Beeswax is a versatile by-product of honey production and a very valuable tool. There are many ways you can begin using beeswax around the homestead. It can be used by itself or with a combination of other ingredients to create products that have numerous uses for the home, the body, and even the tool shed. Beeswax can be utilized in several body care products, food preservation options, and many simple household tasks. Therefore, it is a wise idea to keep a well-stocked supply ready to use whenever you need it.
Beeswax is made by bees as a building material to form the hive structure known as the honeycomb. That honeycomb produces many pounds of useful beeswax. Honeycomb is a luxurious yellow or brown color; every hive will contain several sheets of this beeswax comb. If you raise your own bees, then you can easily harvest your own beeswax to use around the homestead. But if you do not raise them yourself, then you can purchase beeswax from a beekeeper or a commercial outlet. When purchasing commercially, note that beeswax can be bought in yellow, white, or bleached shades. Regardless of where you get it, the possibilities for using beeswax around the homestead are almost limitless.
Beeswax is commonly used in many body care products since it provides a safeguard against irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral benefits, which makes it useful in treating skin irritations. One of the most common uses for beeswax is lip balm. It is a simple item to make at home and it also saves money otherwise spent buying organic brands at the store. The cost to make it is pennies per container. You can make DIY beeswax lip balm using beeswax, coconut oil, and a butter such as shea, cocoa, or mango. It can be flavored with several flavor choices; just pick your favorite essential oil for flavor.
Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm
Melt all the beeswax, butter, and coconut oil in a double boiler. Add and stir in your essential oils, then carefully pour into your small lip tubes or tin. Beeswax is extremely flammable; never use it over an open flame, always use a double boiler and never leave the heat on while away from it. Beeswax has a high melting point and can take a while to fully melt, so be patient.
Homemade Beeswax Lotion Bar
Another handy body aid made with beeswax is a lotion bar. A lotion bar is a solid bar of hand lotion, just rub the bar between your hands until it’s warm, then rub it on your skin like lotion. You will need a mold to make your lotion bar; a cupcake mold works great! Make your own with this easy lotion bar recipe:
- 3.5 oz. olive oil
- 3.5 oz. shea butter
- 2.5 oz. yellow beeswax
- 30 drops essential oil or fragrance oil
Combine the olive oil and yellow beeswax in your double boiler, or if you’d like you can use a microwave and a glass measuring cup. If using the microwave, heat using 30-60 second bursts until the beeswax is fully melted. Once melted, use caution for it will be extremely hot. Add your choice of essential oil or fragrance, stir then pour into the mold, let it sit, and when it is solid and cooled, remove it from the mold and keep it in a jar, tin, or baggie, and in a cool place.
Using Beeswax in Salves and Ointments
Salves and ointments are other great provisions that you can make using beeswax, and they can be a lifesaver on the homestead. Salves and ointments are made using beeswax as the stabilizing agent. Some examples of this are drawing salve, itch relievers, sore muscle rubs, and even a diaper rash ointment. One of the most used salves on our homestead is the drawing salve. It’s great for splinters and stings. You can find several various recipes for salves with beeswax on the internet. All will involve melting beeswax with a herb-infused oil, and essential oils.
Beeswax salve even works for the armpits in the way of natural deodorant. Chemical-free deodorant is especially critical for women because the lymph nodes in the armpits help to eliminate toxins in the breast tissue. Many store-bought deodorants contain chemicals that mimic natural hormones and have been linked to breast cancer. You can find a ton of homemade deodorant recipes on the internet, however simple is often better, so try this one to start. Remember this is not an antiperspirant, it is a deodorant.
- 3/4 oz. beeswax
- 2 oz. coconut oil
- 3/4 oz. shea butter
- 2 T. baking soda
- 2 T. corn starch
- 1/4 c. arrowroot powder
- 10-20 drops tea tree oil (you can also add another 10-20 of any other essential oil for fragrance)
Melt the beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter, remove from it from heat. Add baking soda, corn starch, and arrowroot powder. Stir it until smooth, then add tea tree and essential oils. Pour into either a used empty deodorant container or new ones if you choose.
DIY Beeswax Mustache Wax
Men aren’t to be left out of the great body products that can be made from beeswax: you can also make mustache wax and hair pomades. Beeswax is great for moisturizing dry hair, maintaining dreadlocks, and as wax control for beards or mustaches. If you are searching for an easy mustache wax, try this. You will need:
- Coconut oil
- Essential oil of choice
- Tins for storage
Take equal parts beeswax and coconut oil, melt them together, stir, then remove the mixture from heat and add a few drops of essential oil. Pour into the tins, let it harden and you have a beeswax-based ‘stache wax!
Using Beeswax Around the Homestead
Beeswax isn’t just for the body: its benefits extend to food preservation as well, still bringing great health benefits with it. One wonderful fact about beeswax is that it is totally edible! After all, it is what we press to get the honey. Therefore, it’s a great alternative for some other food-related tasks.
Beeswax is a great way to grease your pans and cookie sheets. Keep a block or chunk of beeswax in the kitchen to use when you want to grease something. Warm the sheet in the oven, then rub it down with the beeswax. The warmth will soften the beeswax and allow it to coat the pan. If you repeat this every time you use the pan, eventually it will take on a permanent coat of wax, eliminating the need to grease it every time.
Reusable Food Wrap
A reusable food wrap can also be made from beeswax. There are commercial versions of this available, but you can make your own without a lot of effort. Beeswax food wraps are eco-friendly and better for your health than plastic wrap. You can reuse them time and time again; just rinse clean with cold water and mild soap. Don’t use hot water, as that would melt the wax! Choose a material that is 100% cotton and thin, cut the size and shape you want. Supplies needed are:
- Beeswax pellets or shredded form
- Cotton material
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Paintbrush (that you don’t mind saving to use again or discarding it)
Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet and place the fabric on top of the parchment paper. If your fabric is one-sided, place the patterned side facedown. (Use a new piece of parchment paper each time you make another wrap.) Evenly dispense a generous amount of beeswax pellets all over the fabric. Make sure to get pellets near the edges also. Heat the sheet in the oven for about 4-8 minutes.
When the beeswax is completely melted, take the tray out and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly over the entire fabric. Remove the fabric from the baking sheet and hang it to dry. When using it, the warmth from your hand will help form the cloth into the shape you need. When refrigerated it forms a firm cover to protect your leftovers with. Use the food wrap to cover bowls and plates, wrap sandwiches, snacks, or bread. Why not make a few sheets and give them as a gift to a friend?
Do you make your own cheese? Many homesteaders make a lot of cheeses and beeswax is a great natural cover for cheeses and easy to use because of its low melting point. Make sure the cheese is dry so the beeswax will adhere and use it as you would any other cheese wax.
When it comes to canning, beeswax has been the main choice for hundreds of years to prevent jam spoilage. Simply melt it and pour it over the top of jams and jellies.
DIY Beeswax Furniture Polish
Several household chores can be managed with ease by simply using beeswax. The common chore in every home of using furniture polish to maintain your wood furniture can be done with a beeswax polish you make yourself. A simple combination of:
Melt the beeswax and stir in oils, pour it into a pint-sized mason jar. Let it cool for a couple of hours, then keep the jar sealed when not in use. Use a soft cloth to apply polish in small amounts to the surfaces of your wooden furniture, then buff the polish to a shine with another clean, soft cloth.
Do you use hand saw often? Rub some beeswax on the saw teeth, and it will cut through wood more easily. The same principle applies for nails and screws: rub a little beeswax on and they will go into the wood much easier, with less chance of splitting the wood.
Beeswax can also keep your granite and concrete countertops shiny. Just take warmed beeswax and rub it in, allow it to dry, and then wipe down the counter to remove any excess. The beeswax also helps to prevent staining.
Waterproofing with Beeswax
Do you have leather items or shoes and boots that could use waterproofing? Beeswax can do this for you. Simply rub beeswax all over the leather surface and then use a blow dryer or heat gun to melt the beeswax. Let it stand until dry; now it’s ready to go out in the weather.
Do those shoes and boots need a polish as well as waterproofing? Once again it is beeswax to the rescue! All that you need to make your own polish is:
- 2 T. white beeswax (Note: White beeswax is preferred to allow color pigment)
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- A small tin or storage jar
- 1/2 t. oxide pigment powder (optional, for color)
Combine the olive oil and beeswax in a double boiler or microwave, once it is a blended liquid, add the pigment and stir until smooth. Pour the liquid into your tin or jar and let it solidify. Now it is ready to use!
Caring for Cast Iron with Beeswax
When applied to cast iron pans, hand tools, and shovels beeswax can help prevent rust. Seasoning cast iron cookware with beeswax is all-natural and edible as well as a great way to waterproof, helping to prevent that dreaded rust. Beeswax hardens better at room temperature than oils so you won’t get that sticky residue that sometimes happens with oil either. Here is how to treat cast iron cookware with beeswax:
- First, clean the pan using salt and a stiff brush, steel wool, or plain soap and water. Rinse well with hot water. Dry thoroughly with a towel.
- Heat the pan up a bit to get out any extra water.
- Sprinkle in some beeswax just enough so you can spread it around as it melts.
- Take a paper towel and push the wax all over the pan, bottom too.
- Place the pan in a 400-degree oven for around 30 minutes to an hour. It will make smoke as the wax is burned off, so have ventilation.
- It is finished when most of the wax is gone and the pan has a dry-shiny appearance.
Homemade Beeswax Candles
Considering all the ways of using beeswax around the homestead, the best-known use has to be candlemaking. Beeswax makes great candles because they emit negative ions when burned, which means they reduce dust, dander, and mold that float in the air we breathe. They actually work to purify the air instead of polluting it as other wax candles do!
Container candles are simple to make with beeswax; just make sure your container can handle the heat. A good choice for this would be canning jars or metal tins. You can purchase wicks that have a metal tab on the bottom that will stick to the container with a dab of hot glue. When the wick is secure, pour in the melted wax and place a clothespin across the top of the jar to keep the wick straight. Allow it to cure for a couple of days, then trim the wick to about 1/4 inch above the wax. When lighting your candle, direct the flame at the wick’s base so that some of the wax melts and is drawn up into the wick—this will help it burn correctly. Never leave a candle unattended.
Beeswax has so much to offer; it has even more than what could be listed in this article, so take some time to do even more research for yourself. I am sure that you will find beeswax to be a boundless help to have around any homestead. It even has a very long shelf life, making it the perfect tool for those who desire to be more self-sufficient. As a natural product, beeswax is safe when used for most purposes around any homestead. However, keep in mind that even though beeswax is considered to be safe when used in most conditions, including skin applications, it is always wise to consult with your doctor if you have any preexisting conditions or concerns. That way, you can truly enjoy using this sweet and wonderful tool!
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