An Easy Way to Clean Beeswax
There are plenty of different ways to clean the beeswax that you harvest from your bees, and after Rachael did a lot of research and YouTube watching, we decided the easiest method for us was to filter is through very fine cheesecloth in hot water. It’s a bit time consuming, but we didn’t have a huge amount of wax to clean and it seemed like the simplest method.
- Large Pot (Once you use this pot for wax, you will not be able to use it for anything else. We bought ours at a second hand store.)
- Metal tongs
Begin by making wax balls and wrapping them in cheesecloth. Giving yourself plenty of space to work first lay newspaper down to protect the surface you are working on. It will get messy. As you can see we had a rather large bag of wax, most of which was given to us by our beekeeper friend who has been providing us with swarms. The first step is to roll the wax into balls about an 1.5 to 2 inches round. Wrap the wax ball in double thick cheesecloth and tie with the twine.
Next clean the wax. Once you have wrapped the wax in the cheese cloth, you will want to soak one at a time in very hot, but not quite boiling water. You only want to see tiny bubbles in the water. Keep the top of the cheesecloth out of the water so you are able to hold it without burning yourself. Let the ball soak for a minute or two giving the wax a chance to soften and melt. Soon you will see the water start to change color. Pull the cheesecloth just out of the water, and using the tongs, work the wax out by squeezing it slowly. This process will have to be done several times to get all the wax out. You will know when its done when you no longer see wax oozing out.
We were able to process about four or five wax balls in a medium sized pot, lightly cleaning and reusing the cheesecloth each time. As you can see, what you are left with is a disgusting blob of bee body parts, dirt, and golly knows what else. NASTY! I actually took a close up picture of it, but decided it was too gross. Once you have done multiple balls set the pot aside to cool. The wax will harden at the top of the pot, and you will be able to remove the disc of wax. I would suggest breaking the disc up into smaller pieces as the process will have to be repeated about three times. You can reuse the cheesecloth for the first two times, but on the final cleaning use a fresh one.
Even with the dirtiest wax, you can get it very clean using this method. Using a fresh cheesecloth and a very clean pot, For the third and final strains, clean the pot out of any debres and use fresh cheesecloth to strain the wax. Do no use the tongs on the final strains. The tongs with force whatever dirt is still in the wax through the fresh cheese cloth, and we don’t want that. Just let the wax strain through the cheesecloth on it’s own. Be sure to let it melt completely and lift the cheesecloth out of the hot water holding it over the pot for a minute or two as it drains. After the final strains, let the wax cool and harden in the pot. Once it has hardened remove the wax disk from the pot and let it dry completely.
As a side note. Never leave your pots of melted wax outside to cool. You might find yourself with a few thousand unwanted guests, buzzing about looking for a free meal. That was a lesson learned the hard way.
I hope this guide on how to render beeswax from honeycomb was helpful. It is by no means the only way, but it was the easiest and cleanest way for us.