What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?
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  1. #1
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    May 2015
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    Sacramento County, CA
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    Default What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Hi everyone!

    I forgot to spray a couple of hundred frames with plastic foundation. The bees had drawn out comb on most of them. Wax moths got the best of them and made quite the mess.

    What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    I was thinking of using a soft bristle brush that mounts on a drill motor. I presently use that mounted bristle brush on a drill motor to clean our 1/2 gallon jars that got the black algae.

    Any other good ideas to do it fast and clean?



    bristle brush 2.jpgbristle brush.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Soar, I have used a hand powered scrub brush and it is a pain. I think most people that bother to clean them use a pressure washer. You should be able to blast the cocoons off the frames that way too.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    883

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Pressure washer is the easiest way to clean foundation. I built a rack that will hold 5 deep or 6 medium foundations. I have found that it is easier and less messy if you have the foundation laying flat and pressure wash from above. Make sure you wear some waterproof clothing because you will get wet and covered with cocoons.

  5. #4
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    1,794

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    I've done plastic frames by simply scraping with a putty knife, then stick into a colony on a flow. couple weeks later, frame full of brood.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Sacramento County, CA
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    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Thanks guys!

    We have a really nice professional pressure washer...will put it to good use...again!

    Flow is nearly over here for now, so scraping and installing in colonies probably not a good idea for this time of the year.

    Have a wonderful day everyone!

  7. #6
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,882

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Consider re-waxing them after cleaning.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  8. #7
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    May 2015
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    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Consider re-waxing them after cleaning.
    Thank you Frank!

    Could you please share some ideas how to re-wax?

    Is it similar to re-waxing a surf board?

  9. #8
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    Oct 2015
    Location
    camden, tennessee, USA
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    311

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    I have been melting my processed beeswax in an old crock pot and rolling it onto the frames with a small foam trim roller. It works pretty well and I get a pretty heavy coating of wax like that. The roller hardens between uses but softens when heated back up. I have been using the same roller for a couple of seasons now.

    I have read here somewhere that wax can be applied by rubbing it on the frames like a crayon but I usually just roll it on since I have my stuff set up

  10. #9
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    We have been using a 4" wide disposable paint brush. Tried the roller and went back to the brush. I think Michael Palmer dips.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  11. #10

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by soarwitheagles View Post
    Hi everyone!

    I forgot to spray a couple of hundred frames with plastic foundation. The bees had drawn out comb on most of them. Wax moths got the best of them and made quite the mess.

    What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    I was thinking of using a soft bristle brush that mounts on a drill motor. I presently use that mounted bristle brush on a drill motor to clean our 1/2 gallon jars that got the black algae.

    Any other good ideas to do it fast and clean?



    bristle brush 2.jpgbristle brush.jpg
    Best way to clean plastic foundation is get a plastic tote at least 50 quart fill it with water add 3 cups bleach and one cup blue dawn dish soap. Scrape the wax off the foundation put them in the water and let them soak for at least two weeks, three if they are really bad. Then using at least a 2,000 psi pressure washer clean them and they are like new. You then need to melt some bees wax and treat them with wax. I just had to do that for 60 frames and they are like brand new.

  12. #11
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    May 2002
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    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkins View Post
    Best way to clean plastic foundation is get a plastic tote at least 50 quart fill it with water add 3 cups bleach and one cup blue dawn dish soap. Scrape the wax off the foundation put them in the water and let them soak for at least two weeks, three if they are really bad. Then using at least a 2,000 psi pressure washer clean them and they are like new. You then need to melt some bees wax and treat them with wax. I just had to do that for 60 frames and they are like brand new.
    How many hours and what costs did you have cleaning those 60 frames?
    Tote $15? reuseable, bleach $2.00, 2000 lb. pressure washer $500? reuseable
    Scrape wax 3? hours, bleach 3 hours? pressure wash 4 hours? Total time 10 hours, times the value of your time. $250 - $500?
    Damage to nails and glue on frames sitting in bleach for three weeks? priceless?

    Cost of 60 new Ritecell foundations = $80
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  13. #12

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    How many hours and what costs did you have cleaning those 60 frames?
    Tote $15? reuseable, bleach $2.00, 2000 lb. pressure washer $500? reuseable
    Scrape wax 3? hours, bleach 3 hours? pressure wash 4 hours? Total time 10 hours, times the value of your time. $250 - $500?
    Damage to nails and glue on frames sitting in bleach for three weeks? priceless?

    Cost of 60 new Ritecell foundations = $80
    Had the tote, cost zero, had the bleach, cost zero, had the Dawn, cost zero, had the pressure washer doesn't everyone have one cost zero? My time cost zero so it cost me nothing to do this. Zero damage to foundation and I now have 60 frames with like new foundation. Just trying help, what if he had hundreds of foundation?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Litchfield, Ct, USA
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    265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by soarwitheagles View Post
    Thanks guys!

    We have a really nice professional pressure washer...will put it to good use...again!

    Flow is nearly over here for now, so scraping and installing in colonies probably not a good idea for this time of the year.

    Have a wonderful day everyone!
    Why scrape when you have the pressure washer? I was given a bunch of old frames and the pressure washer just blew through the old wax.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,882

    Default

    What does your day job pay? One hour at work might have bought you a box of foundation. I can send out my employees for $75 - $95 an hour. If I paid them for one hour to clean old foundations I would be losing money.
    But like a fool I sometimes do.

    QUOTE=Hawkins;1757169]
    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    How many hours and what costs did you have cleaning those 60 frames?
    Tote $15? reuseable, bleach $2.00, 2000 lb. pressure washer $500? reuseable
    Scrape wax 3? hours, bleach 3 hours? pressure wash 4 hours? Total time 10 hours, times the value of your time. $250 - $500?
    Damage to nails and glue on frames sitting in bleach for three weeks? priceless?

    Cost of 60 new Ritecell foundations = $80
    Had the tote, cost zero, had the bleach, cost zero, had the Dawn, cost zero, had the pressure washer doesn't everyone have one cost zero? My time cost zero so it cost me nothing to do this. Zero damage to foundation and I now have 60 frames with like new foundation. Just trying help, what if he had hundreds of foundation?[/QUOTE]
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  16. #15

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    Day job, ha been retired since 2003 and love it so my time is free. Oh and your comment of frames sitting in bleach, NOT just the plastic foundation goes into the tote. Anyhow maybe somebody can use the method if you wish to save foundation.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
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    1,229

    Default Re: What is the best way to clean plastic waxed foundation?

    You don't need a pressure washer, just a stack of quarters and a car wash.
    Zone 6B

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