How To Filter Raw Beeswax For Candle Making

Heather Dessinger

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Bars of filtered wax stacked on top of each other

If you’re lucky enough to know a local beekeeper, you may be able to pick up some raw, honey-scented beeswax for a great price. However, before you get started on making reusable food wrap, beeswax candleslotion bars, food-grade crayons, calendula salve, lip balm, homemade lotion or another project, be aware that unfiltered beeswax comes with bits of propolis and other debris that needs to be filtered out before it’s used.

Several of you asked how to do that recently, so I’ve put together this quick tutorial for you. Here’s how to make your beeswax project ready.

Up close view of filtered beeswax bars

How To Filter Beeswax For Candle Making & Other Projects

Supplies you’ll need:

Block of raw beeswax

Step 1. Place a tightly woven old t-shirt or cheesecloth folded into several layers over the bowl.

Optional: If you’re planning to let the clean wax harden into one big piece after filtering it, place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your bowl before lining it with the t-shirt/cheesecloth. That way you can leave it in the bowl you’re using and then easily pop it out by lifting the parchment paper when it’s ready.

Beeswax melting in double boiler

Step 2: Melt the raw beeswax over medium heat in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a stainless steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water.

Pouring beeswax through cloth

Step 3: Pour the hot wax over the fabric, then gently lift the corners of fabric out of the bowl to remove the propolis and other debris. Do not touch the hot wax, and make sure to hold the fabric over the bowl until it has stopped dripping.

Note: You can use a mesh strainer to make this step easier, but it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to clean all the beeswax off afterwards. I recommend only using a strainer if you plan to do this often and plan to keep one just for this purpose.

Silicone molds ready for beeswax

Step 4: If you want your beeswax to be divided into equal portions, pour the melted beeswax into silicone molds right after you filter it. I used these square molds that say 100% handmade.

Another option is to leave it in the bowl until the wax cools, then remove it from the bowl by lifting the parchment paper. Peel off the parchment paper once you remove it.

Cleanup Tip:

Beeswax is usually difficult to remove from the bowl it was melted in, but I’ve learned a little trick that I want to pass along. I preheat my oven to 200F, then turn it off and place the bowl inside. Within a few minutes the wax is completely melted, making it easy to wipe away with paper towels. After that, I just scrub with soap and water as usual.

More Ideas for Using Filtered Beeswax

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5 from 2 votes

How To Filter Beeswax For Candle Making & Other Projects

If you're lucky enough to know a beekeeper, you may be able to pick up raw beeswax for a good price. Here's how to filter it for candles & more.
Prep Time 5 minutes
20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Calories
Author Heather Dessinger

Equipment

Ingredients

  • raw, unfiltered beeswax

Instructions

  • Place a tightly woven old t-shirt or cheesecloth folded into several layers over the bowl.
    Optional: If you’re planning to let the clean wax harden into one big piece after filtering it, place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your bowl before lining it with the t-shirt/cheesecloth. That way you can leave it in the bowl you’re using and then easily pop it out by lifting the parchment paper when it’s ready.
  • Melt the raw beeswax over medium heat in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a stainless steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water.
  • Pour the hot wax over the fabric, then gently lift the corners of fabric out of the bowl to remove the propolis and other debris. Do not touch the hot wax, and make sure to hold the fabric over the bowl until it has stopped dripping.
    Note: You can use a mesh strainer to make this step easier, but it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to clean all the beeswax off afterwards. I recommend only using a strainer if you plan to do this often and plan to keep one just for this purpose.
  • If you want your beeswax to be divided into equal portions, pour the melted beeswax into silicone molds right after you filter it. I used these square molds that say 100% handmade.
    Another option is to leave it in the bowl until the wax cools, then remove it from the bowl by lifting the parchment paper. Peel off the parchment paper once you remove it.

Notes

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About HEATHER

Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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17 thoughts on “How To Filter Raw Beeswax For Candle Making”

  1. When melting wax in the past I’ve made a double boiler from a pan and a used can. That way I didn’t have to worry about cleaning it after. Would that work for beeswax too?

    Reply
  2. As a beekeeper, I simply strain the melted wax through cleaned panty hose (which I’ve managed to collect from various friends over the years). That holds all the propolis and other detritus and it doesn’t absorb the wax the way cloth does. Then I peel away the hose and use the propolis in tinctures.

    Reply
  3. You can use cheesecloth. The finer the mesh the cleaner the wax. I am making a mix of wax and linseed oil to treat my hives so I don’t need wax as smooth as I would for, say, lip balm. All depends on how you want to use the wax.

    Reply
  4. Equipment can also be cleaned up using a concentrated solution of Washing Soda. Add the Soda to the bowl and pour boiling water over it. Leave to soak, if necessary and wipe off. Rinse thoroughly afterwards, of course. Steel equipment comes out gleaming!

    Reply
  5. Paint stores sell fine mesh bags for filtering paint. One for a gallon size paint can and one for a five-gallon paint can. They work GREAT! I’m a beekeeper and it’s the best thing for filtering. Then I give the chunks of filtered waste back to the bees. They clean it and re-use it (for what, I don’t know!)
    Also, when cleaning out the wax from your pan (by the way, be very careful to not leave that on the stove as beeswax is VERY flammable), pop the pan in the freezer after it has cooled for aobut 15-25 minutes. You wax will pop out of the pan!
    That is all. Carry on! We are “The Aviator’s Apiaries.”

    Reply
  6. I would like to know if I can melt my beeswax more than once.
    On my first try, a very small portion is yellow on top and the rest is brown. Should I melt and strain it again?

    Reply
      • 5 stars
        That was what I was going to ask. I got some beeswax from the guy who sells honey from his beehives. It was unfiltered and between light & dark brown. I filtered through an old t-shirt and it was still light brown after pouring. Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? I know filtering a few more times might leave it much closer to yellow, but is there any harm if I just let it go like it is?

        Thanks!
        Mike

        Reply
        • It sounds like the wax is brown from propolis. This is soluble and will pass through a filter. To clean it from the wax you may be best to melt the wax in water – but do not boil the water or you will spoil the wax, -just warm enough to melt the wax in it. Stir it a few times then cool to let it set. The propolis will dissolve out of the wax and into the water. When it has cooled and the wax has solidified it can be lifted off the water, leaving the brown propolis dissolved in the water. Small amounts of brown often remain on the underside of the wax and can be scraped off with a knife. I strain through nylon tights rather than t-shirt, as you lose less wax that way. I pour it into a plastic container, which often makes it easier to remove the wax as it is slightly flexible. The top usually cracks as it sets so you can pour the brown water out, then you can remove the wax either by freezing it, or by dipping briefly into hot water to loosen the stuck edges. This can be repeated as often as you like to get the wax clean.

          Reply