Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3

    Default Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    Hi all.
    Been beekeeping for 7 years now but only just started to use the wax for wraps and candles.
    So far so good. Great fun! It's amazing how quick it gets used up.

    I found in our shed some rendered wax that was a few years old. All the debris had been scraped off and it appears clean but it's a dull cream colour specially the bottom half.

    I googled cleaning wax and found so many posts and articles and suggestions that were advising to use coffee filters.
    So I got some and started with a small amount in a wax melter, poured the liquid wax through the coffee filter into a jug.
    Trouble is, very little of the wax came through at first, then a bit formed like icicles really slowly and then it just stopped because it was cooling down.
    All I got was a couple of spoons full, nice brighter colour but that's it. The rest stuck in the filter!! So I poured it back into the melter.

    I did try again with cheese-clothe doubled up, but the wax just poured straight through in a flash. But when it cooled down it was still a dull colour.

    1/ Is this block of wax doomed to be a dull cream colour or can I fix it?
    2/ Why didn't the coffee filter work when so many people swear by it?
    3/ Is there something wrong with this block of wax? can it still be used to make candles?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,468

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    Best to add some dark yellow/orange wax, melt and blend if you want a darker color.

    I find that a nylon strainer made from panty hose works well for fine filtering. Make a wire loop from any somewhat heavy guage wire or take a wire coat hanger apart. Form a four inch or so loop and twist the two ends together to make a handle. Place the nylon over the loop and fold the edge of the nylon over the wire loop and use pins or sewing to fasten the nylon.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,249

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    This is where a solar wax melter should help, at least I hope so for my own benefit. Coffee filter should work as long as the wax is kept hot for a prolonged period of time. Maybe even an oven with a 170 warm setting?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    Hi mgolden, both great tips, definitely going to give them a go. Thank you.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    Hi JWPalmer, thank you. We're getting a solar wax melter in a couple of months. Very excited !

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,042

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    I have seen it recommended to pour it out into thin flat sections and bleach it in sunlight. We are all familiar with how this can take the colour out of many things.
    Frank

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,126

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    You can only "brighten up" wax to a certain extent by filtering. Yes, you'll take the larger solids out but if they wax is dark due to where it came from in the comb it'll likely stay like that unless you do bleach it out. For me, I use my darker wax for my own candles and other uses and I save my cappings wax for dipping and pouring candles that I give away as gifts. I also use my darker wax with dark dye that I melt in soup cans and use to dip the end of my mead bottles in for their final seal. It adds an old fashioned look to them and each bottle is unique. Other uses for the dark wax is rubbing drawers that stick, plugging holes when you're cultivating mushrooms (using plugs to inoculate the wood), etc. I haven't tried to bleach any in the sun but I have no doubt it would work, however slowly.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,566

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    I've never found a material to filter wax through that actually worked for me. I do filter it through a nylon paint strainer bag to get the larger debris out but as far a brightening or clarity or color lightening, I just have not found any filter that works.

    The best I've found is solar.
    A solar wax melter, with 2 levels works very well. Top level has melting pan that is tipped so that it has a down hill slope to it, so that the melted wax will over flow the lower edge, and drip off into a lower level pan. The solids and debris and such will stay in the top pan as beeswax floats on top of all that stuff.

    OK, one time I had some beeswax that was off color and a bit dark. I rigged up a non stick cake pan in a bee box that had the top cut so that it sloped somewhat to the south to face the sun more directly. I put the wax in the cake pan and let it sit there for a week , remelting every day. Then I took it out and scraped off the bottom of the cake and did it for another week. It did lighten the wax nicely.

    Sunlight will bleach out the wax. I suspect but am not sure that it's the fluorescent light rays that does the bleaching. I say this because one time I poured some candles, and left one of them on my kitchen counter where a small 11w florescent light shown every evening. After a long period of time, that candle turned almost white.

    Anyway, I think a solar melter may be your best bet.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    This last year I used a mid-size styrofoam cooler (no lid), some old t-shirts or old bedsheets, an appropriately-sized pane of glass from Home Depot, a dollar-store disposable aluminum metal food pan, a heat lamp, and some water. Put the pan in the bottom of the pan to help the wax not stick to the bottom of it as it drips down, stretch a layer or two of the t-shirt material or bedsheets (two is probably best) over the top of the cooler and tape it into place so it covers the top of the cooler, but not so tight that it would press the unrendered wax against the glass. Add your wax, cover with glass, and set up the heat lamp above it so it also doesn't touch the glass. It's nice because it's not dependent on the weather.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Filtering / Cleaning dull coloured beeswax

    You need to filter through a very fine filter like coffee filter, or I find doubled up paper towel to work even better. As you noticed, this only works if you filter while keeping the wax hot for a prolonged period of time, otherwise the wax just solidifies on the filter. It needs time to pass through while in liquid state.

    I rig up a couple yogurt containers on top of one another and let the rough wax filter down from the top container to the bottom through paper towel. I place the whole apparatus in my oven on it's lowest setting for half a day and it does the trick. Happy to post some pics if you want. Wax comes out bright yellow and clean.

    Solar melters do the same while using less energy. I'd use one if I had one.

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