Honey might be the most popular product created by bees, but it’s far from the only one. Bees also make beeswax, a natural product suited to many uses. Bees use beeswax to form the structure of their hives and ‘cap’ the cells in the comb. People use beeswax in lots of creative and sustainable ways, and have done for thousands of years. This article shares some amazing beeswax facts and shows you some creative beeswax uses you can try at home.
How beeswax is made
The dictionary tells us that beeswax is
“a substance that is secreted by honeybees and is used by them for constructing the honeycomb, that is a dull, typically yellow solid that is plastic when warm, and that is composed primarily of a mixture of esters, hydrocarbons, and fatty acids”
Bees secrete wax from special glands then chew it up and use it to form those perfect hexagon-shapes we see on honeycomb. The caps are fresh new virgin wax made by honeybees to seal honeycomb cells after filling them with fresh nectar and pollen.
When Australian beekeepers harvest honey, they remove the waxy cap off each honeycomb cell. These caps are melted down and filtered to remove non-wax particles, yielding the versatile natural beeswax we can use in many ways.
Like honey, beeswax comes in different colours:
The wax we have available most often at Simply Honey is a buttery yellow.
The colour of natural beeswax varies from “white” (pale cream) to rich dark brown. Oils from the pollen affect the colour of the wax, but the colour certainly doesn’t affect the beeswax uses.
16 Ways to Use Beeswax
1. Making beeswax candles
Candles have been made from beeswax for centuries. Beeswax candles burn brighter and slower than paraffin wax candles, remove toxins from the air, and have a sweet honey smell that can be accentuated by mixing with other essential oils.
If you would like to try making your own beeswax candles, we recommend contacting an Australian candle-making supplier to assist you in selecting the right size and type of wick. They can also advise on moulds and containers for your candle making.
Check out how to make DIY beeswax candles here
2. Beeswax lip balm
Beeswax is commonly used in cosmetic products like lip balms because of its capacity to keep moisture locked in all day. This makes it great for keeping your lips hydrated and feeling comfortable, and it’s easy to make your own.
3. Natural beeswax polish for wood and leather
Natural beeswax is a chemical-free polish for wood and leather. Creating homemade beeswax wood polish is one of the most popular ways to use beeswax. You can smooth out and heal cracks when polishing wood and seal cutting boards with beeswax.
Beeswax is a naturally waterproof coating for leather, leaving it conditioned, supple, and looking its best.
4. Beard, hair and dreadlock care
Beeswax is a perfect ingredient for beard and hair waxes and balms. It helps to keep the hair moisturised and in place.
5. Homemade beeswax crayons
You can DIY beeswax crayons at home for your family. Melt equal portions of beeswax and soap shavings (basic body soap in bars will work). Pour into moulds once melted, then add a little bit of food colouring to each one to create distinct colours, stirring until well combined. Allow the crayons to solidify for few hours before using them.
Beeswax crayons don’t need to be crayon shaped. Novelty ice-cube moulds create crayons that are fun to play and colour with, and these crayons can be re-melted and re-moulded many times.
6. Beeswax wraps
Are you looking to be more environmentally friendly and reduce your plastic waste? Beeswax wraps are a great replacement for plastic wraps. If you wish to keep your food fresh, why not go for a more sustainable option like beeswax food wraps.
You can read more about the advantages of using beeswax wraps here at our blog: How to make beeswax wraps
7. Beeswax rust repellant
Coat your tools or metallic objects with beeswax to protect them from rust and other harmful components. Simply rub a bar of raw beeswax over the metal parts, wiping away any excess with a clean cloth afterwards.
The other 9 suprising beeswax uses
- Beeswax is the main ingredient for the wax used on skis, toboggans, and surfboards.
- Did you know that historically one of the beeswax uses was in embalming procedures?
- Natural chewing gum contains beeswax.
- Beeswax is used to polish pills.
- Beeswax is used in food manufacturing as a glaze, a coating, and also as a food additive.
- Many fruits and vegetables in the shops are coated with a fine layer of wax to protect the skin when on display.
- Beeswax has been used in many crafts including batik, which is a process used to create wonderful coloured fabric with interesting designs.
- Aboriginals use beeswax on the mouthpiece of didgeridoos.
- Many of us (of a certain mature age) grew up with beeswax being used to seal bottles of preserves, jams and homemade wines.
Did you know?….
- Beeswax is a 100% natural source of fuel believed to improve the air around it as it burns.
- The stable chemical makeup of beeswax means that it never goes bad and remains usable no matter how old it is – just like honey!
- Beeswax has been found in Viking shipwrecks, Roman ruins and Egyptian pyramids.
- Beeswax is solid at room temperature and melts at 65 degrees Celsius. At this low-temperature melting point, we recommend using the double boiler method to melt your beeswax. Never melt your wax in the microwave!
- Beeswax historically was valued highly, and even used as a form of currency.
- Historically beeswax was used as a lubricant or a sealant for bullets in ball firearms.
- Evidence reveals that towards the end of the Stone Age beeswax was used as a dental filling.
- Romans wrote on beeswax tablets. Small writing frames were filled with beeswax, and a stylus was used to scratch in the writing.
Where to buy Australia’s best beeswax
The beeswax we sell here at Simply Honey is 100% pure Australian beeswax. It is unbleached and has not been treated or washed with chemicals. It comes to you as nature intended.
The colour of the beeswax reflects the types of flora that were in flower during the foraging season. Rustic chunks will also contain tiny specs of pollen.
Try the best beeswax from Australia from Simply Honey, available in 100g and 1kg blocks, and 1kg bags of rustic chunks, and see for yourself why our customers keep coming back for more.