Yeah, not the most glamorous of subjects, but when you harvest honey, you’ll end up with wax. I suppose you could just not worry about it and pitch it outside, but beeswax is useful stuff to have around. Clean beeswax is even more useful. Here’s how to clean beeswax so you can use it in just about anything.
Unfortunately, even if you melt it to separate it from the last bits of honey, there will probably still be some junk in it. If you’re making your own lip balms or ointments, you’ll likely want to use wax without the junk – luckily, this is pretty easy to remedy.
You’ll have to melt everything first (and note that beeswax doesn’t clean up easily, so don’t use your favorite pots, strainers, and bowls for this – in fact, it’s best to have separate utensils just for the wax). You can put chunks of wax in an inch of water to help prevent scorching (the water will separate out as the wax hardens), or just put the wax directly in a pot. If you don’t use water, keep the heat on the low side – you don’t want to burn anything.
Depending on how much wax you have, it should only take a few minutes for things to get pretty melty. As long as it’s starting to liquefy, don’t rush it. While the wax is melting, place a layer or two of cheesecloth into a mesh strainer and prepare a container to hold the molten wax. I used one of those cardboard milk cartons with the top cut off – worked perfectly! It’s probably also a good idea to lay down a baking sheet, some newspaper, or something else to keep things clean, because you’ll almost certainly spill a drop or two or eight.
When the wax is fully melted, take a minute to smear some on any patches of unwanted body hair, let cool, and remove… kidding. Don’t really do that.
Carefully, pour the liquid wax through the strainer into your chosen container. The cheesecloth should remove any pollen, bee parts, and other debris that may have been in the wax, so when it cools and solidifies once more, you’ll have a nice block of pure, fragrant, clean beeswax! Now that you know how to clean beeswax, get started and soon you’ll have pristine stuff to use in things like this lip balm.