How To Filter Beeswax
Honey bees are amazing. Not only do they pollinate our food and give us healthy honey but they give us wax! Beeswax can be used for candles, skin moisturizers, lip balm, unstick a drawer, and more.
Our Honey Bees
We have been keeping bees for over a decade. Every year, we get honey bees to fill two to three beehives. Below is a photo of our beehives. If you look closely, you can see a couple honey bees on the bottom of the beehive. I didn’t want to get too close without my bee suit!
What Natural Beeswax Looks Like
The next photo is of the honey cells the bees create. All of the cells are filled with honey (the liquid you see) and then are capped off when the cell is full. Cells are either filled with honey or brood (baby bee eggs). Each honey bee has a very specific job that it does either in the beehive or collecting pollen to feed the hive.
How To Make Beeswax
Save the pieces! It takes a lot of wax pieces to make a beeswax candle. Most of our wax is saved from the uncapping of honeycomb after our honey harvest. Sometimes we remove wax from the outside edges of a frame when we do a routine hive check.*Disclaimer: Anything the wax touches will forever be beeswax making tools. It is the stickiest, waxiest stuff you will ever work with! Use old spoons and pots and put plastic down everywhere!
Filtering The Beeswax
We use cheese cloth to filter our any impurities that might be in the big bag of raw wax clippings. We put a disposable aluminum tray inside of our old electric griddle. This makes the clean up much easier and faster. It’s hard to see, but under the electric griddle is a plastic garbage bag to protect the table from any possible beeswax spillage.
Our Favorite Technique
We tried several different techniques for filtering the debris out of the the wax.
- A Double Boiler (electric griddle with an aluminum pan and an ounce of water in each).
- Cheese Cloth with all of the wax pieces inside.
Stir/move the cheese cloth around until all of the wax feels melted. Gently squeeze the cheese cloth to get any remaining wax out. *Caution: It is extremely HOT!.
Now you have two options:
1. Let the wax cool. It is lighter than the water and will form on the top of the water.
2. Filter it one more time by pouring all of the liquid though a new piece of cheese cloth or a nut milk bag, into a separate container (add an inch of water to this container). Let it cool.
In the cooling process, wax might stick to the nut milk bag. Just scrape it off so it won’t be wasted.
Here is the filtered beeswax! I love all of the different variations in color from each batch that we made.
This will be melted one more time and made into 100% beeswax candles, lip balm, and hand slave if we’re feeling adventurous!