We all know that beeswax makes great candles but did you know that it has many household uses? This is especially true in the movement away from commercially made cosmetics and cleaning products. Beeswax can be a useful ingredient to have around the home.
What is beeswax?
Beeswax is produced in 8 wax-producing glands on a honeybee’s abdomen. It is secreted in the form of scales or flakes. When the bees want to make comb they collect the wax flakes and chew them until they’re soft and malleable and then form them into the comb-like molded clay.
Beeswax melts at around 146 degrees which means it keeps it’s solid form at household temperature. It is a great emulsifier meaning it helps to thoroughly mix and incorporate oil and liquid ingredients, it is water resistant and helps to thicken products like lotions or balms. It is completely natural and edible. It’s less flaky, more penetrating and stickier than paraffin wax.
How beeswax can be used
There is a reason wax was used to seal important documents long ago. Wax is a phenomenal sealant. Corked bottles can be dipped in beeswax to seal the contents for years.
Wax can also be used to create re-usable food wrap. Fabric can be covered in a thin layer of beeswax and used in the same way you might use plastic wrap or tin foil. See my post DIY Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps for step by step instructions.
The world of homemade cosmetics has really opened up in the past few years. People are uncomfortable with the chemical ingredients in things like deodorant, sunscreen, lotions, and lip balms. We are finding that many of these things can be made at home for a fraction of the price and with safe, natural ingredients.
When experimenting with DIY cosmetic recipes, beeswax makes a great thickening agent. Coconut oil works well too but melts at a much lower temperature than beeswax. Beeswax lends a solid texture to cosmetics that need to be stored in a tube. Like lip balm or stick deodorant. See Beeswax in Your Armpits
Due to its waterproofing quality, it is great for products that prevent chapping like lotions or balms. It creates a seal on the skin that traps in healing oils and prevents them from being washed away. It’s a great addition for sunscreen that will be worn in the water. We also use it in our udder balm for our dairy goats.
If you have a sticky drawer or finicky zipper rub a bit of beeswax on the surface and the surfaces will glide much more smoothly. sticky drawers finicky zipper
Beeswax can be used as a wood sealant and polish. It protects wood surfaces from water damage, moisturizes the wood, seals fine scratches and creates a great shine. See Beeswax Wood Polish
It also works well in natural shoe polish recipes.
My husband Zach is a blacksmith and he brushes a coat of beeswax on all his metal work to prevent rusting. For more about this process visit my post Using Beeswax for Metal Work.
Beeswax can also be used to prevent rusting on outdoor tools like shovels, hoes and axes.
It also makes a great seasoning on a cast iron skillet. (More on that in a future post)