7 Off-Grid Uses For Beeswax (No. 4 Is Our Favorite!)

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7 Off-Grid Uses For Beeswax (No. 4 Is Our Favorite!)

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If you raise bees, you no doubt are aware of the delicious elixir they produce as the byproducts of their daily toils: honey. However, many beekeepers neglect another significant product produced by these hardworking insects — the wax!

Beeswax isn’t just for candles anymore. It has a number of uses around the house and around the homestead, and should be saved (and treasured) by every beekeeper. Don’t discard your wax next season. Instead, recycle it in one or more of these easy steps.

1. Salves and cosmetics

Beeswax is already used in a variety of common skin care products, including lip balms (Burt’s Bees, anyone?), moisturizers and body creams. It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral agent. It can serve as an emollient to soften and soothe skin, as well as a humectant to attract water and hold in moisture.

You can make your own cosmetics or slaves by combining with common household ingredients such as olive oil, vitamin E oil and cocoa butter.

Finally, beeswax can be used for your locks, as well. It helps to remedy dry, brittle hair and can be used as a wax for a man’s facial hair. Make sure you add equal parts coconut oil to prevent it from becoming too thick, and only use small portions at a time so that you don’t wind up with overly greasy hair.

2. Arts and crafts

Beeswax can be used decoratively in several creative ways. Batiking is a method of fabric dyeing that requires covering portions that aren’t meant to be dyed with a thin layer of removable wax. You can use paraffin, but if you have extra beeswax kicking around, consider using this, as it will be more natural and set up better than a paraffin-only solution.

You also can use beeswax, when melted, to decorate materials such as Easter eggs. Simply dip a brush into the melted wax, and then paint onto the surface you wish to cover. Easy peasy!

3. Cheese waxing

Beeswax is a great option for DIY cheesemakers. If you own goats or dairy cows, consider saving your beeswax to seal and cover your cheeses. This will help them last longer and also preserve their natural flavors.

4. Prevent rust and provide lubrication

Beeswax can often be used as a substitute for greasy oils used for polishing wood or preventing rust. Coat old hand tools, cast iron pans, doors or wood furniture joints. This will help restore range of motion and prevent premature aging.

5. Crayons and candles

You likely already know the beauty of beeswax for DIY candle making, but did you know they also can be used to make crayons? If you have children, this is a great Saturday project to keep them entertained. Beeswax crayons are harder and less crumbly than store-bought crayons, allowing finer precision and detailing for young fingers.

And if you choose to embark on the traditional route of candle making, you’re in good company. Beeswax is a popular choice of wax for candles because it burns brighter and cleaner than artificial waxes. It also helps to remove toxins from the air and gives off a fresh scent when mixed with essential oils.

6. Shoe repair

When mixed with oil, beeswax can be used to restore luster to faded boots and shoes. It stores for a remarkably long period of time, and even can be used to help waterproof shoes and boots — just make sure you let it dry before wearing!

7. In the kitchen

Beeswax can be used as a substitute for butter or oil when greasing a pan. It is edible, and won’t leave a hard residue on the surface of your pans. To use it, warm your cookie sheets or pans first. Then rub a chunk of wax on the pan’s surface. Keep in mind that a thin layer of wax will remain on the surface of the pan permanently, so you won’t need to grease every time.

You also can use beeswax to polish your delicate granite countertops. Use warm beeswax and be sure to allow it to dry before wiping down. The fine remaining sheen will prevent future staining.

Beeswax is easy to extract from honey and loose comb. Make sure you always use a double-boiler system when extracting wax, as it is highly flammable and can flash at any moment. A double-boiler will prevent you from overheating the wax and causing a fire.

To save time, separate your wax and honey at the end of your beekeeping season — do it all at once. It can be a messy process, but it’s easy to finish once you’ve started. Finding new ways to recycle your beeswax can be a fun way to spend those cloistered winter months.

What other uses for beeswax have you tried?

How To Make Beeswax Candles

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How To Make Beeswax Candles – Easy, Healthy and Affordable! I love burning candles. There is something so serene about the warm glow of the flame. They warm up the room, smell great and who doesn’t look more attractive in candle light? As we approach the winter months and the holiday season grows closer many …

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How To Make A DIY Beehive In A Jar

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How To Make A DIY Beehive In A Jar There are so many benefits to beekeeping: honey, beeswax, royal jelly and the knowledge that you are helping the bee population survive. It is a fun and rewarding hobby or occupation; more and more people are raising bees in suburban areas than ever. I mean, how …

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Survial Mom DIY: Make Pure Beeswax from Honeycomb

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how to make beeswaxThis year I began a beehive, but didn’t get to harvest any honey for myself. The bee population outgrew their home and I lost half my bees. The remaining ones only produced enough honey for themselves, so I will have to wait until next year. I was looking forward to having my own raw organic honey, honeycomb, and wax products from my own hive. What a bitter disappointment! But, a fellow beekeeper offered me his honeycomb after he took the honey from it. Of course, I accepted.

Preparing

photo 1 (2)My husband picked up the big box of honeycomb on his way home from work. Inside the box was a large plastic bag, filled with a gooey, sticky mess. Just pulling it out of the bag was enough to coat me in honey up to my elbows. It was also kind of dirty looking. Then I noticed bugs, like ants, moths, and dead bees in it. I always thought honeycomb was all a pretty yellow or gold color, but its not. This had some yellow comb, but also had brown, orangey, and even some black streaks running through it. I was a bit skeptical at this point, unsure if this was even usable material.

I photo 2 (2)decided to make a go of it despite my concerns. I really didn’t want to tell the beekeeper I threw his honeycomb out. I’d feel guilty. So, I cleaned my deep kitchen sink really well and filled it with warm water and added the honeycomb, piece by piece.  I washed, rewashed, and rinsed it several times to just get rid of the honey residue. Then I put a pot with an inch or so of water on the stove on low and added the comb. I watched it start melting and kept adding more until the pile in my sink was all in the pot.

It was funny to compare how much space it took up in the box and my sink with the melted wax that fit into an average size pot. Honeycomb has a lot of volume, but it condenses down into a much smaller amount of actual wax.

Getting started

photo 1 (1)As the honeycomb melted, it “released” the dead bugs, impurities, and strange colors I had seen earlier. The debris went to the bottom of the pot and the wax floated to the top.

Next, I cooled it until the wax became solid.  (I put it in my refrigerator to speed up the process) I couldn’t drain the water until I broke the wax block up a bit, but thee was already a crack across the top from the cooling process. I drained the pot, rinsed the pot and the block of wax, and put an inch of clean water back in the pot.  The bottom of the wax had to be scraped off  in a few areas with imbedded debris.  It took several rounds of doing this until I judged it “clean” enough.

photo 1When it was time to pour it into a clean container, I used an old Cool Whip tub. If I melted it or damaged it, who cares? I found a funnel, washed and dried it, then stretched clean knee high panty hose over the funnel. That would keep any floaters that still remained, out of the wax. I made a small indentation, a little “well”, in the middle of the panty hose so the wax wouldn’t run off the sides. I held my funnel in one hand, and poured the wax with the other.  The wax did cool a bit and plugged up the nylon, but I just moved it over a little bit each time it happened. I’m very glad I had the nylon there, especially at the end, because it caught quite a bit of “sediment” from the bottom of the pan.

Finishing

photo 2Because I wanted small cubes of wax, I hunted around for some containers to use as a mold. Fortunately, I had some one ounce containers with lids that I bought from a garage sale. They were leftover from a bridal or baby shower. I thought I could put them to use one day. They were perfect, and only .25 for all 10 containers! Silicone ice cube trays are another great option for this. I don’t know about you, but I have a stack of them in different shapes.

I rewarmed the wax in the microwave, although I probably should have used a double boiler method for safety reasons. I filled all ten containers with beautiful pure yellow beeswax. Now I have to decide if I am going to keep them or give some to friends.

It is tempting to keep them all for myself because I want to learn to use wax for candles, to make homemade deodorant, and as a base for medicinal ointments. Here is one of the recipes I’ve made, but feel free to try different Essential Oils for different conditions.

Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Cream

1/4 cup Beeswax. Shavings or pieces are easier to melt.

2 TB Coconut Oil

2 TB Almond Oil

10 drops Tea Tree Oil

10 drops Lavender Oil

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil over a low burner, Crockpot(TM), or double boiler. (This particular double boiler is silicone and folds flat for storage.) Once melted, remove from heat. Add all the other ingredients. I like to pour mine into Altoids tins. I ask everyone to save their tins of any type for me. You can also make lip balm in empty tubes you can buy online.

There are recipes for deodorant, too. I made a large batch some time ago, but haven’t finished it up yet. I just don’t want to be putting the aluminum found in most anti-perspirants on my skin. It’s not good for you. I also found a great link for my next project – learning to make your own Beeswax candles.  It’s exciting to learn how to become self-sustaining by using the things around you in your environment!

I am glad I tried rendering down the raw honeycomb into pure beeswax. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming, but the benefits outweighed any inconvenience I went through. I can improve upon it each time I try it again. So, if anyone ever offers you some raw honeycomb, take it, and turn it into a DIY project of your own.

how to make beeswax