Have you read my other post on How To Use Beeswax Wraps? It's got great information, plus six brands you need to know. One of the most common questions I get about mine is How To Clean Beeswax Wraps?
For this post, I will break it down step by step. First, let me say that most beeswax wraps are pretty easy to wash, which makes them a fantastic zero-waste kitchen essential that you can compost in your indoor compost bin.
What are beeswax wraps?
Beeswax wraps are made using pieces of fabric, like organic cotton, that is coated with beeswax and oil like jojoba. They are used primarily to store or cover food. They are versatile, and flexible and can be easily molded to cover anything from an avocado to a bowl. These plastic-free storage containers will also help reduce food waste, a globally significant issue.
How long do beeswax wraps last?
This will depend on how well you care for them. Proper care is crucial to longevity. Using natural dish soap and drying them properly will ensure you get years out of yours. I advise having at least 5 of each size, so you are rotating them and not using the same ones repeatedly.
How to clean beeswax wraps?
Step 1: Spot Treat
Establish whether it needs to be washed in the first place. Because beeswax wraps and naturally antibacterial, you don't need to wash them after each use. It will depend on what you've used it for. Even though they are durable and can be washed repeatedly, the water and soap will make wear and tear happen faster than you want it to.
My suggestion is to spot-treat it first. If your beeswax wrap has not come into contact with something wet, like the juice from a melon, you could probably forgo washing it. If I use a reusable wrap to cover bread (dry & odorless or a jar of beans), I typically brush the crumbs off using my hand. If only a tiny area is dirty, I will spot-clean it with a clean cloth using cold water.
If I pack a sandwich with some mayo on it and the mayo gets on a small area of the wrap, I will use a tiny bit of all-natural cleaning solution on a clean cloth and dab/clean just that area. Then rinse with cool water, without wetting the whole wrap.
Step 2: Rinse
When cleaning your beeswax wraps, I never recommend drowning your beeswax wrap in water, as you would when washing a dish. Less is more when it comes to cleaning these items. I rinse my wraps under cold water when they are soiled from the food they have covered like, avocadoes, cucumbers, veggies, etc.
Keep your beeswax wraps away from heat.
Coldwater is a must, they are NOT heat-resistant, so the dishwasher is a no-no (so is the microwave). Coldwater helps keep the wax in place by hardening it, helping the wrap last longer. You can often rinse instead of scrubbing, depending again on what you've wrapped.
Step: 3 Wash your beeswax wraps with soap (when needed)
Sometimes you will need to give your beeswax wrap a good wash. If you cover something stinky like an onion (more on this later) or have a mustard stain on it.
Run the wrap under cold water and ensure you get both sides. If you have leftover avocado (I never met an avo that didn't leave something behind 😂,) use the back of a spoon to scrape off the leftover food gently.
Next, add some soap and ensure it's an eco-friendly cleaner with low-alcohol content. Avoid scrubbing your warps. This will remove the wax coating. If you are using soap, I recommend adding 1-2 drops to the wet wrap.
Then gently rub between your hands to get a little lather going. I tend to target the really dirty spot when I rub. Follow with a cold water rinse to get rid of the soap.
Some brands, like BeeBagz, mention that you can soak them. Following this step will also help you eliminate stains on beeswax wraps.
How to dry your beeswax wrap?
When cleaning your beeswax wraps, you need to make sure that you are drying your wraps thoroughly before storing them. First, lay the wet wrap flat on a cotton dish towel and gently pat it dry.
Then hang it on a line, or place it on a dish rack to air dry. Never wring it out.
If you find your beeswax wrap is holding onto a smell, hello blue cheese & onion, let it air dry for a few days. The smell should dissipate. You can also consider using specific wraps for certain smelly foods.
How to store your beeswax wraps?
Store away from heat (stove) or humidity (dishwasher) in a cool, dry place. Remember, beeswax wraps don't dig heat. I keep mine in two places. I have a few folded and kept in a drawer where I keep my reusable paper towels, but I also keep a few gently rolled up on the kitchen countertop. I have found that this helps my family to use them. If they are out of sight, they will be out of mind.
Mold can form on beeswax, so keeping them dry and in a cool, dark place is key to ensuring that does not happen. You can apply all of these steps to beeswax baggies as well.
How to Repair & Re-Wax Beeswax Wraps?
The more you use your beeswax wraps, the more they break down. If you are a DIY'er, you can consider re-coating the wrap using beeswax. Simply grate organic beeswax onto the cloth, and make sure to spread it evenly over the fabric, you can use the oven or iron to melt the wax onto the cloth. You can see me doing this in this video on Instagram.
How to make your beeswax wraps?
Cut up a piece of cotton fabric. You can use anything, an old pillowcase, dishcloth, etc. Choose the size you like 10x10 works. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Then place the cloth on top of the paper. Sprinkle beeswax onto the fabric evenly. Then put another piece of parchment paper on top of the fabric. Use an iron, on hot, to evenly spread and melt the wax. You will see that happening under the paper.
Be careful and take your time, don’t burn yourself. Then once it’s melted and even, gently peel the top piece of paper off the fabric. If you notice gaps where wax is missing, sprinkle more onto that area and iron again. Once you’ve peeled the wrap off the paper, let it air dry for at least a few hours. I typically give it 24 hours. Then use it as you would any wrap! So easy!
Beeswax Wraps Alternatives
Suppose your sustainable life includes beating a vegan. In that case, you will probably want to look for a vegan alternative to beeswax wraps, and lucky for you, many companies make wraps using plant-based waxes like tree resin. You can find them both in the USA and in Canada.
Remember to look for vegan waxes like soy that are ethically sourced and produced. Soy can have a very negative impact on the planet. To care for your vegan wraps, follow all the tips above!
A final word on cleaning your beeswax wraps
Use your beeswax wraps over and over again! Avoid heat sources such as hot foods, microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, and open flames. Let dishes and foods cool down to room temperature before wrapping. I do not recommend using hot foods or raw meats, including fish. Some fruits, like pineapple, are also not great. Their enzymes can damage the wraps. If unsure, reach out to me or the brand you use directly.
Using beeswax wraps has helped me reduce my waste and will lead you (like they did me) to a zero-waste pantry in no time!
If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – Sharing is caring 🙂 ! And for more zero-waste essentials like these, buzz over to the brand directory.