Updated: Sep 15, 2022
WHAT ARE BEESWAX WRAPS?
Beeswax wraps are pieces of fabric that have been coated in beeswax (or beeswaxed mixed with oil and tree resin) that can be used like plastic wraps to cover bowls and containers, or to wrap food directly (e.g. cut fruits, cheese, vegetables, herbs, bread etc). You can also fold the wraps into snack or sandwich bags!
A great advantage of beeswax wraps is that they are reusable, non-toxic and biodegradable. Beeswax also has natural antimicrobial properties, so the combination of beeswax and cloth creates a breathable food wrap that keeps food fresh for longer. If used and maintained properly, beeswax wraps can be reused over and over for about a year (but I have had some of mine for longer). Refer to the “Cleaning and Caring for your Beeswax Wraps” section below to make sure you get the most mileage out of your wraps.
Beeswax wraps are awesome, but do avoid using them with meats, liquids and hot things, to keep the beeswax intact. Another “disadvantage” of these wraps is that they do smell like beeswax. Not an issue for most (I personally love the smell), but may be a deterrent for those that have strong aversion to honey-ish scents.
To use a beeswax wrap, use the warmth of your hands to make the wrap cover your food and hold its shape. The wraps are moldable and will usually stick to themselves (more so than to other objects), so you can pinch the sides together create a good hold.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BEESWAX WRAP?
The Triggered Fish Beeswax Wrap DIY Kit
Each kit comes with the following:
- 2 Beeswax blocks (~13–15 g each)*
- 2 Hand-printed 100% cotton cloths in 25 x 25 cm and 11 x 11 cm sizes
- Parchment paper
* One block (ish) can DIY a 25 x 25 cm beeswax wrap.
First, grate or chop your beeswax block and sprinkle/place evenly the grated/chopped over the cotton cloth. Next, there are two possible options to melt the wax – using the oven or the iron.
Personally, I prefer the oven method as it is overall less hassle and gives more consistent results. Somehow, the oven method also uses less wax to get an even coating. But, the iron method is great if you a) don’t have an oven, or b) want to make larger beeswax wraps and don’t have an oven big enough.
Option 1: Oven
1. Line a baking tray with the parchment paper provided, and pop the beeswax-sprinkled cloth into the oven at 80–100ºC for ~5 minutes or until the wax has fully melted.
2. If needed, sprinkle additional beeswax over any spots that are not yet coated, and return it back into the oven. You can use a clean brush to spread the melted beeswax if there are still some resistant corners or areas.
Option 2: Iron
1. Line the ironing board (or equivalent) with the parchment paper. Place your beeswax-sprinkled cloth, then lay another piece of parchment paper over the cloth.
2. Make sure your iron is heated (low to medium heat is enough). No steam!
3. Gently iron over the beeswax-sprinkled cloth sandwiched between the pieces of parchment paper. The wax will melt quickly so monitor the heat (>100ºC is not good for the wax).
4. If needed, sprinkle additional beeswax over any spots that are not yet coated, and iron once more. Sometimes beeswax can end up on your parchment paper away from your cloth as you iron. You can try to shift your cloth on the parchment paper to catch stray beeswax or scrap and redistribute after it cools.
Once your cloth is fully soaked with beeswax, remove from oven/iron and quickly peel the fabric away from the parchment paper (careful, it’s hot!). Wave the fabric around gently until the wax cools and the fabric stiffens (in a matter of seconds!). Let your new beeswax wrap completely cool on the rack, and it’s pretty much ready to use!
PRO TIP: You may be tempted to go a little heavy-handed with the beeswax, but too much will cause the wraps to get flaky and shed beeswax when it’s cooled. But of course, too little means that the fabric will not be fully soaked with beeswax! If your wrap feels limp and not waxy enough (or has visible areas missing wax) toss it back in the oven/under the iron with an additional sprinkle of beeswax to provide a thicker coating.
CLEANING AND CARING FOR YOUR BEESWAX WRAP
To clean your beeswax wraps, wash them gently with cold water and mild soap. Do not scrub or wash using hot water since it can melt the wax. You can also wipe them down with a damp cloth. Air dry the wraps, and then you can fold them up to store in a cool, dry place.
Beeswax wraps should withstand several years of use. As you fully make use of your beeswax wraps, the wraps will have creases and bend lines – completely normal. If they are looking a little tired, you can pop them in a warm oven (or iron between parchment paper), and allow the wax to re-melt over the creases. I only do this when I feel the wrap feels thin and/or not as sticky. Add a small sprinkle of beeswax to add on a new coat and revive the beeswax wrap. How often you refresh your wraps really depends on how often you use and clean your wraps! If the wraps look really old and beat up, you can just cut them into small pieces and compost them. Since they’re made from 100% natural materials, beeswax wraps are totally biodegradable.
Although beeswax has natural anti-microbial properties, beeswax wraps cannot be washed with hot water, i.e. they cannot be thoroughly sanitised. DO NOT use your wraps in contact with raw meat, food for babies or the immunocompromised (just in case).