You are probably asking yourself, what in the world is she talking about! Well, let me tell you:) I posted about how I harvest honey in this post. In one of the last pictures I show you that there is a nice big bunch of wax left over from draining the honey. This wax is still quite tacky and sticky to the touch even after being allowed to sit for along time. I am always sooo busy with family that I actually let mine sit in the bucket for two months before I got back to it, and it still was! When the weather is good and the bees are flying, you can set this wax out for your bees and they will certainly go over it and do a good job of getting any residual honey off it they can! But if you still find it sticky or the weather is not such that the bees can help you clean it, you will need to wash it before using it for other things, like making salves. Trust me, I tried a small bit melted down, without washing it, and mixed in a bit of olive oil, as an experiment, and it just doesn’t work right! So… off to washing!
Get a big bowl or pan out and put the wax in it then add warm, not hot, water to it and swish it all around. I next use one of my honey strainers, but you could use cheesecloth or other small weave strainer, and put that strainer over another container to drain.
Now make sure and do not put either the first pans water nor this water down your drain! There will be enough of the wax in the water to slow your drains or even plug them!
You might have to do this wash/swish/drain procedure a couple of times to get your wax nice and clean but it is worth it because then you will have nice clean wax to start any of your future projects with!
My next step was to melt the wax. You will need to do this in a double boiler type of arrangement.
That picture shows freshly washed wax in the upper pot and in the bottom pot I just put a canning ring in the bottom to raise the upper pot off the heat, and then put some water in the bottom pot. Simmer gently, making sure there is enough water in the bottom pot not to got dry (you might have to add some periodically) and watching that it doesn’t go dry, nor bubble high enough to get water into your melting wax.
(Please overlook the dirty stove! Even when I clean it, I soon do some other thing that messes it right back up! You get to see the good, the bad and the ugly here!lol)
Even after washing the wax you might be surprised at the amount of debris that is still in it! The wax I did looked just gorgeous, but after it was melted, I strained it through cheesecloth and still got quite alot of debris from it! This is the set up I have. I just tie a string around a cheesecloth topped bowl to strain the melted wax.
And this is a picture of the debris!
Since I am just doing this for home use folks, I am sure there are other ways to do big batches. Since I like to leave my honey in the frame until I run out, I was just working with wax from 8 honey frames I had extracted. After it had been melted and strained I poured it into containers to set into blocks I could then use for making healing salves.
I know the top of the cooling wax looks dark in the mold pans, but that changes as it cools!
So that is washing and melting wax!
Big herbal and honey blessings to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages:)