Turn the heat to medium or medium-low and let it melt. When the beeswax has melted and is boiling with the water, then turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down completely. This takes some time, so don’t hover over it. I’ll even allow mine to cool overnight. As the beeswax cools, it’ll separate from the water and the dirty particles that were in the comb. The beeswax floats on the top and the other particles and water settle underneath it.
After it’s completely cool, the beeswax will have pulled away from the sides of the pot, making it easy to remove.
Once you’ve removed the melted wax, set it on paper towels to drain. On the bottom of the wax there will still be lots of particles, etc. Cut these away with a sharp knife so that all you’re left with is a slab of wax. It’ll still be somewhat dirty, but that’s okay for now.
Throw out the dirty water (but not down the sink as any particles and beeswax will clog your drain).
Repeat these steps a couple of times.
When you’ve removed all the major particles you can, the final step involves melting the wax without the water. Clean the pot as best you can to remove any of the dirty particles and wax. To be safe, you’ll want to do this in a double-broiler or at least put your smaller pot in a larger pot of water so that your pot with the wax does not sit directly on the burner. If the wax gets too hot it can ignite. Add your clean wax to the pot, turn the burner on low.
While the wax is melting, cut up an old, but clean, pair of stockings. I simply cut the feet off of them and stretch them over the openings of clean, plastic containers (i.e. smaller margarine tubs, yogurt cups, or even milk containers – not the plastic kind).
Once the wax is completely melted, pour the wax over the stockings which filter out the final bee particles and dirt so that you end up with clean wax.
Allow the wax to cool completely (depending on the size of the container and how deep the wax is, this could take overnight).
Once it’s completely cool, you can cut away the container and store your beeswax until you’re ready to use it!
Bubba’s Beez (my son James aka Bubba) is supplying me (his good ol’ mom) with raw beeswax for making lip balm, hand salves, etc. The problem is, no one wants to buy lip balm with a bee leg in it (or any of the other various bee parts I’ve found over the past week). At least I wouldn’t want to so that makes me assume that others wouldn’t want to either.
So, how do you go from this:
Beeswax Straight from the Hive
Before I explain the steps involved, here are a few key tips to remember:
Use a pot or utensils that you don’t need any longer. Beeswax is very difficult to remove and it’s just easier to part with a pot you no longer want or need than to use one of your good ones.
- Do not leave the beeswax unattended. It can easily catch on fire (as any wax can).
- Melt the wax on a lower setting, not high.
- Be patient with this process, it takes awhile.
Okay, now that I’ve said those things, let’s move on to cleaning the wax.
Fill your pot with water to about halfway and add the unclean comb. Don’t stuff the pot though.
UPDATE 3/1/2013: If the beeswax you have is black, do not use this wax. It is really old wax and will not render anything useful. I tried and it does not work. Try to use wax that is very pale yellow to a medium brown. This gives really beautiful clean wax when finished properly. Trust me. Do not use the old black wax. It will crumble and disintegrate into complete nastiness. Just thought I’d give you a heads up! Happy beeswax cleaning! One further update – we are now selling Bubba’s Beez non-petroleum jelly and lip balm in various flavors – all completely natural. Email me if you’re interested in purchasing any. You can find us on etsy under Bubba’s Beez. Thanks!