How to Melt and Clean Beeswax Before Usage

Many think that the process of melting and cleaning beeswax is a headache — we’re going to debunk that myth in a few simple steps.

how do bees make wax

Now that you have your beeswax, there are a few key steps to take before you can go ahead and use it further. We’ll take a look at how to melt and clean your beeswax before usage in two different ways. 

Why Should You Melt and Clean Beeswax?

Cleaning the beeswax through melting and cleansing processes can be known as rendering the beeswax. It’s essential that you learn how to melt and clean beeswax before usage for a couple of reasons. 

  • Beeswax is usually harvested in the outside environment by honeybees, so it’s prone to have a few bits of dirt or even dead bees inside. While these are natural products of the environment, they reduce the purity and smooth texture of the beeswax. 
  • After extracting the honey, through proper melting and cleaning methods, you’re able to produce smooth, pure beeswax for usage.

Melting Beeswax

One of the first steps to cleaning your beeswax is actually to melt it. One method is a solar oven. It’s not likely that everyone has a solar oven in their home or garage, though. 

However, we do need to heat the wax to its melting point of between 144 and 147 degrees Fahrenheit. 

To solve that problem, there are two alternative methods to melt beeswax, which can be assembled pretty much anywhere. 

These god-sends are: 

  • Double boiler
  • Crockpot water bath

Double Boiler Method

The double boiler method is a worthwhile way to melt your beeswax.

  1. Gather one large saucepan and one smaller metal bowl that comfortably sits on top. Make sure to use a metal bowl that you won’t need to eat out of or use for food preparation later, as beeswax is hard to remove
  2. Fill the lower saucepan to halfway with water
  3. Bring the water to a boil, and then place the metal bowl on top
  4. Now reduce the heat so that the water is simmering
  5. You can now place your beeswax inside the metal bowl and watch it slowly melting. This should take upwards of 15 minutes

If you’re planning to clean your wax next or use another molding method, we highly recommend having a cheesecloth filtration system ready before your wax hardens again. 

It’s very important not to let any water touch the wax, as this may disrupt the natural texture. It also ensures that no direct heat source comes into contact with your wax. This can cause scorching and damage your beeswax.

Crockpot Water Bath

Aside from being useful in cooking, crockpots also make for a great beeswax melting tool.

  1. Take one large crockpot and a smaller metal bowl or jug that easily fits inside the dish. This will hold your beeswax, so ensure it’s not a dish you’d like to use for food at a later date.
  2. Fill the crockpot to half full, but make sure the water won’t flow over the top of your metal bowl/jug into the wax.
  3. Bring the water to simmer and place the metal dish inside. 
  4. Carefully add your beeswax to the metal bowl or jug, taking care to avoid contaminating the beeswax with any water. It will start to melt slowly. 

Through this method of melting, you have somewhat separated your clean beeswax from the dirty substances. As you carefully remove the dish from the crockpot, you’ll find a disk of clean beeswax at the top, and the dirty beeswax will have sunk to the bottom. 

After either melting method, you can clean your beeswax further through cheesecloth filtration.

Cleaning Beeswax

When melted, this once solid beeswax is far easier to clean in a liquid state as it allows us to manipulate it further than the solid form. 

Although beeswax has many antimicrobial properties, there may still be some bacteria inside before cleaning. Bacterial organisms that may have been present in your wax will have been destroyed by the high melting temperature.

Now it’s time to clean your beeswax of solid impurities. There are two methods:

  • The temperature method
  • Cheesecloth filtration

Temperature Method

The first way to clean your beeswax is actually by repeating the same method you took to melt it. Melting the wax down also helps to separate the impurities from the pure wax. 

You might have already noticed the clean beeswax forming a kind of disk at the top of your dish, with some “dirtier” remnants at the bottom. Simply repeat either one of your melting processes and collect the clean disk from the top.

Cheesecloth Filtration

Another technique of cleaning melted beeswax is through a filtration system. The filtration is done with a cheesecloth. 

By using a fine straining system, you’re removing every ounce of impurity from your beautiful beeswax. Not only will your wax be smoother and softer, but also of a higher quality 

The simple steps are:

  1. Gather your cheesecloth and a tall jug or large storage container that the beeswax will drain into. Ideally, this will be where you’d like to keep your beeswax until use.
  2. Lay the cheesecloth tightly over the storage container and secure in place by tying a string over the edge and around the container, or with elastic.
  3. Immediately after your wax has melted, by following our steps above, slowly pour it over the cheesecloth. 
  4. The clean wax will slowly drip through the cheesecloth, leaving the impurities behind on top of the cloth.
  5. If you have a large amount of beeswax to clean, it’s a sensible idea to do it in smaller batches to prevent the wax from cooling and solidifying while it drips through the cheesecloth.

What’s Next?

Clean beeswax has a number of uses in the medicinal and cosmetics industry. It also has many uses to make natural candles as well as sustainable alternatives to plastic, such as beeswax wrap. 

Melting and cleaning your beeswax is certainly not as complex as it may seem! Pretty much anyone can do it, anywhere. Choose your melting method, and then clean the beeswax using either the temperature method or cheesecloth filtration. The world is then your beehive!

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