How to Render Beeswax
So you’re done extracting all of your delicious golden honey. Wondering what to do with all the wax cappings and honeycomb you have left over? Render you wax so you can make lip balms, salves, creams candles, and more. To render means to separate fat from oil, but in this case it means to separate honey from wax. Also note that rendering will help filter out debris, such as dead bees, propolis, random plant material, and more. Here are simple step-by-step instructions on how to do this:
- Cardboard or newspaper
- Wax Cappings and/or Honeycomb
- Large Piece of Cheesecloth
- Large Twist Tie or Rubber Band
- Old Large Metal Pot
- Old Metal Tongs
Important note: Since beeswax is so sticky and residue will remain on any equipment used during the process, we recommend to use old pot and tongs that will only be used for rendering beeswax again in the future.
1. Before starting, protect your work area with cardboard or newspaper as beeswax is very difficult to remove from surfaces. Place the piece of cheesecloth on your work surface and place cappings/honeycomb in the center of the cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around the wax by drawing up the edges to the center, creating a bundle. Wrap a large twist tie or rubber band around the extra fabric at the top. Secure it tightly to make sure that debris from the honeycomb is not able to escape out of the top.
2. Fill a large metal pot ½ way full of water. Place this pot on the stove top set on medium to low heat. Since beeswax is highly flammable, it is important to remember to keep the water on a low heat (never boiling) and to never leave the melting beeswax unattended. Place the bundle into the water. As the water starts to warm, the wax within the bundle will start to melt. Liquid honey and wax will start to seep through the holes in the cheesecloth. The honey will sink to the bottom of the pot, whereas the beeswax will float to the top.
3. When the wax is almost entirely melted, lift the cheesecloth bundle out of the water, hold it over the pot and use metal tongs to squeeze out any residual wax that might be remaining.
4. Remove cheesecloth completely from the water. Any debris that was originally in the cappings/honeycomb will have remained inside the cloth. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool which can take up to 2 to 3 hours. During the cooling process, the beeswax will start to form a hard layer on top of the water.
5. After the beeswax is completely cool, gently separate the disk of hard wax from the edge of the pan by gently pushing down on the sides. Remove the disk from the pan and set on a cloth towel to dry.
It is now ready to use in your favorite body care recipe or to make candles.