that they purchase food-grade wax, as the type used for candles or industrial applications may have additives that should not be eaten.

In spas, paraffin wax is sometimes used as a skin treatment to soften the skin and add moisture to it. Usually, a paraffin treatment will be applied on the feet or hands, often in conjunction with a pedicure or manicure. Paraffin is preferable to other waxes because of its low melting point ,  which means that hands and feet can be submerged in the liquid without any risk of blistering or scalding taking place. The material increases circulation through the skin, and helps lock in the body’s natural moisture

Paraffin is a wax-like hydrocarbon that is used in a variety of applications, including candle-making, as sealants for bottles, as coating for candy, and even for making rocket fuel. The benefits of paraffin for feet are primarily to heal calluses and blisters, as well as open up the pores and deeply moisturize the skin. The heated wax can also work to soothe aching joints and promote blood circulation in the feet. The treatment may also help with people suffering from arthritis.

To experience the benefits of paraffin for feet the wax is first melted down and then typically poured into a plastic bag. The foot is then placed inside the bag with the open end secured tightly around the ankle, and the paraffin solution is then quickly rubbed over the foot and ankle. Care is taken not to allow any part of the foot to sit too long in the solution. Once the foot has been fully covered in the melted paraffin, the plastic bag is removed and the wax is allowed to cool and harden. The foot is typically wrapped in a towel at this point so that the wax does not harden too quickly as well as to trap the heat.

The trapped heat serves to ease any pain or aches that may be present in the foot. The treatment is gentle enough to be applied on a daily basis for people suffering from  chronic pain , but for those that are simply looking for a softer skin applications once or twice a week should be sufficient. Paraffin wax is non-toxic if applied topically and it generally does not have any trace odors after the treatment. Sometimes  essential oils can be added to the wax for a desired odor. When visiting a spa for a treatment it is recommended to check that the wax is fresh as bacteria can still grow in the solution.

Some of the other benefits of paraffin for feet can include reducing the effects of muscle spasms and tendonitis which is when there is inflamattion of the tendon. Paraffin treatment can include other areas of the body and fibromyalgia   is another condition that it may be able to help. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can include pain over a wide area of the musculoskeletal system. Doctors are unsure what the cause of this condition is, but some believe that it may be linked to chemical imbalances and possibly stress or previous illnesses. Paraffin for feet treatments may be one way to begin to alleviate some of the potentially debilitating effects of some of these ailments.

Beeswax is a natural product derived from honeybee hives, and it is used in many different types of cosmetic lotions. Many consumers use beeswax  lotion on a daily basis, while others use different strengths to help to treat a specific skin ailment. Unscented versions are preferable for sensitive skin, although many brands of the lotions contain fragrances if you prefer. These hand and body lotions are widely available over-the-counter at drug stores, as well as in beauty and body shops. You also have the option of making your own beeswax lotion at home, as long as you can obtain all of the necessary ingredients.

Lotions are made from a variety of natural and synthetic ingredients. Beeswax is used in many conventional cosmetics, but it is also considered as one of the main ingredients in natural skincare products. The wax comes from the hives of honeybees, and it contains natural moisturizers and fatty acids.

Waxes from beehives are considered to be natural materials that can aid overall skin health. Beeswax lotion particularly acts as a barrier for the skin, which is why it is considered to be an effective moisturizing product for dryness. If you have eczema or severe dry skin you might consider obtaining a version that contains other moisturizing ingredients, such as vitamin E. Some natural antiseptics also use beeswax and essential oils in lieu of medicinal ingredients.

Due to the increased popularity of beeswax lotion, many manufacturers add fragrances to their products as a way to appeal to more customers because the wax itself is unscented. Honey is a common complementing fragrance, while other products might contain lavender, mint, and citrus oils. If you have sensitive skin, you should consider sticking with an unscented product in order to reduce the chances of irritation.

The best beeswax lotion for your needs can be available in a variety of locations. Drug stores and supermarkets often sell a small amount of these products in the beauty aisle, while skincare shops might focus more on the lotions. Natural stores tend to carry a wider variety of beeswax lotions due to the nature of the product ingredients. It is important to look at all ingredient labels because some stores mark up the exact same products which you can buy at a less expensive rate in other places. A higher price does not necessarily indicate a better quality product.

If you are looking for a less expensive way to obtain beeswax lotion in bulk, you might consider making the product at home. There are generally two primary types of beeswax lotions you can make: basic moisturizing creams and antiseptic solutions. All-purpose moisturizers can be made from a combination of the beeswax as well as essential oils derived from almonds, lavender, and vitamin E. For minor cuts and wounds, you can make a natural alternative to medicinal ointments with beeswax combined with almond, tea tree, and jojoba essential oils. You should consider seeing your doctor if a particular skin condition does not improve with the use of homemade beeswax lotion.

Paraffin Wax Uses:

 fill a canning jar a ½ inch from the top with jam. While the jam is still hot pour melted (food grade) wax over the top to seal.

Bottles to seal, dip the top of the bottle in melted wax.

Irons to keep them smooth, rub hot iron over a bar of wax wrapped in cloth.

Drawers to lubricate, rub a bar of wax over the sliders.

Windows to keep them opening and closing smoothly, run a bar of wax over the tracks.

Zippers to keep them from sticking, rub the teeth of the zipper with a bar of wax.

Snow Shovels to help the snow slide off of the shovel, rub a bar of wax over a dry shovel.

Toboggans to lubricate, rub the skis with a bar of wax.

Trash cans to keep things from sticking, coat the inside with melted wax.

Chocolate Making for a shiny coat, add a little (food grade) wax to the melted chocolate.

Hard Cheese to keep it fresh, dip the exposed cheese in melted (food grade) wax.

Handrails to lubricate, rub the handrails with a bar of wax.

Steel or Iron to prevent oxidation, rub the surface with a bar of wax.

Fruits and Vegetables to keep fresh longer, dip the fruit or vegetables in melted (food grade) wax. This will slow down the moisture loss and keep them from spoiling.

Candles to make your own, there are several tutorials on the web for making your own candles.

Hands & Feet to soften, dip hands and feet into a low-temp wax bath. Wait 10-15 minutes then remove the wax.

Crayons to make your own, all you need is paraffin wax and some pigments.

Paraffin Wax for Arthritis - Topic Overview

You can use paraffin wax (may be called either paraffin or wax) to apply moist heat to your hands or feet to ease the pain and stiffness . Paraffin especially helps to reduce pain and loosen up your hand and finger joints before exercise .

You should talk with your doctor before trying paraffin at home. And it's a good idea to have a physical therapist show you how to do it before you try it yourself.

Recommended Related to Osteoarthritis

How to make an Arthritis - Friendly Home

Your home should be a place where you feel safe and comfortable. But when you have arthritis, it may seem like your home is filled with obstacles, such as doors that are hard to open and lamps that are difficult to turn on. Assistive devices for arthritis can help make these everyday tasks easier. From opening small jars and bottles to getting out of the tub, these devices can ease the strain on your joints. These tools are available at your local pharmacy, hardware store, or medical supply store,...

You will need:

  • 4 lb (1.8 kg) of paraffin wax. Paraffin is available in most places where canning supplies are sold.
  • 1 cup of mineral oil . You may be able to find some mineral oil that has a pleasant scent such as wintergreen.
  • Equipment for melting the wax. You can use a paraffin bath, available from a medical supply store, or a Crockpot or double boiler. If you use a Crockpot, a small one works fine for your hands. You'll need a large one if you want to do your feet.
  • A candy thermometer (if you're using a Crockpot or double boiler). If you get a paraffin bath from a medical supply store, it should have a thermometer.
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bags.
  • Terry cloth towel.
  • Rubber bands or tape.

Procedures

  • Melt the wax (use low heat if you use a double boiler). Stir often to speed up the melting.
  • Stir in the mineral oil.
  • Turn off the heat, and allow the wax to cool until it has a thin film on the top. This will mean it is getting cool enough to put your hand or foot in.
  • Use the thermometer to check the temperature of the wax. It should read about 125°F (51.7°C) when you begin your treatment.
  • Before you begin, use warm, soapy water to wash the hand or foot you are going to treat. This will keep the paraffin clean so you can use it again for future treatments. Dry your hand or foot completely.
  • Relax your hand or foot, and dip it into the paraffin, being very careful not to touch the sides or bottom of the pot. Allow the wax to come to just above the wrist or ankle. If you are unsteady, it helps to have another person guide your hand or foot in and out of the paraffin.
  • Lift your hand or foot out, but hold it over the paraffin. Allow it to dry a few seconds until it stops dripping.
  • Repeat this process 10 to 12 times. Each time you dip in, stop just below the previous line of wax on your  skin This will keep warm wax from getting in under the wax that is already on your skin and will prevent burning.
  • Wrap your hand or foot in plastic wrap or slide it into a plastic bag.
  • Next, wrap a towel around your hand or foot and hold it in place with rubber bands or tape.
  • Leave the paraffin on for 20 minutes. Then unwrap your hand or foot and slide the paraffin from your hand or foot back into the pot. The wax can be melted and used again.
  • Cover the paraffin, and save it for next time.
  • Types of Paraffin Wax
  • Low Melt Point Paraffin - paraffin with a melting point less than 130° F, this type of wax is soft and adheres well to the sides of containers. Therefore, they are best for container and tealight candles.
  • High Melt Point Paraffin - paraffin with a melting point greater than 130° F, this type of wax is harder and therefore provides structural rigidity for use in votive and pillar candles.
  • Why Use Paraffin Wax?
  • Lots of information is available about candlemaking with paraffin
  • Most candle fragrances and dyes were formulated for paraffin, so they work quite reliably (note: our fragance and dye also work in natural waxes)
  • Consistant attractive appearance - does not frost like natural wax
  • The Basics of Paraffin Wax:
  • When most people think of wax, in any form, the wax they generally think of is probably a paraffin wax. It is one of the most plentiful and multi-use waxes used today. A by-product of the crude oil refining process, in its raw form, it is a white, odorless, tasteless, "waxy" solid, with a typical melting point between about 110°F to 150°F, and while it's very inert, it burns really well.
  • What Kind of Candles Does it Make?:
  • Pretty much any type of candle can be made with paraffin wax. The melting point is the primary determinant of the
  • is used for container candlesin jars, cups or glasses
  • Medium melt point paraffin (130°F - 150°F) is used for candles that need to stand on their own - votives pillars and other molded candles
  • High melt point wax (greater than 150°F) is used for more special applications like hurricane candle shels over dipping and other special candle making applications
  • How It's Generally Packaged or Sold:
  • While many of us have seen paraffin wax for canning in small boxes in the grocery store (not the best kind for candles), paraffin candle wax is usually sold in 11 lb. slabs. (Why they settled on 11 lbs. I don't know.) There are also a couple of companies that sell paraffin wax in pellet form. This makes weighing it out and melting it super easy!
  • Suppliers of Paraffin Wax:
  • Here are some suppliers of candle wax that sell different blends of paraffin wax for candle making:
  • Candle wic
  • Bitter Creek Candle supply
  • Lone star candle supply
  • The Debate Over Paraffin Wax vs. Soy Wax for Candle Making:
  • If you want to hear some strong opinions expressed, just ask a group of candlemakers which wax is better, soy or paraffin. (See comments and discussion below.) I (personally) like both waxes, and think they both have their benefits. I like the "natural" qualities of soy wax...and don't believe the accusations that paraffin is an evil toxic substance. As you'll see from the National candle assosiation facts below, the most important thing is that you use a high-quality wax, in a well-made candle.
  • Candle Wax Facts from the National Candle Association:
  • From the National Candle Assoc
  • All waxes are primarily hydrocarbons, whether of animal, vegetable, or petroleum origin. The chemical composition of all candlemaking waxes is similar, and all candle waxes burn in the same manner.
  • No specific type of wax or wax blend is considered "best" for candlemaking. All waxes - when provided in high-quality format - have been shown to burn cleanly, safely and in the same manner.
  • No candle wax has ever been shown to be toxic or harmful to human health.
  • There is no such thing as a soot-free wax.

Paraffin wax in industry

Paraffin or alkane is the common name for all saturated, aliphatic hydrocarbons of the chemical formula CnH2n+2. At room temperature and pressure the first four members of the normal series are gases, the next thirteen are liquids, while the rest are solids. The paraffins are the least toxic of all hydrocarbones . The name paraffin is also commonly used for an oily petroleum distillate, which is a mixture of hydrocarbons. It is believed that the perceived chemical inertness of the compounds led to the name paraffin from parum (little) and affinis (related).

Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or shale, that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms. It is solid at room temperature and begins to melt above approximately 37 °C (99 °F); its boiling point is >370 °C (698 °F). Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrication, electrical insulation, and candles.

Manufacturing

The feedstock for paraffin is slack wax which is a mixture of oil and wax, a byproduct from the refining of lubricating oil.

The first step in making paraffin wax is to remove the oil (DE-oiling or DE-waxing) from the slack wax. The oil is separated through crystallization. Most commonly, the slack wax is heated, mixed with one or more solvents such as a Ketone and then cooled. As it is cooled, wax crystallizes out leaving oil in solution. This mixture is filtered into two streams: solid (wax plus some solvent) and liquid (oil and solvent). After the solvent is recovered by distillation, the resulting products are called "product wax" (or "press wax") and "foots oil". The lower the percentage of oil in the wax the more refined it is considered (semi-refined versus fully refined). The product wax may be further processed to remove colors and odors. The wax may finally be blended together to give certain desired properties such as melt point and penetration. Paraffin wax is sold in either liquid or solid form.

Scroll to Top