Can you make a candle out of earwax?

Probably just like many of us, after watching the movie Shrek you wondered if it’s really possible to make candles out of earwax. Well, you are in luck! So did we, and this is what we’ve found out.

Even if you can gather a lot of earwax to make a candle, making a candle out of it won’t produce a functional one. Earwax is made out of keratin, fat, and alcohol, and it would technically burn or show sparkles, but it cannot maintain a steady flame. 

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Let’s face it, earwax is not the most pleasant thing in the world, but it does have some unique properties. Earwax is actually really cool. It’s made up of secretions from the sebaceous glands in your skin, and it serves an essential purpose: keeping your ears healthy by trapping dirt and bacteria that can cause infection or hearing loss. 

But is this substance really something you can use to make candles? Even if it was possible, would you even have enough to make candles? Does this mean you’ll need to use someone else’s earwax?

Can you make a candle out of earwax?

Unfortunately, making a candle out of earwax won’t produce a functional candle. In fact, this myth was already cleared in the popular show Mythbusters (Discovery Channel) during episode 136. So, we had the answer to this question several years ago.

The experiment conducted in this TV show consisted in collecting earwax from a particular crew member, Tory. Then, it was burned together with the most popular wax types to make candles, paraffin wax, and beeswax. Although the earwax actually burned and showed “sparkles,” the results were still poor. It didn’t have too much of a change when they decided to add earwax from other team members.

It was concluded that, although you can actually make a candle out of earwax, it will not melt as a traditional candle would – or probably won’t melt at all. Earwax varies in consistency from one person to another, too, which at the same time may even have a worse composition.

However, this assumption can be wrong. Let’s not forget that earwax is constantly subject to different environmental changes, which vary in consistency and moisture content from one person to another. Thus, it can be possible to make functional earwax candles, although there isn’t another known “major” experiment to prove this claim.

However, we don’t need any “major” experiment to confirm that we shouldn’t and cannot use earwax to make candles. This material isn’t stable enough to keep the flame as steady as common wax would, so trying it would be a waste of time, effort, and material.

Should you make a candle out of earwax?

While we explained in the previous section that making candles out of earwax is possible, that doesn’t mean you should. It will not burn at an even pace (see below for more information) and will produce an unpleasant odor.

Earwax already has a purpose: keeping your ears clean and free of microbes and functioning as a lubricant. It’s not meant to be used to make candles. Our bodies keep producing earwax for a reason, and this motive isn’t exactly for us to make candles out of it. We already have many other products that fulfill that purpose.

Earwax is not an alternative to any material used in the candle-making process. You’re better off with regular options, such as soy wax or even paraffin wax (which, ironically, earwax would be a healthier option). 

Would earwax candles burn? If so, how?

Traditionally, manufacturers use paraffin wax or beeswax to make candles. These materials are known for their consistency, longevity, and high melting points, making them their own “fuel” while the candle is still lit. This is all due to the hydrocarbons that paraffin wax and beeswax contain.

So, these properties are what make your candles burn so evenly. However, what about earwax? What does all of this information have to do with it?

Well, earwax doesn’t have any of the above components within its structure. It is made in a great part of keratin (that comes from dead cells) and many other ingredients, such as fatty acids or alcohol. 

Combining these ingredients will cause the candle not to burn evenly, as all of these components have diverse burn rates. Thus, even if you’ve spent a lot of time making candles out of earwax, the result won’t be functional at all.

When you burn a candle made out of earwax, it’ll likely flicker more than usual – which is something that most candle enthusiasts tend to avoid. Moreover, the candle will pop every certain period due to the many components with multiple burn rates.

On the other hand, how will you collect enough earwax to make a candle? Even if you ask your friends and successfully make one candle, it will not be able to endure itself after you light it up. Furthermore, the wick won’t go on for too long as it eventually reaches the wax and stops working.

As mentioned in the previous section, the worst part about making candles out of earwax is that it gives off an unpleasant smell.

Is earwax flammable?

We’ve already answered this question – or at least, partly. However, the truth is that although all of the components of earwax have different burn rates, they are not a fire hazard – unless, for some reason, you collect it in industrial quantities, which is unlikely to be the case.

Earwax burns but at a very irregular pace. Even if you have a considerable amount of it, it won’t likely cause a huge “fire” but will probably leave your home with a very nasty smell.

You’d have to contribute a lot of fire for the earwax to catch on fire, though. Still, it’s not humanly possible to collect such an amount of earwax to make a whole batch of candles – unless you ask different people to “contribute” to your experiment. Now, that is, if they don’t run away from you after you ask them.

Earwax candles will never be the same as candles made out of traditional wax.

So, throughout the article, we confirmed that making candles out of earwax isn’t the best idea. You’d be surprised by the number of people that are curious about getting to know the answer to this question. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make candles out of earwax.

Earwax is an excellent antimicrobial substance that’s actually helpful to your ears when you keep it at reasonable levels. It is meant for a very specific purpose and shouldn’t be taken out of a person’s body to make candles.

Let’s compile the reasons why making candles out of earwax is not a good idea:

  • Earwax gives an unpleasant odor when burnt due to its different components, especially fatty acids and dead cells.
  • You will never be able to obtain a stable candle if you use earwax. Every component that gives life to earwax has a different burn rate. Also, considering that these elements are also affected by moisture, genetics, and many other environmental and physical aspects, you’re very unlikely to achieve the same consistency that traditional wax can offer you.
  • Earwax produces a weird, unpleasant “pop” sound as it burns. Furthermore, as this happens, it is likely to give off more of its unpleasant smell.
  • Even if you succeed at making a candle out of earwax, the wick won’t be able to create the fuel it needs to continue working. It will eventually shut off.


So, as you can see, making candles out of earwax would probably give you more problems than solving ones. It is impossible to collect enough earwax to make candles as you would when you purchase any type of wax at the store or any other place.

We can all agree that Shrek is one of the best-animated movies ever made, but unfortunately, we shouldn’t take the information we see in such movies as seriously as now. After all, these movies often exaggerate what one can do in real life to entertain.

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