Old frames can be a problem if not properly cleaned, especially ones that have been attacked by wax moths. Moths in my part of the country can be a real problem in a very short period of time. Once a dead out begins wax moths can invade and cause damage to the equipment, sometimes it is so extensive that you must take care in cleaning those used frames to ensure no moth eggs are spread to the next hive.
I try to keep those frames as clean as possible and made a frame cleaning can that really does a great job. The cleaning can is made from a metal garbage can and I attached a fitting in the lid that accepts the hose from my home made steam boiler. I made the boiler from a old propane tank and it is gas fired over a single burner. I use this to create steam to use to heat the blades on my old Silver Queen Uncapper.
I tried it today and was really surprised at how clean and wax free the old frames became only after a few minutes of steam cleaning. Old frames were simply stood on their ends and packed into the old trash can, the top with the steam attachment was placed on the can and the steam applied. I also inserted a temp gauge on the top of the can and can measure the temp of the inside while it is in operation. The can held about 20 frames per load and I ran them through a cycle of about 15 minutes. The results were impressive, temp reached about 200 degrees f and the pressure was about 10 pounds. After the cycle was complete I simply did a bit of easy scraping and I am ready to install new foundation. Don't try this with plasticell, but us old guys who still use wax certainly know how the moth can cause havoc and cleaning frames of damaged wax is time consuming.
After the steam cleaning I will probably stack a hundred or so in an old freezer for a couple of days and be ready to install wax again. Hope to post some pics soon. Broodhead