Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to Clean Beeswax

I promised to share my herbal balm recipe, and here is the first step - cleaning the beeswax. Of course, you can always purchase cleaned beeswax, but I like to be involved in every process from the very beginning if at all possible. I like to work with the most basic components of every product, to get a feel for the raw ingredients. And fortunately, we're lucky enough to have a local source for beeswax, as we have several beekeepers in the area.

How To Clean Beeswax:

The first step is to remove the heavy dirt and particles. We do this by placing the beeswax in a pot of water and heating it until the wax melts. I want to remind you here to be very aware of what you are doing when you melt beeswax. Don't walk away from the stove! Once the wax melts, turn off the heat and allow the wax and water to cool.

The picture on the left shows cooling beeswax just starting to set up. When it sets up, the wax will sit on the water. Remove the beeswax from the water, and dump out the used water. Fill the pan back up with water and simmer it again. You repeat the process exactly as before, but this time, when the wax is melted, filter it water and all through a tightly-woven cloth or an old stocking. Have a second container and the cloth ready in advance, because you want to pour this before the beeswax starts setting up again.

Allow the wax to cool and become solid. Remove the wax and throw out the water. I take the water outside rather than pouring it down the drain. Beeswax will stop up your drain! Allow the wax to dry for a day or so, then use it as needed.
Is this a messy process? Yes! Do you have to be careful? Yes! But it gets easier after the first time, and there's a lot of satisfaction to be found in doing it yourself from the very beginning.

We'll talk about infusing the oils for the herbal balms in the next post.