It's inevitable that your wrap will encounter some messes – whether it’s tomato juice, or a forgotten-wrap that went mouldy in the back of your fridge, the wraps can easily be cleaned and cared for. We’d like to suggest that there are two categories of messes with beeswax wraps: the normal wear and tear, and the indicators that it’s time to pitch or re-wax your wrap. Luckily, however, most cases are solvable, and Chelsey is still using some of the first wraps she made five years ago!
Regular Wear and Tear Scenarios
Spills and stains: from juicy tomatoes or oranges, these messes are easy to clean.
Mould: don’t be deterred by a wrap that’s been mingling with food that’s gone bad – the food can be ditched, and the wrap can be cleaned! Beeswax has natural anti-bacterial properties which prevents the wrap itself from becoming mouldy and unusable.
If the wax begins to pile (see photo below): don’t worry, because wax is malleable and can easily be heated and redistributed – they’re still functional!
Standard Wrap Care
With any regular wear and tear situation, the wraps just need to be cleaned with lukewarm water and a dollop of soap. You can use the palms of your hands to lather the wrap in soap and wash off any food residue, or you can use a damp cloth. After washing, you can let your wraps air dry on a drying rack. Wraps are best kept out of direct sun for prolonged periods of time, as sunlight might make the wax a little bit tacky.
If the beeswax begins to pile or crack on your wrap, you can gently heat the wrap in the oven and redistribute the wax using a paintbrush. Here’s how Chelsey refreshes her wraps in the oven:
Preheat your oven to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the wrap on a piece of parchment paper.
Put the parchment paper on a low rack in the oven with no rack above it.
When the wax on the wrap has melted, gently brush the wax towards the top of the fabric
Dip your thumb and pointer fingertips in water and pick up the wrap up from the top. The water will help keep your fingers from sticking and the wax from burning your fingertips.
If the wax runs, gently rotate the wrap to ensure it is covered evenly.
Out of Bounds
When washing your wraps, avoid using abrasive tools such as bristle brushes or steel wool. This will damage and potentially peel off the beeswax. To prevent the beeswax on your wrap from melting off, please do not put your wrap in direct heat, in boiling water, or in the microwave.
End of Life
When your wrap is ready to be retired, you can heat the wrap and scrape off the wax (using the same method as described above for redistributing the wax). With the piece of cotton, you can use it as a kitchen wipe, or you can dispose of it as per your municipality’s textile guidelines. You can find information about textile disposal in Halifax using the ‘what goes where?’ search function.
Beeswax wraps are hard to hurt and easy to care for. Remember that natural things will start to look natural overtime. Crumple, fold, bend, origami your wrap in a way that suits you, and give your wraps a good lather after they’ve been used. Take care of your wraps, and they’ll take care of you!