Lately, I have been making a lot of salves for gift-giving. Dreamy salve, all-purpose healing salve, warming salve, and even naked salve (much less exciting than it sounds!) One of the key ingredients in homemade salve is beeswax.
How Do Bees Make Beeswax?
The worker honey bee has eight wax glands on their abdomens. A young worker bee produces brittle, scaly, wax flakes. After some additional production by the bee, the wax scale is now soft, pliable, and ready to create honeycomb cells to store honey. White beeswax turns yellow into honey and pollen.
How is Beeswax Harvested?
A bee hive is full of honey that lies under a protective layer of beeswax. To harvest the honey, you must separate it from the wax. Oncecollected, you can turn it into lip balm, beauty products, lotion, and other cosmetic and personal care products.
Personal Care Products
If you pick up a skin care product and look at the ingredient list, there is a good chance you will find beeswax listed. Beeswax is often used in skin care products because it protects against irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe. It also offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits making it helpful in treating skin irritation. People with sensitive skin find beeswax products soothing and protective.
But you can use this natural wax for so much more than dry skin and chapped lips. Beeswax has a multitude of non-candle and non-cosmetic uses.This versatile by-product of honey production has several uses around the home as well.
How Can I Use Beeswax?
Batiking is a method of fabric dyeing in which the fabric not intended to be dyed is covered with removable wax. The ideal mixture for batik preparation is 30 percent beeswax and 70 percent paraffin, creating the perfect batik wax mixture.
Ukrainian Egg Decorating
A pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write,” as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.
Coat things like hand tools, cast iron pieces, and shovels to prevent them from rusting out. You can even rub beeswax on the wooden handle of your shovel to help protect against wear and tear.
If you produce your own cheese, beeswax is the best natural cover for cheeses. If the cheese is wet, you will need to let it dry before applying the hot wax. This is to ensure a proper seal because the wax will not adhere to wet surfaces. Beeswax works well for sealing because it has a low melting point.
Waxed thread is often used in handmade crafts such as hand-sewn leather goods and making jewelry. The wax on the thread provides lubrication that can make sewing easier. Plain thread can be rubbed against a cube of bee’s wax, coating the thread in the wax.
Coating Nails & Screws
Once you coat your nails and screws with beeswax, they do not splinter the wood while you hammer them in.
Rub beeswax on sliding glass doors, windows, or drawers that tend to stick to restore smooth movement. Beeswax is also a fantastic lubricant for oiling very old furniture joints.
There are many different variations for making beeswax crayons, but most use equal weight amounts of beeswax and white bar soap. Beeswax crayons tend to be harder than the soy, giving the ability to add more details to pictures.
You can make a beeswax seal and apply it to an envelope that you are sending out. This would be great for an invitation to a wedding or baby shower.
Waterproof Shoes and Boots
Rub the beeswax over the entire shoe. Next, use a blow dryer to melt the wax all over the shoe then let set for about 5 minutes before wearing!
DIY Shoe Polish
Restore leather boots, shoes, pocketbooks, and more with this basic shoe polish formula. Combine and heat 2 oz of oil and 1/2 oz beeswax until the beeswax is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 tsp pigment, adding more for a darker color. Makes ½ cup, just about what you’d buy in the store. Store in a small jar.
Beeswax For Hair
Beeswax is used as a remedy for dry hair, to help start and maintain dreadlocks, and as wax for a man’s beard or mustache. Combine & heat equal parts of beeswax and coconut oil. Allow it to cool and set. Using small portions at a time, work it into the mustache. Comb to style.
Grease Cookie Sheets
If you have a block of wax, you can simply rub it over your pans and use it in place of butter or oil. (Beeswax is edible, so this is perfectly safe.) It works best if you warm the sheet a bit first. You can also melt the wax and apply it that way. Over time, the pan will take on a permanent coat of wax, eliminating the need to grease every time.
Beeswax is also traditionally used in making canelés, a small French pastry with a custard center and a caramelized crust, giving them their crispness and a slight honey flavor. A coating of beeswax and butter, frozen to the molds before baking, helps create a protective outer skin that will help protect the shape of the canelés as they bake.
Candles & Luminaries
Beeswax candles burn brighter, remove toxins from the air and have a sweet, warming honey smell, accentuated when mixed with other essential oils. They also burn slower than paraffin candles. Learn how to make beeswax candles HERE and beeswax luminaries HERE.
To make beeswax furniture polish melt 1 T of grated beeswax and stir in 3 T of coconut oil until melted. When this cools and hardens, use a clean cloth to rub it onto your wood furniture. Then using another cloth, buff the furniture until all residue is removed.
Granite Countertop Polish
Keep your granite countertops shiny with beeswax. Rub warmed beeswax in, allow it to dry, and then wipe down to remove any excess. The polish will also help prevent staining.
An alternative to plastic wrap…..make your own beeswax coated cotton material. The warmth of your hands allows you to mold the beeswax to whatever shape you want, and it stays there. When refrigerated, it forms a firm cover to protect your leftovers.
DIY Beeswax Modeling Clay
Modeling clay made from beeswax and plant dyes makes a natural and non-toxic craft. When warmed in your hands to a soft consistency, beeswax modeling clay easily forms into shapes. To preserve your sculpted creations, let the beeswax cool and keep it away from heat.
Make spoon (or board) butter out of mineral oil and natural beeswax. Smooth it into your spoons, spatulas, boards, and bowls. Let them sit for a couple of hours, then rub down with a clean cloth and return them to normal use.
Beeswax actually prevents bronze items from getting tarnished. To guard against oxidation caused by moist air, make a solution of ⅓ pound beeswax melted in one-quart turpentine, then brush on the solution. Buff it with a towel to create a thin, hard coat. Similarly, you can seal a copper sink by rubbing it with softened beeswax and polishing off the excess with a lint-free rag.
I’ve known about the amazing benefits of HONEY for a long time…but never knew BEESWAX had so much to offer as well. After compiling this list, I have realized I need to start utilizing it more in my life. It truly is an amazing substance!