Entering left field is plastic wrap… versatile, indestructible, mindless, and easy… a destroyer of the environment and filler of landfills. Entering right field is beeswax wrap… the new kid on the block, ready to go head-to-head with our old time standard and armed with a gold ribbon in eco-consciousness. Who wins?
Imaging this: You’ve been gifted an infant-sized zucchini. You’ve made 4 loafs of chocolate chip zucchini bread, but that sucker is still not used up. So, you reach into the cupboard for your trusty box of plastic wrap to cover the oozing cut end before you bury it in the back of the fridge.
Sure you could probably store it in a plastic container. Assuming you have a Tupperware large enough for your newborn baby, do you have room in your fridge for it, and still have space for an alphabet of condiments, questionable meatloaf, and 4 school lunches? Probably not.
Hence the plastic wrap. But, what if you had an alternative to plastic wrap?
What if you could reach for a square of trendy reusable beeswax wrap instead?
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What are beeswax wraps?
Very simply, beeswax wraps are pieces of cotton which have been coated with a combination of beeswax, oils, and sometimes resins. Once coated, the fabric becomes water-resistant and airtight.
You can use beeswax wraps as an alternative for regular plastic wrap. From on-line reviews, it sounds like beeswax wraps can be reused for about a year before they loose their magic powers. But, at that point you can cut them up and add them to your garden compost.
These beeswax wraps are a must if you’re on a mission for a more eco-friendly, reusable, and sustainable kitchen and way of life.
(Update: I’ve had my beeswax cloths now for about 3 years. I use them less now than I did a few years ago. I still find them handy in certain situations, but I don’t find them as effective as I did when they were new.)
How to use beeswax wraps?
You can fold this coated fabric around foods or cover bowls and cups. It holds its shape relatively well and does a good job of keeping foods fresh.
Beeswax wraps are perfect for wrapping onto the cut ends of odd shaped fruit and vegetables, for packing up your peanut butter sandwich, and covering last night’s tuna casserole.
They’re reusable. They’re compostable. They’re pretty and smell nice too.
You can also use these beeswax wraps as gifts! They’re the perfect gift for everyone… because everyone eats and everyone needs to keep their food fresh and (I’d like to think) that everyone cares about their plastic consumption and waste. Think teacher gifts, hostess gifts, college care packages, new baby, new job, new home, and all those other gift-giving holidays.
So, where do you buy these handy-dandy beeswax wraps?
A quick beeswax, bee wrap review
While these wraps do a good job of sealing, I’ve had a hard time getting a complete seal around a bowl. Popping on an elastic band helps keep that seal firm if you’re concerned.
For sandwiches and snacks, you could use a pretty string or ribbon to secure your wrap. You can even purchase wraps made specifically for sandwiches with clasps or already shaped into bags. Like these:
Overall, I’m finding the bigger sized squares do a better job of sealing since there’s more fabric for folding and holding, and less need of an added string or elastic.
I have currently had my set for a few years. I admit that my family frequently forgets we have them and my kids have a hard time getting a good seal or forget to use an elastic.
I’ve also discovered that in the summer heat they tend to form and hold better than in the cold months.
Pros and cons of beeswax wraps
- No plastic waste!
- Smell lovely
- Endless colors to choose from
- Easy enough to make at home
- Compostable after they’re reached their usage limit
- Can be used to preserve freshness of almost all foods
- Might need to use a string or elastic band to make a tighter seal
- Can’t be disinfected with hot water, so you shouldn’t use your beeswax wraps with raw meats
- Foods must be completely cool before covering with beeswax wrap
- The cost (before considering the overall cost savings of a reusable product) can seem high to some.
Want a longer bee wrap review? Kitchn shares more pros and cons of using beeswax wraps in your own kitchen.
How to make beeswax wraps?
I haven’t tried to make my own wraps, but I’ve done a quick search and it seems the process is pretty straightforward:
- Spread melted beeswax directly onto good quality cotton
- Add some Jojoba oil and let it dry
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. If you want to give it a try, this is a well-written detailed article by mommypottamus on making your own beeswax wraps
Overall, these beeswax wraps are a great addition to any kitchen. I’d declare them a winner over plastic wrap any day!
What should you do now?
- Order a few packages of beeswax wraps for yourself and to keep on hand for gifts. Think hostess gifts, teacher gifts, new home, college care packages, as well as holidays and birthdays.
- Check out this gift guide on other reusable and handmade kitchen and household items.
- Join the Take Them Outside Newsletter to help get you and your family connecting more with nature. You’ll receive news, tips, activity ideas, and more sent directly to your inbox.
Other ecofriendly posts you’ll enjoy reading:
- Bring nature inside with simple Thanksgiving and fall table decorations
- Enjoy indoor flowering houseplants and try growing easy indoor orchids
- Get outside more often with fun and easy family picnics
18 thoughts on “Beeswax Wraps: FAQs / Pros & Cons”
Hi, I just bought 3 beeswax wrap, was googling on how to best use it, and it brought me here. Read somewhere that it will be better to keep the food cool before wrapping, what if my sandwich is warm? Find the inner wrap a bit coarse. Is this normal and safe to wrap sandwich?
Hi Sal, I’m not certain what you mean when you describe your wrap as a bit coarse. As for the warmth of your sandwich, I think that’s fine. You just need to remember that the wraps are coated with beeswax so you just don’t want to use them on foods that are hot enough to melt the wax.
Is the food supposed to be dry before you wrap it? i.e. If I wash my celery before wrapping it, do I need to dry it or can I wrap it after I shake some of the water off?
Hi Lynda, I tend to just shake the water off. However, I find the bees-waxed fabric will fold and stick better if my hands and the item I’m wrapping are a bit warmer.
When storing the wraps, do input them back on the paper they came on or can I just fork them back on themselves? FIrst time user and I love them!
Hi Cheryl, I can’t say if there’s a recommended storage system. But, I have simply been folding my beeswax wraps us and tucking them in my drawer and it’s been a few years now, and they’re still good. However, I notice they do have the crease in them so I try to fold them differently each time. Thanks for your question:)
How does one store them properly when not in use? In a special bag or container?
Let’s say if I wrap a half watermelon or partially eaten apple, do I need to wash my fruit when I unwrap them?
Hi Tanya, Good Question! I’m not certain what the ‘experts’ would say. But, I’ve been storing by beeswax wraps just as is, folded together, in a drawer. After I’ve used the wrap I’ll rinse it with cool water and maybe some soap, then leave it to dry. I do not wash the food I’ve had wrapped before eating, assuming the wrap was clean before I used it on the fruit.
I don’t like the way mine smell. I use 2:1 wax to resin, and 2 T jojoba. Should I use more jojoba?
Hi Carla, I wish I could give you a more helpful answer. Is it the beeswax smell you don’t like or the jojoba oil? I actually like the wax smell and I don’t find that mine smell of jojoba oil at all…. nor do I know if the maker of mine actually used jojoba oil in them. I have not actually tried making beeswax wraps myself, I just included that video because I know many people have asked how to make them. Perhaps you could contact the creator of the attached you tube video in this post. Good luck:)
I appreciate how you explained that beeswax food wraps are a combination of cotton, oils, and beeswax to create an airtight and water-resistant fabric. My friend’s daughter is starting school, and she’s trying to figure out the best way to pack her lunch in the morning so that it’s still fresh by lunchtime. I’m sure she’d really benefit from finding some beeswax food wraps that will prevent air from entering and oxidizing or warming her food so her daughter can enjoy her fresh packed lunch every day.
Thanks for the comment. I have used them to tuck snacks into my purse and I’ve been good so far. Have a lovely day,
We LOVE beeswax and use it at home! This article is spot on! Here’s another con – keep it away from your doggie! Ours snatched ours off the counter and ate it!!!! He must have thought it smelled delicious! 🙂 Thanks for the great article!
Oh wow! That’s a big helpful tip! I don’t have dogs, so I would never have known… but they do have a strong beeswax scent, so I see how a puppy could be interested in them:) Thanks for sharing!
Do you by chance have any issues with wax residue on your bowls? We made some wax wraps and unfortunately they aren’t working as well as we had hoped.
Hi Bre, Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your wraps. The wraps I am using are from Suzy’s Bees Wraps from Etsy (here’s the affiliate link: http://tidd.ly/ea7f342). I don’t experience any wax residue on my dishes.
I have discovered that if the wraps are warmer, they form a better seal around the jar or bowl. When it’s cold in the house, I’ve done this by warming my hands with hot water, drying them, then holding the wrap for a few moments to soften it.
In reading about the wraps it seems there’s a few different ways to make them. I’m sure if you looked up a tutorial and then contacted that person they might have some troubleshooting tips for you and your own home made wraps.
Good luck and thanks for your question. It was a good one! Sorry I couldn’t be of more help:)
I’m having trouble with residue as well. Has then been any resolution to this in the time since the original post?
Hi Robert and Bre,
I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with wax residue on your bowls. I haven’t found any residue with my beeswax wraps. Perhaps you’re using too much wax or not enough oil? I wonder if you’d get more answers if you reached out to the creator of the how to video I’ve linked to?