How to Refine Beeswax

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honeycomb
honeycomb (Image: bees wax image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Beeswax can be refined at home from beeswax cappings. Cappings are tiny bits of wax that bees use to plug into the holes of a honeycomb to hold the wax in the comb. You can use whatever method you wish to extract the cappings from the honeycomb. Just be sure to wear proper protective gear so the bees can’t sting you.

Things You'll Need

  • Beeswax cappings
  • Large stainless steel pot filled halfway with water
  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Cheese cloth
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Stainless steel double boiler
  • Half a milk carton (top half removed)
  • Panty hose
  • Large rubber band

Put the beeswax cappings into the pot filled with water and bring it to a boil.

Boil for 30 minutes uncovered then remove the pot from the heat.

Set a large bowl in the sink and cover the top with several layers of cheesecloth.

Affix the cheesecloth to the top of the bowl by cutting a piece of twine a little longer than the circumference of the bowl and tying it around the bowl and cheesecloth to hold it in place.

Pour the contents of the pot through the cheesecloth and allow it to drain into the bowl. Allow the top layer of wax to harden overnight.

Remove the top layer of wax from the liquid in the bowl and break up into smaller pieces. Discard the liquid.

Put the pieces in the top of a double boiler and put water in the bottom of the boiler.

Put the double boiler on the stove and turn on the heat, allowing the water to boil.

Keep the wax in the double boiler until it melts completely.

Stretch a pair of pantyhose in a single layer over the top of half a milk carton. Tie the pantyhose tightly in place with twine.

Remove the top pan of the double boiler and turn off the heat. Pour the wax carefully through the pantyhose and into the milk carton. Allow the wax to dry and harden overnight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spread newspaper on the ground and on the table underneath where you are working. Otherwise, if you spill any wax, it's very difficult to clean up.
  • Watch the double boiler carefully as the wax is highly flammable at this point.
  • Do not squeeze the pantyhose to extract any extra wax because you risk contaminating the newly strained wax.

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