How do you care for beeswax wraps?
That's the number one question I get about beeswax wraps. It's really simple and easy to care for your beeswax wraps, and there are a few pointers that will help extend the life of your wraps. Follow these tips, and you'll get the most - and longest - use out of them!
Beeswax wraps are pieces of cotton that have been coated in a beeswax solution. Your goal is to keep that coating on the wrap for as long as possible!
- Wash in cold water
Cold water is key when it comes to beeswax wraps - this is the number one way to keep your beeswax wraps in good shape for longer.
Beeswax melts easily, so obviously hot water will melt it down and turn your wrap into a sticky mess. But that's not the main reason you want to steer clear of hot water. Actually, hot water will dissolve the coating, which means it will slowly wash away.
Wait - don't we need to use hot water to wash things effectively?
Nope. Contrary to popular belief, the hot water that comes out of our taps is not hot enough to kill germs when we're washing our dishes. It's only used to help dissolve dirt and oil. Think about it - when sanitizing items like baby bottles in boiling water, we need to let them sit in rolling boiling water for at least 2 minutes before they are considered sanitized.
Instead, what kills germs is the action of rubbing soap and water for a length of time (at least 15 seconds). Soap and water works by physically removing germs from whatever it is you are washing. You actually do remove some germs with running water alone, but soap helps physically pull those germs off the item. Hot tap water doesn't play a part in germ-killing.
You can wash your wraps effectively by rinsing them well under cold water, or wiping with a clean soft cloth. If you feel your wrap is a little yuckier, add a small amount of gentle dish soap (I love Seventh Generation - it's plant-based!). Allow to air dry once you're finished.
- Use soap sparingly
That being said, soap will not only help to wash away germs and bacteria, but it will wash off beeswax coating too! So try to only use soap when you really need it.
If, say, you've just wrapped a bunch of carrots for a few days, you'll likely only need a nice rinse. Left something in back of your fridge for too long? A drop of soap is a safe bet.
- Keep away from heat
Beeswax wraps are coated with a mixture of beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree rosin, which are melted together before being applied to the cotton. It goes without saying that heat will cause these ingredients to melt again.
Wraps that are exposed to heat run the risk of getting melty. The main concern here is that you'll lose that nice even coating - once the wrap cools again, the coating can become splotchy with areas of over-saturation and bare cotton. The wrap won't work very well in this state!
So, don't place the wrap in the microwave or the dishwasher, and keep it away from the hot stove and other heat sources.
- Don't over-fold
After being folded dozens of times, the wax coating will begin to flake apart along crease-lines. This is totally normal after several months of use. To stop this from happening prematurely, though, try to avoid crumpling and folding the wrap unnecessarily.
Store your wraps flat in a drawer, and be mindful when wrapping your food: wrap your food like you're neatly wrapping a present, not like you're crumpling up a ball of paper destined for the recycle bin!
Do you have a great tip for keeping your beeswax wraps in good shape? We'd love to hear it!