Ask the Audience: Melting Wax

I've got quite a bit of burr comb and wax cappings from this year's honey harvest that I'd like to melt and purify.

The wax is currently in gallon zip lock bags in the freezer waiting for me to do something with it.

I had planned to melt the wax during the summer or early fall when the weather was still warm enough to use my solar wax melter. However, things got busy and now we're into winter.

Now that we're back into a routine and things have slowed down a bit, I'd like to melt the wax.

I've read about several techniques including using a crock-pot, a double boiler, a microwave (really?), boiling directly into water, etc.

I've heard stories of people splattering wax all over their kitchen only to have their spouse find little drips of wax in obscure places months later. In one extreme case I read about a guy who was melting wax in his kitchen and somehow (might have been boiling it) it burped and splattered all over his ceiling.

Yeah, I'd like to avoid that.

What I'd like to know is how do you melt and filter wax without a solar wax melter? What's worked best for you? What should I avoid? Should I melt and keep the burr comb separate from wax cappings or mix them together? How should I filter the wax?

Post your suggestion(s) in the comment section below. I'll try one of the suggested methods and then I'll post back how it worked out.

UPDATE: see how my first adventure in melting bees wax went!

Comments For This Post: (5) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   December 8, 2012, 7:54 am

I used a crock pot and it worked great.  We did crush and strain to harvest.  I tossed all the extra dirty comb in the crock pot with some water.   Let it cook on low.  While it was hot, I skimmed the big debris out of it and then ladled the hot stuff through a double layer of paper towel into a tall  plastic container.   [I rubber banded the paper towel to the container]   Then I let it all cool.  The wax floated and was easy to pop out of the plastic.  I also let the stuff in the crock pot cool.  There was a very thin layer of leftover wax in the crock pot [easy to pop out] and a nice fat clean block of wax in the plastic.   I'll do it that way again. 

Holly says...
Date:   December 10, 2012, 7:04 am

It's been over a year since I last melted wax but here's how I did it.  I don't think I had any cappings so it was mainly burr comb.  I recommend using utensils and pans ONLY for wax use.  I didn't realize how much stuff I would have to store just for beekeeping.   

Tim says...
Date:   December 13, 2012, 4:25 pm

To be honest my wife handles this part but I will see if I can relay basically what she does. My wife uses a double boiler( if we had one, really an old pot over a good pot of water). When the wax melts she strains this through cheese cloth into a platic container( we use an icecream container with a hole in the lid which clamps the cloth down). We do this a number of times till the wax is clean.

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   December 13, 2012, 8:22 pm

Many thanks for your suggestions! I think I'm going to give this a try over holiday break in another week. I'll report back how it goes. :)

Doug says...
Date:   August 1, 2013, 8:41 am

I ended up using one if the second hand pots from the kids dirt pile/sandbox on the grill burner. Slowly melted and poured into a yoghurt container to cool 

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