Bug season is officially upon us and it’s time to open up the arsenal and make homemade citronella candles. 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 and have already put it to good use but I have always wanted to make my own homemade citronella candles because I LOVE candles and who doesn’t need as much protection as they can get with these dang mosquitos!
You might also like my citronella bug repellent cubes as well!
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!
For more detailed step by step (with picture) instructions, refer to my post on how to make beeswax candles.
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.
In a 2011 issue of Tropical Medicine & International Health, an analysis of 11 studies on the capabilities of citronella oil found that the essential oil likely provided up to three hours of protection against mosquitoes.
Citronella oil repels mosquitos insects by blocking the scent that attracts these bugs, causing them to become disoriented.
What You’ll Need for Homemade Citronella Candles:
- Glass containers or jars for your candles
- Unrefined Coconut Oil (find it HERE)
- Beeswax (find HERE)
- Citronella Essential Oil (find HERE)
- Lead Free Wicks (find HERE)
- clothes pins
- A medium sized pot
- A glass pyrex bowl with spout (like THIS)
- A cookie sheet
How to make Homemade Citronella Candles:
It’s as easy as you think.
- Prepare your empty containers by hot glueing a wick in the center of the container and steadying it with a clothes pin. 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 and coconut oil 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. (1/2 inch from the wax)
- Allow to set for 48 hours in order to cure before lighting.
A few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way….
- Heat your glass candle containers in the oven on low (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!!
- Cleaning up after beeswax can be an impossible task. I suggest you either use a disposable container to melt your coconut oil and beeswax in, or you can put your glass bowl in the oven, allow the remaining beeswax to completely melt, then wipe it out with a paper towel. It’s the only way I have found to clean up.
- 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.
Trouble Shooting Tunneling
Now, I’m not going to omit that fact that homemade beeswax candles, while easy to make, are hard to get right. As you can see from my pics, my candles are tunneling (when the wax only burns down the middle of the candle). I’ve figured out a few tricks to keep your candles from tunneling and address it in detail in my how to make beeswax candles posts. I’ll tell you here that it’s imperative that you “train” your candles the first time you light them. This means, you let them burn long enough that the wax melts all the way to the outer edges of the container. Beeswax candles tend to need some help with this so I would suggest you use foil to help. See picture below.
Go HERE for an interesting article on the benefits of beeswax candles. You might be surprised at how effective they are able to purify the air!
Have fun with this fun homemade citronella candle recipe! This year, we need all the help we can get outside!
You might also enjoy my tutorial for making soy candles.