Bug season is officially upon us and it’s time to open up the arsenal. I live in Oklahoma and my usually painfully dry state is now swamplands. I have standing water in my backyard! It’s crazy! More rain is on the radar and the fleas, mosquito and ticks are laughing their fat little asses off at the girls and I scrambling around like lunatics trying to shield ourselves from all the winged creatures feasting on our blood! I’m not even going to mention our poor dog and cats!
Last year about this time I did a post on a DIY Bug Repellent and also a Bug Bite Balm. I talked about the dangers of conventional bug repellents and stressed that squirting copious amounts of bug spray is highly toxic. I have made a new batch of my bug repellent (nixing the apple cider vinegar for witch hazel due to sensitive skin issues) and have already put it to good use but I have always wanted to make my own citronella candles because I LOVE candles and who doesn’t need as much protection as they can get with these dang mosquitos!
First, a few things about beeswax candles…..
Did you know that beeswax actually purifies the air? Beeswax releases NEGATIVE IONS into the air. Air pollutants like smoke, dander, pollen, dust and dirt carry a POSITIVE charge. The negative beeswax ions attach to the positive pollutants and basically wrestle them to the ground to where they are inactive! Burning beeswax candles can be extremely beneficial for those of you suffering from allergies and asthma! If you are burning pure beeswax candles, it only takes a couple hours of burning to help clear the air!
Second, a few things about Citronella Essential Oil…
Citronella oil is commonly used in warding off mosquito. It’s a fabulous bug repellent as well as a soother for bug bites! It is a potent anti fungal as well as antibacterial and antiseptic.
According to Dr. Mercola:
According to a paper in the International Journal of Advanced Research,13 citronella oil is noted for its efficiency in repelling mosquitoes – it provided about two hours of repellency in the study. It has proven successful in repelling the dreaded Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito that spread diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Apart from being used on humans, citronella oil is also used to keep ticks away from livestock and pets.
What You’ll Need:
- Glass containers or jars for your candles
- Beeswax (find HERE)
- Citronella Essential Oil (find HERE)
- Lead Free Wicks (find HERE)
- 2 straws or chopsticks
- A medium sized pot
- A glass pyrex bowl with spout (like THIS)
- A cookie sheet
How to make Citronella Candles:
It’s as easy as you think.
- Prepare your empty containers by placing a wick in the center of the container and steadying it with 2 straws taped together so that the wick will stay centered. Place in the oven. (170F)
- Create a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot 1/2 way full with water, place a glass pyrex bowl in the water.
- Pour beeswax in a glass bowl and allow to fully melt. **keep heat to low-medium**
- Remove glass bowl from heat and add Citronella. How much depends on how much beeswax you decide to melt. I melted 1 lb. and got 5 candles of different sizes. I added around 80 drops to 1 lb. of beeswax.
- Pour your beeswax/citronella into glass containers.
- Steady your wick and allow to cool, preferably in a warm (170F) oven.
- Trim your wick. (1/4 inch)
- Allow to set for 48 hours in order to cure before lighting.
Let me share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way….
- Heat your glass candle containers in the over on 170 degrees Fahrenheit while your beeswax melts on the stove top. This will allow very little “shock” to the beeswax while it’s being poured into the containers which will prevent cracking. I put mine on a cookie sheet for easy removal.
- Allow your candles to cool in the oven at 170 degrees Fahrenheit with your oven door slightly ajar. This will prevent cracking as well. Be sure to keep on cookie sheet!!
- When first lighting your candles, always point the flame at the bottom of the wick so that your candle will burn correctly.
- Do not get in a hurry when melting your beeswax. If you melt your wax in too high a temp, you could render the beeswax useless. Keep the stove top on low-medium.
- Do not add your essential oils while the heat is still on the wax. If the wax is too hot, the oil will burn up and also be useless.
Now, I’m not going to omit that fact that beeswax candles, while easy to make, are hard to get right. The type of wax you use and the wick all make a huge difference on whether your candle will burn properly. As you can see from my pics, my candles are tunneling (when the wax only burns down the middle of the candle) . I think it’s because of the type of wax I bought. I bought THIS kind and was shocked at how different it was compared to Mountain Rose Herb’s beeswax. The kind I bought is so hard that if you get it on anything (while melted), good luck getting it off. I spilled a tiny amount of a candle and it was a time consuming mess to get the wax cleaned up. I would suggest splurging for Mountain Rose Herb’s beeswax. I thought I’d be thrifty and save us all some money since it wasn’t going on our faces, right? Wrong. It’s worth it if your candle is pure and doesn’t tunnel.
Go HERE for a interesting article on the benefits of beeswax candles, plus a source for buying pure candles for allergies.
Have fun with this fun DIY! This year, we need all the help we can get outside!