Thursday, March 24, 2011

beeswax polish

My friend Lisa and I were talking about the rhythm of the Waldorf day, "chores" for our children and how her daughter absolutely loves Fridays when they polish all the wooden toys, bowls and spoons in their home.  Once upon a time, Fridays were our toy washing day - when Naiya and I would set up bowls of warm soapy water and gather up the toys that could be submerged for a good cleaning and gently wipe with a damp cloth those that couldn't.  At some point she just really started to dislike this activity for some reason though, so we let it go.

I'd been looking for a way to re-institute a day for Naiya to care for the things with which she plays, however, and I thought the beeswax polishing would be something she'd enjoy.  I set out to find the polish to no avail.  During my next visit to Lisa's house I looked at her jar and the ingredients listed were: jojoba oil & beeswax.  "No problem," thought I, "I can just whip that up at home."

I already had some pure organic jojoba oil which I poured into a measuring cup.  I didn't want to make much so I started with only about 2 ounces.

I then shaved off some beeswax from a block I've been using to make candles and added this to the oil until I had a ratio of about three parts oil to one part wax.

I measured this in the same way my grandmother taught me to measure shortening or butter that didn't come in measured cubes.  Her method was to fill a measuring cup with water then add the fat until the water was displaced by the amount of shortening or butter needed.  Then she poured off the unwanted water.
With the wax I used this same displacement measuring by tossing wax shavings into the cup until the oil level rose by about one third it's original amount.

Then it was heated in a double boiler until the wax had melted. 

(Beeswax has a melting point of about 145° F.  It can ignite if heated to this point so don't put it in the microwave as temperatures there can be unpredictable.  Remove it from the heat source once it has dissolved.)

I poured the melted compound into a baby food jar I had handy.  (I heated the jar with hot water prior to pouring in the hot wax to avoid shattering the glass.)

At this point I got Naiya involved and asked if she could help me stir the polish as it dried.  I don't know if this was necessary but she really enjoyed painting her fingertips with the cooling wax and then rubbing it into her skin.

(I hadn't thought of it but I don't see any reason this "polish" couldn't also be used as lip balm or lotion!)

In the end it was quite a soft, easily spreadable fusion with an absolutely delicious bouquet.  "Can I eat this?" my darling child begged, "It smells soooo good!"

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