Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honey bees. Out of all the benefits that bees bring to the world this has to be the most useful.
Bees build honeycomb cells made out of wax to store honey and pollen, plus baby bees. Over the centuries man has found a multitude of uses for this wax, not just in areas that spring to mind such as candle-making but in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and all around the home.
Beeswax has so many uses it’s indispensable in every home. It’s natural and sustainable so choose it and you’re saving the world. You’ll find organic beeswax at a good hardware shop or online.
Beeswax around the home
Condition and waterproof leather products such as boots, saddles or bags by rubbing beeswax into the leather with a dry clean cloth. You could use a blow dryer to melt the wax. Leave it for 5 minutes or so to dry then buff to a shine.
Lubricate a sticking zip with a light rub of wax.
Rub a little wax onto your iron to remove mineral build-up and grime.
If you have a sticking drawer, windows or door rub wax along the edges to make it slide smoothly.
Rub wax over pans and baking sheets in place of butter or oil. Over time the pan will take on a permanent coating.
Keep granite countertops shiny and help prevent staining by rubbing with warmed beeswax. Let it dry and then wipe down with a soft cloth.
Beeswax is produced when honeybees consume honey. It takes about 8-1/2 lbs. of honey to produce a single pound of wax.
Craft and creativity
Create a wax seal for envelopes and stylish documents such as for a wedding. Melted beeswax has been used for centuries to seal scrolls and parchments. You can do this too by melting some wax and stamping it with your own wax seal stamp
Make some home-made wax crayons without the usual artificial colours and ingredients. Here’s a great tutorial.
Make your own modelling clay with wax and plant dyes for a non-toxic crafting material. The heat from your hands is enough to make it soft enough to sculpt.
Run your sewing thread against a block of wax a few times and it slides through the fabric more easily, preventing tangles.
Make your own beeswax candles – they burn cleaner and longer and have a brighter flame than common paraffin wax candles. Here’s a detailed tutorial. These candles are also a good alternative if you have a sensitivity to smoke and intense fragrances.
Beeswax candles are scented by the honey and nectar of flowers packed into the honeycombs. They give off a subtle fragrance as they burn.
DIY and the garden
Use beeswax to polish bare wood. Apply paste with a soft cloth working it into the grain. Leave it a moment to dry then buff to a shine. Or choose a ready-made natural furniture polish.
For DIY drip a little melted wax on rusted nuts or bolts to remove them more easily.
If you’re working with new wood, dip screws into liquid wax to reduce the risk of splitting or cracking.
Coat iron garden tools or cast ironware with the wax to prevent rust from forming.
Treat wooden handles on utensils and garden tools with a little wax to protect them from drying and cracking. You may prefer a ready-made conditioner.
Protect surfaces when you’re working with wax. Set aside tools that you don’t mind getting covered in wax – it’s hard to remove. Place the wax in a bowl and melt it slowly in a pan of boiling water to prevent it from burning.
Wear gloves to protect yourself from the risk of burns when pouring the molten wax.
Health and beauty
Beeswax is a good remedy for dry hair.
Beeswax lip balm tastes better than petroleum-based balms and it sticks to your skin so you won’t have to keep re-applying it. You can find beeswax lip balm over the counter in most beauty or heathfood shops or try this recipe to make your own.
As a healthier alternative to chewing gum with all its sugar and additives try a small lump of beeswax.
And finally, if you’re NASA you can use beeswax to clean up oceanic oil spills…