Plastic Wrap Alternative: DIY Beeswax Cotton Wraps

I was first introduced to beeswax-coated cotton wraps when someone gave me one made locally They quickly became an important part of our food storage regime. They are beautiful, functional, reusable, economical and eco-friendly.  And, as I soon discovered, not difficult to make.

I have been trying to cut back our kitchen plastic usage for years.  I don’t trust plastic especially when it is holding food, and it is simply NOT sustainable.  I replaced all my plastic storage containers and zip lock bags with glass or stainless steel ones.  Other than the cost, those weren’t too difficult to switch over to.  The item that I had a greater challenge replacing was plastic wrap.  The convenience is difficult to replace.  These beeswax wraps, however, have single handedly eliminated plastic wrap from my kitchen.  They are great for wrapping cheese, covering dishes, or folding into snack bags.  They can even be sewn into small snack bags to be used at school or work if desired.

Plastic wrap (I used Saran wrap) is a wasteful, single-use, petroleum product that I am convinced is not an acceptable part of natural living.  When used to store or heat food, plastic leaches toxins into our food that we then consume.  Many studies have now proven that BPA, a chemical that is in many plastics, causes a number of unacceptable health issues in those who consume food products in contact with it.  All plastics contain chemicals, and some are not well-studied to prove their safety. Plastic wrap is no exception.  Beeswax cotton wraps provide a safe and effective alternative.

We have beeswax available all the time since we keep honey bees.  Beeswax is 100% natural, non-toxic, and relatively inexpensive.  I use it in my body product recipes such as hand lotions, body butters, deodorant and balms.  It is water-repellent and has natural antibacterial properties.  When applied to cotton, it renders the cotton “unbreathable” which helps maintain the proper moisture content when storing food.  These qualities make it a great candidate for a plastic wrap alternative.

When choosing your fabric, use 100% cotton (organic is preferable).  The ideal thickness is a sheeting cotton.  (Think, your bed sheets or pillow case).  You can reuse old sheets or pillow cases, or you can choose beautiful fabrics for fun.

If you would rather purchase these wraps made in North America by a sustainable company and priced reasonably, click here.


  • beeswax, grated (or pellets).  I use about 0.5 oz. of beeswax per wrap
  • 100% cotton fabric, cut to appropriate size (12×12 in. or 8×8 in. works for us)
  • old cookie sheet (that will be used for this purpose only, forever after)
  • paintbrush (that will be used for this purpose only, forever after)
  • chop stick for stirring the wax as it melts
  • cheese grater (used exclusively for beeswax)
  • a make-shift clothesline and clothes pins
  • oven


  1. Preheat oven to 185F.  (Higher will burn the wax.  I know from experience…)
  2. Place pre cut fabric on cookie sheet.
  3. Sprinkle evenly and lightly with grated beeswax.  You don’t need a lot!
  4. Place in preheated oven.  Watch carefully!  This should take 5 minutes or less.
  5. As soon as the beeswax is just melted, remove from oven.
  6. Spread wax evenly with paintbrush to cover over any spots that are not yet coated.
  7. Hang on makeshift clothes line with clothes pegs, to dry.  Once cooled, you can use it!


  • If your wax starts to harden before you have evenly spread it, simply reheat it in the oven and try again.
  • This recipe uses less than 1 oz. of beeswax per sheet.
  • If you have a lot of wax left on the cookie sheet, place another piece of fabric on empty cookie sheet and it will absorb the extra wax.
  • All of the supplies except the beeswax can be purchased cheaply at thrift stores and can be used again for other DIY projects involving beeswax.  Purchase the beeswax through Mountain Rose Herbs, a trusted company carrying all sorts of ingredients for body products.
  • Wash in cool water with a mild soap.  I use liquid castile soap.
  • Each wrap will last several months or more depending on usage.

This post has been linked to Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #54, Fresh Eggs Daily: Farm Girl Blog Hop #10, Homestead Revivial’s Barn Hop # 89, 116th Wildcrafting Wednesday and Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday November 20th.


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  1. queen of string says:

    Oh my, I think this is the most awesome thing I have ever seen on the interwebs!!!!! I am so doing this tomorrow. Plastic wrap and parchment are two of the things I have been struggling to completely eliminate. I am so hopeful that now that horrid plastic can go. Awesomely brilliant, thank you so much.

    • Why do you want to eliminate parchment, I thought it’s healthy to pack food.

      • I wasn’t really attempting to eliminate parchment as much as plastic wrap, but parchment is lined with silicone and is a disposable product so if it can be replaced with a reusable one that is a step in the right direction!

    • Have you thought of replacing your parchment with Silpat baking sheet/mat?

      • I have a food network version of a SILpat mat. It is AMAZING!!!!! Cookies, homemade pizza, even hard candy (when it is still hot/warm..and even when cooled) comes right off with nothing left behind. Life before it was a bleak and sad exsistance..haha

  2. What a great post. I am definately going to do this. I have been wondering what I could do to eliminate plastic cling wrap from my kitchen. I don’t trust it either. Thank you.

  3. I have wondered so many times what I could use in place of plastic wrap. Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea!

  4. I was wondering if you just simply reuse the cotton by applying more beeswax once they have started to show wear from being used or do you have to start over with fresh cotton?

    • I haven’t tried it. Once the wrap is less water repellent I generally make new ones. You can compost the old ones. But if you do experiment with rewaxing, please let me know how it goes! Thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        I had the same idea of just recoating the fabric.

      • Christy says:

        You can re wax them. Just place the fabric in the warm oven and ‘spot wax’ for smaller areas or you can just re wax the entire thing. If sewn into snack baggies, gently melt wax by placing it in a coffee cup submerged in a bowl of hot water and paint the wax on the areas that need a little touch up. My great gran had these in her kitchen.

  5. I have never been a big fan of plastic wrap. Just getting it off the roll and on to whatever I was trying to put it on has always been to nerve wrecking for me! I most generally used wax paper secured with rubber bands or twine. Always remember grandma with her cloth covered items and it never dawned on me what it was until I saw your photo of the red and white checks! I’m so excited to try this, today’s project for sure! A big thank-you!!!

  6. Question:

    Since the resulting fabric will be stiffened from the beeswax, does the wax flake off when it is bent? Have you experimented with adding an oil to the beeswax to make a more pliable product?

    • The wax doesn’t flake off. Eventually, after washing and using for a few months, the beeswax gets a bit thin especially where it has been folded and less water repellent. That’s when I make new ones, but you could experiment to see if you can rewax them. I haven’t tried.

  7. So cool! I’d just recently heard of this and wanted to try it. Thanks for the tutorial! :)

  8. That is so interesting! Saw this shared on facebook. Fabulous idea and, I think, this will make a great Christmas gift for some friends and family. I just recently saw waterproofed fabric with liquid silicone. I love the idea of beeswax so much more! Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. This is so great !! Hubby and I just this year started raising bees, it is sooo cool. I think that I will take this idea and roll with it and make bowl covers. They will make great gifts for family and friends. This will combine two hobbies sewing and beekeeping. Thank you so much fo the idea !!

  10. queen of string says:

    Well, I have made 9 of them. They strike me as the sort of thing that might sell well at a farmers market. I am going to test this first batch for a bit and see how it goes. Lovely husband is a bit weirded out by them at the moment, but he has got used to lots of other things, so no reason he wont get used to these :-)

  11. This is great, I really want to try this. So glad I found your post!

  12. When you wash them, do you toss them in with the laundry, or hand wash them with the dishes?

  13. Amazing! I so rarely use plastic wrap but feel guilty and horrible every time I do (I’ve even tried to figure out how to re-use it!) I’m so glad I found your post. I have some cotton scraps and beeswax and now I’m so looking forward to never buying plastic wrap again.

  14. Ginger Charles says:

    Love the idea! Just a thought I had well reading, my mother-in-law is 82 and doesn’t have the dexterity she used to have, and she hates fighting the plastic wrap, so I’m thinking that if I sewed a piece of elastic in the edge and made a few different sizes, so it would end up looking kinda like a showere cap. I think it would work well for her or anyone else for that matter.

    • Ginger that’s a great idea. I have seen these made with velcro on them too so they can be folded up into a sandwich wrap.

      • I love this idea and have often wondered how to do without plastic wrap, which I already use as rarely as is possible. This is totally what I’ve been looking for! My question is about sewing with is… Do you have to sew by hand? It seems like perhaps the wax could get gummed up in the feed dogs of the machine and around the needle, but having not felt the finished product yet that is just an assumption on my part.

        • Karen I would sew them first and then iron them as flat as you can, and then melt the beeswax on top. I’d use more beeswax than I did since you will have several layers of fabric. The cotton should soak up the beeswax nicely though. Add more if it isn’t enough. I don’t think I would dare try to sew them with the beeswax on them and risk the sewing machine as you said. :)

        • You could make the elastic casing on the machine before applying the wax, then thread the elastic through the casing after applying the beeswax. That way, your fabric would still be flat for waxing, and your machine won’t get gummed up. You could just hand-stitch the elastic ends together and the casing hole closed, instead of the entire thing.

        • No need to hem, just cut the edges with pinking shears.

      • So, after reading everyone’s ideas, I same a simple hem that I could run a safety pin through with some elastic attached. I was able to easily thread it through and tie it off. This way I could add the beeswax while it was flat (much easier) and also re-thread easily if the elastic breaks. Does that make sense? I’m not sure I’m describing it well. I also made a few with velcro – another great idea. Thanks for sharing it.

        • Great job!! THanks for sharing.

        • Great job!

        • barbara laforge says:

          I buy the very tiny elastic at the fabric shop. I use that instead of rubber bands, probably not plastic free, but it works and I can tie it in a bow if I am giving away something. I use a natural dye if I am in a creative mood, or just blueberry juice does the trick. I punch hearts out of old card backs, punch another hole for tying and write a message. Very cute, personal, and good for our planet. Happy New Year everyone.

    • I WILL be doing these, as soon as our shipping container full of stuff makes it to our new house (my brick of beeswax is in it!). Rewaxing ought to work. Cut circles and run elastic around the outside for the bowl “shower caps” (I have the plastic version of these and they are very handy. I could totally see making waxed cloth ones. Any elastic will work, but the sort known as fold-over elastic will probably work best. If you have access to a pinking shears, using them around the edges of the flat wraps will help prevent raveled edges. If you’re worried about fastening the wrap, a rubber band will work, or you can attach a loop of elastic to one end of the wrap, for putting around, say, your block of cheese. The cheese I buy comes in plastic packaging. I have found that, if I open the plastic just the right way, it will work to just re-wrap it around the cheese and hold in place with a rubber band.

      • Great idea. By using FOE (fold over elastic), you could sew after waxing because the waxed fabric wouldn’t come in contact with the feed dogs or foot. Although the needle will pass through it, of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      She will recognize it – it’s a bowl cover. I have a picture of my dad and his brother wearing them.

  15. Why would you need to use the baking sheet only for this? The beeswax is non toxic (which is why we would use it), and will melt and could be scrubbed off. I could see a paint brush being hard to clean, but a silicone pastry brush would come clean in hot water. I like the idea a lot. :-)

    • The baking sheet keeps the fabric flat and in shape when you melt the wax on top. Also, it keeps it from dripping down on the bottom of the oven where it burns next time you reheat the oven (did that this morning LOL!) The silicone pastry brush might be easier to clean up for sure. Thanks for the idea!

      • The baking sheet makes perfect sense, it just seemed that since your ingredients are nontoxic, you wouldn’t need to reserve the sheet for only this project. :-) Maybe some homemade soap will be going out for Christmas wrapped in these.

  16. I’m the host of a radio show through the Preparedness Radio Network and would love to have you on as a guest to talk about this. Interested? Show airs on Tuesdays at 1 pm Central, but we can also pre-record if that’s more convenient for you. Great post.

  17. I am going to make some of these Friday (black Friday) as I am not shopping that day. I am thinking if the cloth works well I might do some bigger and make bags out of them. I can’t wait to try them out. Not only are they better than plastic, they will also be more economical.

    • Good for you! And I am proud of you for not supporting Black Friday. Support local small business Saturday instead :). Hope they work out for you.

    • Hi. I am a big user of plastic bags for freezer use. I would like to know how your ‘bags’ work out. If I can find a good replacement for ziploc type baggies, I would save a lot of my social security income. I have to buy items while they are on sale and freeze them. Not enough dexterity to use plastic wrap and foil sticks to everything unless item thawed completely, can’t freeze in glass and plastic containers contain BPA. I am willing to try about anything at this point to save a buck or two! Thanks.

  18. I think what Trina above was trying to ask is the same thing I’m intent on asking- why the brush and baking sheet aren’t reusable for other purposes. It seems slightly remiss that you would encourage wrapping food in fabric infused with beeswax and then suggest that it’s unsafe to use a baking sheet with beeswax on it for, say, food. They would both be perfectly food safe afterward, whether you properly cleaned them or not. I assume one would, though- lol. Otherwise your cookies are going to taste a bit waxy.

    • I get what you are saying. Feel free to use whatever utensils you like. Beeswax is non toxic but it is messy and usually makes the house a bit smoky when you burn it off. I have a second set of most items (pans, pots etc) for making my homemade products (as opposed to baking with them). Nothing gets thrown out. I purchased them all at Value Village. When there is beeswax still on the tray I just save it for the next time I use it rather than wipe off and waste the beeswax or burn it off and smoke up the house. But certainly, you don’t have to!

      • Donna van Haren says:

        I would think dedicating the utensils would prevent any contamination from any residual food particals perhaps….

        • I buy my “Craft” pots and pans, etc. at yardsales for pennies. No problem dedicating them to specific projects. (tho I know that space can be a problem.)

      • Beeswax is HIGHLY flammable. Residue in the oven could cause a fire.

    • I love these! Just a note, however, with regard to reusing the pans and tools; do not let wax go down your drains or you will end up with a hefty plumbing bill. I’ll keep my pans separate. I do have a question. Would soy wax work as well as the beeswax?

      • I have not ever tried soy wax. There are also caranuba wax, and candelilla wax, both are vegan but not sure if they would work, only because I haven’t tried it. Please let us know if you do!

  19. So awesome that you posted this! I, like you, have basically found a way of not using plastic for food storage. Besides using wax paper bags, I was pretty stumped for what to replace plastic wrap with, there are those times where nothing else seems to be right. This is a good idea for holiday gifts too. I’m pinning this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  20. Donna van Haren says:

    I have been trying to make cloth for a while but was melting the wax on the stove and bruising it on. It was clumpy and did flake so I am keen to try the oven method. Thank you, this is just what I have been looking for. I intend to make lunch sacks.

  21. Donna van Haren says:

    Brushing…..bloody auto correct

  22. Thanks for sharing this great tip to save the Earth !! I may wax all the table mat too your way so that the sauce or drinks will not dirty the expensive table mats or napkins. I hate to use plastic wraps, I often use glass bowl for hot food, plastic boxes — reuse them when we buy take-away. OR use Hotel free shower cap to cover any plate or bowls and place them in the fridge !! Taught by Taiwan TVB’s Good Idea program, that program taught us to rub candles onto our new canvas shoes !! Make sure it is the same color !! Asian’s school children wear white canvas shoe to school !! After rubbed with candle, the shoes will not get dirty and easy to wash and never become black or brown !!

  23. This is a very good idea. Thank you for sharing it.

  24. My mother, niece and I had a conversation about plastic wrap yesterday while preparing for our family Thanksgiving lunch. My mother and I haven’t bought any in several years, we both avoid using it whenever possible. In fact, we both have boxes that are just alike, red Saran Wrap, supposedly designed for the holidays. I don’t remember exactly when I bought mine but I do know that we moved it with us to the San Antonio area in late 2005.

    I love this idea!

  25. I have been meaning to do this- Thanks for reminding me. It was interesting to see your method as well. We raise bees to so we also have a source of wax which is very nice.

  26. What a fabulous post! Thank you for the great tip – I’ll be making these immediately.

  27. This is a neat idea. I rarely use plastic wrap. I have changed out all my plastic boxes for glass though they do have plastic lids for them. I am thinking if you sewed a strip of velcro to opposite sides prior to waxing then waxing them keeping the wax off the velcro itself. Then you could use the velcro to hold the wrap on tucking the opposite sides under. I may have to make up some of these.
    I was wondering which is the best beeswax as I have seen white and tan colored. Also is the beeswax from Hobby Lobbby any good? If not how do you know what is best if you don’t have access to fresh?

    • I am only familiar with the tan colored one since that is the color of the wax my bees produce, and I am guessing the only natural color. I am not sure what they do to it to make it white. I am also unfamiliar with Hobby Lobby. I would buy it from Mountain Rose Herbs (online) or from a local natural foods store that carries locally made candles. You can grate the candles. Good luck!

      • We do have a nature type of store. Maybe they would carry beeswax. I may have to make a trip there the first of week.

      • When bees wax is white it has been “Bleached” with peroxide. If it is done as naturally as possible.
        I learned this in the book “Beekeeping for Dummies”

      • We get a really bright yellow beeswax from our bees, but over a number of years, it can become sun-bleached to a creamy white, so there is quite a range in colour. There are also a lot of synthetically coloured beeswax on the market…but it can also be coloured with natural vegetable dyes too…so for these wonderful wraps, best to really check with your beeswax supplier that it would be food grade…or get some bees yourself! :) . You’ve really inspired us with this post – took our first batch to the farmers market yesterday and the cheese man thought they were topz!

  28. i absolutely love this idea and am going to try it today. i have some gorgeous vintage hankerchiefs that i’m going to use for this project. i already use them to cover my milk jar as it is kefiring. so excited! thanks for sharing

  29. This is brilliant! I have seen similar things sold, but really like to try to make my own first. I ditched plastic wrap a few years ago and don’t miss it. Plastic zip tip bags are another story though. I like them for cheese since they don’t take up as much room as solid glass or steel containers. Do these wraps stick to themselves? I mean, if I wrap a block of cheese in them, will it stay closed or do I need an elastic band or something?

    Either way I’m making these! Thanks!

    • Yes they stick to themselves, and fold nicely around containers. Enjoy!

    • Thanks for posting this, great idea and I will try it out. Like Kristina I just stopped buying plastic wrap and without it in the house, had to figure out alternatives. I pack everything in to glass, which is all good except I do SO much washing up (by hand) and it maybe only works because for now I have a huge fridge. One thing I really like about storing food/leftovers/ingredients in glass is it’s REALLY easy to label. I write the name and date directly on the glass with a vivid marker. That will come straight off in the wash with steel wool impregnated with soap (called Steelo in my southern part of the world). This is so much easier and faster than any other method of labelling I tried, especially for the freezer.

  30. I am SOOOO excited!!!!! I was just reading about these & thought it would be a great way to use up leftover fabric from other projects! Thank you so much for posting the instructions :) I am heading upstairs to my fabric scraps right now!!!! (would make awesome Christmas gifts too!)

  31. You’re being featured on my blog fest tomorrow! Be sure to come visit to grab a button and share in next week’s party! Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily

  32. Oooh oooh, so excited. I have been wanting to come up with an idea like this. So excited. Thanks for the post.

  33. cheryl baldwin says:

    Hi again,

    Today’s question is whether you think it is a good idea to use pinking shears to cut the fabric? It seems it might leave those pesky little threads – or mayhaps I could wash the fabric after I cut it to eliminate them…….Your thoughts, please?

    • I think it would be fine. I don’t finish the edges but they will fray if you aren’t careful. When you spread out the wax try not to push against the edge of the fabric. That frays it.

      • Great Question !!! I’m reading all of these posts and getting some terrific ideas…
        Maybe zigzag around the edges and then wax. Then it will still lay flat without the bulk of rolling the edges and then sewing and may eliminate the fraying and the little pieces.

  34. LOVED this idea and post! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I chose it for my featured pick in this week’s Barn Hop. Keep up the great work! ;)

  35. Deborah Jennings says:

    Oh, I am loving this! So much so that I am going to get some beeswax and make me some in the red and white check gingham to match my kitchen curtains. I also made some hot pads out of the same fabric. I may have to get some yellow and white gingham, too. My kitchen is in the process of being re-done in yellow, red, and white. I may have to add some blue, too. =) Now I can’t wait to make these. Love them! Thank you so much for sharing!

  36. Hi And Thank You for a Super Idea !!!!
    I belong and lead a SparkPeople team called Putting Foods Up…We are alway looking for new and ecological ideas. I hope you don’t mind, but I copied and pasted your instructions as my blog on our teams page…
    I gave you credit and here is the link to the blog…
    I hope you don’t mind me sharing this Great Idea !!!!

    • Hi Patti,
      Thanks for sharing. I just ask you to, rather than cut and paste all my work into your own blog, please just share the link, and I give you permission to share a photo from that post. When they see the photo and the link they will click on the link and be directed to my site, so that I get hits for the hard work I have done. If you want to make your own tutorial with your own pictures and instructions that is fine too. Otherwise, the correct way to give proper credit and to keep everything legal is to share a photo, with permission, and a link. Thanks! Enjoy.

  37. This is an awesome idea! I will definitely make some of these. I use plastic wrap and cringe at the thought every time I pull it off of the roll. This is such a practical product that can easily be made from sewing scraps. I have several sewing scraps that I may never find a use for unless I make a quilt…which I do not have the time this year, but I can make some of these cute covers and ditch the plastic wrap forever.

  38. Melissa N. Page says:

    Hi, this might be a weird question. I love the thought of eliminating plastic wrap (I don’t trust it either) and the beeswax and cotten cloth sound great but would the dye in the fabric be an issue? Do you think muslin or plain cotton cloth would be better or make any difference at all?

    • Melissa this is a good point. I think the beeswax seals everything in, but you could certainly use an unbleached, organic muslin and it would work perfectly.

      • On the same note as fabric safety, I would also recommend (if it has not been said elsewhere) that the fabric should be pre-washed! I used to work at a fabric store and was shocked that many people do not pre-wash fabric. The manufacturer uses formaldehyde or other preservatives to lengthen the life of the fabric, so you definitely don’t want that in contact with your food. Pre-washing will also remove the excess dyes that you also don’t want on your food. Plus you also don’t know what kind of dust and dirt or whathaveyou has gotten on the fabric in shipment, storage, or in the store.

  39. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you! I have been looking for this exact thing!! I do actually reuse my plastic wrap and waxed paper, but I can’t say it’s ideal. And I found a company that sells a very similar product online, but it was a bit pricey, particularly since they say their product can’t be frozen for any length of time. Which brings me to the question of whether these are freezable…?? I live alone and tend to make big batches of things and freeze them in individual portions a month or 2 ahead. Whatever I can’t freeze in glass jars, I use plastic wrap for, and I’m hoping this is going to be able to replace the plastic wrap!

  40. Fantastic. I’ve been cutting plastic too, but have still been using it with cheese as I’ve not found anything else that will keep the mold away as well – looks like this might do the trick, especially if I do some velcro magic. Thanks!

  41. WOW – these are great! What a wonderful idea… and I pinned it, I hope it is alright. Blessings!

  42. What a great tutorial; thanks so much!

    I have a few questions: Do you have any tips or directions to fold them to create more of a ‘pocket’ or ‘baggie’ shape to slip foods into instead of only being able to ‘wrap’ them? For example (as I think of what’s currently in baggies in my house!), shredded cheese, and loose things like that. I already have so many mason jars for food leftovers, etc., etc, and use some baggies to lighten the weight on my glass fridge shelves plus to save space since they can be tucked in the fridge drawers for a few things like cheese.

    Also, when you gave up plastic bags, what did you start using to store homemade bread? I’ve been using those big gallon-size baggies. Any suggestions for bread, rolls, etc?


    • Hi Beth, and thanks!
      I would make a simple cotton “bag” with either a snap or velcro enclosure and then put the beeswax on top of it. You might need extra beeswax since it will be several layers. The cotton will absorb the beeswax and you will have a handy little baggy! I haven’t done it, but that is how I would try it, at least the first time :)

    • Oh! And, about the bread bags. I do use plastic bags when I freeze and store my bread. I haven’t come up with a better solution than that yet… but I am looking! I recently read a post about a tightly woven linen sack for storing bread but I don’t know how long it would keep the bread from drying out. Perhaps you could make a bread bag the same way as I described a snack bag?!

  43. What a great share. This is useful and do-able – yay! We use solar ovens here so will experiment with making a solar-melted food wrap! Thank you so much!

  44. Thank you so much! I’ve been looking for a way to get rid of plastic wrap! I would love it if you would share this post on Wildcrafting Wednesday, a blog hop for herbal uses, home remedies, and self-sufficiency / homesteading tips, I think this would be perfect and our readers would love it too! :)

  45. It worked! :D This was so much fun. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to wean myself off wax paper for a while now, this is it! This may also work to eliminate plastic rubbermaids for my husband’s sandwiches :) Thanks for the idea!

  46. Oh, this is such a terrific idea! I always burn beeswax candles, so this would be a great ways to use the leftovers, once the wick is burnt down.

  47. What you are doing with eliminating every day (hazardous) household necessities and replacing them with healthy green alternatives–is amazing. I am a busy mom and work crazy hours as a nurse, and these are wonderful simple-to-do projects that I am easily integrating into my own household. Yours are the best and most informative I’ve found. So–thank you!!

  48. Wow! What a cool idea! And so easy! I can’t wait to try this out!

  49. I live in a travel trailer (we do ministry full time, and travel to different locations), so I couldn’t dedicate a pan to just making the cloths. I lined my pan with parchment paper first, and it worked great! I’m so excited see how the first one works for me. I used a cute fabric too. Instead of plastic wrap, now I can use “pretty wrap”. :)

  50. I am so excited to try these. My second son is allergic to dybutal phaylate and saran has a huge amount of it in it. in the ones you can buy they add jojoba oil to them. Have you tried that?

  51. Could you iron these between parchment to melt the wax, or to touch it up when it’s worn?

  52. Brittany A says:

    I tried making these exactly like the directions say, but they did not come out right. They won’t stick to anything once the wax is dried and the fabric is hardened. I am not sure were I went wrong. I tried making two of them and neither came out right :-( Any suggestions.

  53. Love this idea! Please stop by my blog and share this idea on Wildcafting Wednesday!

  54. I don’t use plastic wrap for anything except wrapping up our meats that go in the freezer to prevent freezer burn (I have not found any other way to keep it at bay) do you have any suggestions since I am thinking that the beeswax cloth would not work.

    • I don’t think it would maintain much of a seal in the freezer.

    • Kelekona says:

      I’ve heard of “storing meat in it’s own fat” which usually means dipping beef in molten tallow.

      Try a really cheap cut wrapped in cloth, then completely encased in tallow. Perhaps an extra layer of cloth to protect the freezer.

      I’m leaning towards double-boiler melting of the wax or fat. Even non-reusable canning jars can usually stand up to the heat of near-boiling water.

  55. Love the idea and just wondering how do you store your clean wraps?

  56. I feel like I am coming a little bit late to the party but this is a great idea and would be perfect for tops on homemade jam as well as replacing cling film. Cling film is such a harmful, wasteful product! I just need to find some time to make this now.

  57. I got my beeswax today and tried this. I love it! they turned out great! what a wonderful idea. my boys are going to help me make more tonight. thanks for all you do! you are a treasure :)

  58. Awesome idea! How easily does the beeswax come off? Could this be used for a toddler’s placemat?

    • It doesn’t peel off, but after time, especially where it has been folded, it wears off and becomes less waterproof. I haven’t tried it for a place mat but I think it would work. Hand wash in luke warm water, not hot.

  59. This is amazing!! I can’t wait to try making these. I, too, despise plastic wrap but haven’t found a great alternative until now. Thanks!

  60. I love this idea. Do you think organic hemp fabric would work as well? The fabric I have looks and feels similar to cotton…

  61. Jillian says:

    Can these be used in the microwave?

  62. Greetings from Spain! I have just discovered your blog and I am absolutely amazed by this recipe. I would like to know if the wax cotton wrap would work with soy wax, and if you have tried using the wraps for storing food in the freezer. Thank you so much for your wonderful ideas!

  63. I have honey that been old and became so thick and sugary, can I use this instead of beeswax?

  64. Sarah Woon says:

    Hi there, would it be okay to use polyester cotton at all? I have loads of it and thought I could use it to make these. :)

    • I would test it first to see if it is absorbent. You need something to absorb the wax. Cotton sucks up liquid nicely, so if it is a mix it might work! See how it absorbs water first. Good luck!

  65. Hi! How are you liking this after using it for several months? Are you still using it? Have you had to make new ones? TIA!

  66. Wouldn’t this method only coat one side though? Wouldnt both need to be so the uncoated side doesnt get moldy and stuff? Thanks!

  67. Dalena Garcia says:

    I cannot wait to do this!

  68. Linda Alquist says:

    I'd like to try this! Instead of cling wraps!

  69. Pepper Potts says:

    Rachel Maddux, another beeswax use idea for you! :)

  70. Yeah, that's how we used to make the beautiful batiks back in the day.

  71. Lorie Steinitz says:

    That's so cool

  72. DanielandJumara English says:

    I am making these today! They will complete my paperless kitchen.

  73. So you cna wash these, by hand or in the washer? never thought of this. Great idea. Do you sue them for sandwiches too, like my hubby packs a lunch for work? Thanks for sharing. I agree, I think I'd brush on.

    • I tried brushing on but the wax melts so fast it clogs up the brush. Grating it and sprinkling it on, then finishing with the brush worked the best. You can wash them with warm water and a tiny bit of soap. Don’t put them in the washing machine… you might end up with wax plugging everything. They work great for sandwiches.

  74. At $15 for a 12×12″ square, I would hardly call the ready-mades “priced reasonably”!

    • …which is why I have provided you with a tutorial! :D Or perhaps you should make them and sell them on your etsy shop for $15 a square..

    • Indeed! I saw the pricing of ready made and almost had a heart attack. This is a fantastic and economical alternative. I have stacks of old handkerchiefs and kerchiefs I think would word great for this. I know Wal-mart and hobby stores carry kerchiefs and other small quantities of fabric for next to nothing. Sounds like a perfect fit. And I so look forward to eliminating the plastic in my kitchen. Now, convincing my 86 year old mother to stop using plastic…well that’s another story. I still am fighting the cloth vs. paper towels fight but maybe someday we’ll end that one too.

  75. Sistah Sunshine says:

    LOVE!!! Thanks so much!

  76. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    I was wondering if a plant based wax could be used in place of beeswax.

  77. Christina Marks Turner says:

    I have a quandary. The only other thing besides plastic bags that I need to find a replacement for is paper towels for when I make things like bacon or sausage and need to drain the fat off. I hate to use rags because of the mess.

  78. Dede McIntyre says:

    If you think about it.. this is how people generations ago stored their food and packed lunches and picnics…

  79. get a roll of newspaper remnants from local paper ( it doesn't have ink on it so it's good for packing away fragiles or crafting) also it is recycled paper to start with

  80. Debbi Cobern says:

    If they only last a few months I don't see the big savings or usefulness. Any wax getting into your plumbing can cause tremendous and $$$ future problems. I'm a big fan of the 'green movement" but this is one I will definitely pass up.

  81. Sandy Taylor says:

    How do you store them until you use them?

  82. I put regular old newspaper on a cookie sheet underneath my mesh cookie cooling rack, then put the bacon/sausages on the rack. There's a little cleanup involved afterwards, but not much.

  83. Rebecca McKee Long says:

    Bee's wax is plant based.

  84. Rebecca McKee Long says:

    What is the final texture like and do you have bits of wax faking off or tiny holes at the fold lines?

  85. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    Bee's wax is from bees. Bees are not plants. Bee's wax and honey are both animal products.

  86. Rebecca McKee Long says:

    Bees just do the work but the lipids and proteins that "are" the wax are harvested as plant pollen and refined naturally without a factory or laboratory. More plant based and natural then anything requiring heat and solvents.

  87. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    Beeswax is an animal product. Bees make it. It belongs to them. They use it to build their hives. I choose not to use animals products or products that cause harm to animals, people or the environment, as often as I can. I only posted this question to try and figure out how to make this without beeswax.

  88. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    Beeswax is an animal product. Bees make it. It belongs to them. They use it to build their hives. I choose not to use animals products or products that cause harm to animals, people or the environment, as often as I can. I only posted this question to try and figure out how to make this without beeswax.

  89. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    Beeswax is still not plant based. Plant based is from plants. Anything that comes out of an animal including meat, milk, honey, beeswax, leather, fur, etc. uses plants to produce it, but these are all still made by an animal. I choose not to use animal products. My question is pretty simple. What type of plant based wax can I use instead of beeswax?

  90. Jennifer Kolaczyk says:

    Plant based waxes that I use for beeswax alternatives are carnauba, candelilla, and soy. Even with that, I still consider how these waxes were sourced. I have never used it on fabric, so I was hoping someone could answer, so I wouldn't waste a bunch of wax and fabric. I searched online and couldn't find anything. I am going to try to figure this out and post it if I can.

  91. Angela Nanie says:

    i've used egg cartons in the past (cardboard one's)

  92. Christina Marks Turner says:

    Angela Nanie I need my cardboard egg cartons for my eggs! lol Good idea though. cradboard of other kinds would work great!

  93. Have you tried just dipping the cloth into the melted wax? It would be faster and quicker than grating and brushing…but perhaps it adds too much wax? I am going to try making these as I have plenty of beeswax from my bees!

  94. Amyah Labrèche-Docq says:

    Why not using an iron? Putting a layer on parchemin paperon the cotton covered with the wax????

  95. These look great! I’ll be making some for sure!

  96. Ishka McNulty says:

    newspaper work very well

  97. Ishka McNulty says:

    I just wonder, Debbi, how would you get wax in the plumbing. Any waste should be soaked up in old newspaper just as one would do with waste oil/fat (which should never be put down the drain either).

  98. Ishka McNulty says:

    I don't know but maybe bayberry? as they make candles from that. but it too has an aroma which may be imparted to the food, could be an idea to expirement with it especially if you are vegan.

  99. Remy John Hoefer says:

    I just don't understand people who are so protective of animals but, then eat the plants that keep these animals alive.

  100. Ishka McNulty says:

    I understand Jennifer what you mean, if you are vegan you might not want to use bee's wax. There are plant based waxes such as bayberry (which is used to make candles), I would suppose there are others. The best thing is to try it. No harm done if it doesn't work.

  101. Ishka McNulty says:

    you can use waxed paper too, but I don't know what kind of wax it is or if that fits in with your personal philosoply.

  102. Ishka McNulty says:

    I haven't had mine very long but I just fold them up and put them in a drawer.

  103. Laura Clark says:

    You said that they last for a couple of months. After that, do you reapply the beeswax to ”
    Freshen” them? Thank you very much for the instructions.

  104. Ursula Jehnzen says:

    do you have to keep replacing the beeswax when you wash the cloth?

  105. Windy Lee says:

    Ishka McNulty – When it's washed in the washing machine or by hand, wax could get into the pipes, drainfields, ect

  106. Christina Marks Turner says:

    I would not wash in the dw or washing mashing, just a quick run through warm soapy water in the sink would do the trick.

  107. Christina Marks Turner says:

    Not long enough for any to melt even, just dip in and wipe then rinse and lay flat.

  108. Ishka McNulty says:

    Windy Lee you don't wash them in the washing machine. Just wipe them down by hand – can use dishwashing water before you put the dishes in just like Christine Marks Turner says in her post. But ususally they don't even need that. Depends on what you use them for. If you wash them in a washing machine they won't last very long as the wax will come off.

  109. Ishka McNulty says:

    Just wipe them down by hand – you can swish them in dishwashing water before you put the dishes in and rinse in cold water. But ususally they don't even need that. Depends on what you use them for. If you wash them in a washing machine they won't last very long as the wax will come off.

  110. Ishka McNulty says:

    news paper.. That's what people used to use.

  111. Ishka McNulty says:

    Just wipe them down by hand – can swish them dishwashing water before you put the dishes in & rinse with cold water. But ususally they don't even need that. Depends on what you use them for. If you wash them in a washing machine they won't last very long as the wax will come off.

  112. Ishka McNulty says:

    so far I haven't had bits of wax flaking off nor tiny holes at the fold lines. I wouldn't keep folding them in exactly the same way though.

  113. Ishka McNulty says:

    Jennifer – try it, be bold and expirement and then let us know the results with what kind of plant based wax you use.

  114. Windy Lee says:

    Ishka McNulty – My comment was in answer to your question on how it would get into the plumbing.

  115. Desiree Bos says:

    It's not really a matter of saving money as it is protecting yourself and family against the toxic materials that leach into your food from plastic wrap.

  116. This is such an awesome idea! I’m going to try these for sure.

  117. Toni Hartley Suzore Patrick says:

    Why does everything, the cookie sheet the grater etc have to be dedicated to this use forever?

    • You don’t have to. It isn’t always easy to get beeswax off, is all. If you are going to use it for beewax and you have an extra then you can have 2 sets. If not, no big deal.

  118. Jesse Loren says:

    Wax coats things. It's best to use the grater and cookie sheet for only wax afterward because they will always have a little wax left on them.

  119. Jesse Loren says:

    Jennifer Kolaczyk Bees are not animals, they are insects. They eat a vegan diet. They make wax to hold honey and their young. When honey frames are collected the caps of the comb are removed. The wax you buy is almost exclusively made from the caps. The spun frames are returned to the bees. Wax is plant based because the bee diet is plant based. They eat nectar and pollen, which are plant based.

  120. I am a beekeeper. I have 4 hives, which isn’t a lot of bees, but it really is a lot for two people. I have lots of honey and have collected and cleaned lots of wax cappings from the honey harvest. I’m always looking for ways to use the wax. This year, I’m going to make these sustainable, reusable cloths and give them to people as Holiday gifts. What a great way to spread the word on sustainability! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  121. Rebecca Short says:

    Jesse Loren Insects are most certainly animals.If an animal eats plants that does not make its products plant-based.. otherwise beef would be suitable for vegetarians since cows eat grass & meal

  122. Ishka McNulty says:

    Windy Lee you don't wash them in the washing machine. You wash them lightly by hand.

  123. Ishka McNulty says:

    another way is to roll them up and store where they fit, with or without rolling over an old cardboard roll from wrapping paper or paper towels if you use them.

  124. Christina Marks Turner says:

    We do not get newspapers so that does not work (nor do any neighbors).

  125. so using the electric griddle with aluminum foil on top of it was excellent! it made it much easier for me than using the oven. especially because it all stayed warm while I was using the paintbrush to move around the wax. it made it easy for me to spread it around and wipe off the excess, etc. hopefully I will like them as much as I like my abeego! otherwise, it was spare wax and fabric so not much loss. thanks for the inspiration!

  126. Jennifer Kolaczyk , I am wondering if you found a vegan beeswax alternative. I would love to hear what you came up with!

  127. Nichelle Martin says:

    I just use a cooling rack over a plate or cookie sheet, (or even better, my cast iron griddle) and then scrape and save the grease for later use.

  128. LOVE this post! I have been thinking about buying these for a while, but now I'm excited to make them myself! Also, I'm linking this post to my blog. Thank you!

  129. Nanon Lahnstein says:

    Just made them. try them tomorrow. And handing them out to my co-workers ;-)

  130. I love love love this! I am trying to get a paper-free kitchen, but the plastic baggies are still in use and I hate them.
    My question though-I live in Central Texas, so how do this hold up for a day in the park? I would hate to make them and go out only to have them melt and clump together from the 100 weather!
    We are also planning a Disney Trip and while it will only be 80 degrees, we will be outside all day long. Will these be good to use?

    When you make them as bags for snacks, would you only wax the outside?

  131. I love this idea. I remember growing up when having baby showers my mom always made diaper nut cups with paraffin wax. If you have never heard of them. You take a cute baby flannel cut into triangle bring both sides to center. Take front piece and fold over the two sides inward. Use small safety pins to pin all three pieces together. Dip in melted wax. Place on paper lined cookie sheet or card paper to dry. Fill with nuts and mints.

  132. Raelyn Jankowski says:

    This may be a silly question but I need to ask. Would it be safe to use beeswax if someone has a severe allergy to bee stings? I’ve just starting to get my family on a green path and have started making reusable snack bag/sandwich wraps using PUL fabric as a lining but would love to to this instead.

  133. Hello, this is a great idea! How well will this stick to stainless steel? Thanks!

  134. Vesla Kazimer says:

    I put a splatter screen over a dinner plate. Then I put my greasy things on top of the screen and the grease drips onto the dinner plate below.

  135. Vesla Kazimer says:
  136. Becky Sipe says:

    I usually stack my leftovers in bowls with plates or saucers. No plastic and no waste.

  137. Beeswax doesn't flake like paraffin wax.

  138. Lucianna Mills-Rice says:

    This is a great idea! Thanks!

  139. I tried these, but they came out way too sticky. I used coconut oil instead of jojoba. Would that have made the difference in stickyness? Or maybe I just put too much wax on the cloth with the paintbrush? If anyone has any suggestions? thanks

  140. Anna Chosak says:

    Use brown paper bags from the grocery store.

  141. Cassie Ailstock says:

    How do you Ussr these to cover bowls? So they fit tight

  142. Try sliced white bread to absorb the grease. My grandmother did that before there was paper towels.

  143. Awesome. I was give some as I present and have embarrassed them. I know want to make and share with friends so thank you for the instructions.

  144. so we're only coating one side with the wax?

  145. How well does this cloth hold up in the freezer? Wondering if it will crack easily? Thought it would work well as an ice pack cover.

  146. rubber band?

  147. Hello! Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea! I live in Japan and would love to try making these waxed clothes. I can get good bees wax here these days…. And I love the idea of waxed cloth!

    Could I ask a question? You say they last several months. Does that mean the cloths slowly loose their “waxyness”? Do you then renew the bees wax application?

    Another question: have you found that bread or sandwiches or food wrapped in this way keep better, keep more moist in the case of bread, for example? The same or better than plastic wrap?? I would suppose that things can breathe a bit easier.

    • Hi! As it gets folded, eventually the wax does get less waxy so yes you can either warm it up and re melt it or even add a bit more beeswax. It isn’t quite as good as plastic wrap because it does breath a bit whereas plastic doesn’t at all, but it works well for us!

  148. Laura Clark says:

    I have wanted to try this since I first saw your posting and still havent found beeswax. Any ideas where one might find? I live in Virginia. Thanks very much for the tutorial.

  149. It soaks through the fabric. Just use fine cotton rather than anything too thick.

  150. Cassie, the great thing about these is that the cold of the fridge sort of 'sets' them. They're quite pliable when you first put them on something and the warmth of your hands means you can shape them around the edge of the bowl. Once they're in the fridge they harden up and seal really well.

  151. Love these and thanks to them and some pyrex dishes (for meat) I've pretty much gone disposable-plastic free in my kitchen. You can also add a couple of drops of essential oil (jojoba or lavender) to the wax and I notice one place producing these commercially says they use 'tree gum' (?).

  152. Calendala wax replace bees wax for of lots of usage. It may work!

  153. I made these last night and the wrap is quite hard. It doesn't stick when folded, I fact it slowly unfolds. Feels quite firm rather. Than a bit sticky. I used bees wax and cotton. Any ideas.

  154. So glad I stumbled upon this!! I now have a great use for my late mother's enormous fabric stash. Both the bowl covers and foldover sandwich bags would be super cute with monograms or embroidered figures on them, too!!!

  155. Hi, thanks for the tutorial. Can you just melt the wax in the microwave and apply it with the paintbrush? I can't bebothered grating it!

  156. Hi, I would like to try this for freezing food…has anyone given any feedback as to whether that would work?

  157. It soaks through the fabric. Just use fine cotton rather than anything too thick.

  158. Can I ask what's the difference between the white beeswax and the yellow one?

  159. I make 4 loaves of bread per week and freeze 3 to use throughout the week. I've been trying to find an alternative to gallon ziplock bags. I always reuse them, but I don't like the idea of plastic on our bread. Do you think these could go in the freezer?

  160. The whie one is usually bleached.

  161. White can be from being filtered many times. Bleached is either from the sun or chemicals. Careful when using "bleached" around food unless you KNOW how its bleached.

  162. May depend on how 'new' the wax is. If the bees have only used it once and for a short time the colour will be lighter. If they are reusing the wax many times it will get darker and darker as time goes on. Those who have to remove older wild bee hive have wax that is very dark brown. It is a natural thing with many variations (bees often are or can be saved to add to the colonies of someone who raises bees).

  163. Love idea! Can you buy a honeycomb and drain the honey and use that wax?

  164. Jennifer Kolaczyk Bees are insects…not animals. Rebecca is right.

  165. Gotta try this !!

  166. Great idea thanks Natalie

  167. Any suggestions for storage, for gifts or farmers market packaging?

  168. Neat idea.

  169. Bees make wax from pollen. Pollen comes from plants. So beeswax is plant-based. Although it involves an animal to do the work to make it.

  170. This is a fantastic idea. In my opinion it does not replace putting a saucer over a bowl (which my mother did back in the 1950s and I still do) or using glass storage containers such as the Anchor Hocking Take 'N' Bake containers (which, sadly, AH has discontinued). But to store oddly shaped items like lettuce and celery and cheese, or to pack a sandwich (I would otherwise use waxed paper) and keep it lightweight and portable, this is a terrific idea. I'll be making these. I do not think I will use tea tree oil because I would not like the taste in my food. Thank you for posting this.

  171. Brown paper such as from brown paper bags is an excellent absorber of grease. I cut my paper bags up (the few I use, and usually have reused already) and lay the greasy food on the "page" with the (presumably cleaner) inside of the bag facing up.

    I would like to get away from using foil to cook baconon a cookie sheet in the oven. It's the one time I line something with foil. Parchment is just a mess afterward. Using nothing is a difficult cleanup job as the bacon sort of carmelizes on the sheet. If anyone has an idea I'd love to hear it. (Maybe newspaper if the oven is under 451 degrees F. Are the inks all soy-based now?)

  172. Brown paper such as from brown paper bags is an excellent absorber of grease. I cut my paper bags up (the few I use, and usually have reused already) and lay the greasy food on the "page" with the (presumably cleaner) inside of the bag facing up.

    I would like to get away from using foil to cook baconon a cookie sheet in the oven. It's the one time I line something with foil. Parchment is just a mess afterward. Using nothing is a difficult cleanup job as the bacon sort of carmelizes on the sheet. If anyone has an idea I'd love to hear it. (Maybe newspaper if the oven is under 451 degrees F. Are the inks all soy-based now?)

  173. I am familiar with beeswax and its properties as I make candles. Beeswax is hard and brittle. There could definitely be crumbs of beeswax dislodged when you bend this fabric. I suspect that is why some recipes add jojoba oil – to make the beeswax more pliable, less brittle, so it would not develop cracks or flake off. I suspect jojoba oil is soft at a lower temperature than beeswax.

    But beeswax melts at a pretty low temperature, lower than 150 degrees F. If you pour boiling water through your drain periodically (pasta water?) or run Liquid Plumr down the drain prophylactically, that should help keep your pipes clear. (Visit the Liquid Plumr website for tun, they have the cutest Hunky Plumr series going on.) If I make these sheets I will not bend them too much over the sink while washing.

  174. That is simply brilliant. Although be sure to use 2 layers of paper and sandwich the cotton in the middle.

  175. Beeswax does stick to things but it can be scraped off, or removed with a product like Goo Gone or DeSolveIt. On a hard surfaced item the wax might even snap off in one piece if you chill the item in the freezer. I clean candle molds this way.

  176. I do this too, or use old-fashioned glass refrigerator dishes (Anchor Hocking recently quit making Bake 'N' Store, darn!). But this seems a great idea for things that don't fit in a bowl (like lettuce or celery or a loaf of homemade bread) or for things that need to be lightweight and portable (e.g. a sack lunch).

  177. Pnik Nanie I need my egg cartons for my chicken eggs (I have 40 chickens that I sell eggs from!)

  178. sounds like a god idea!

  179. I save and use brown paper bags. Tear them and use the inside.

  180. How do you get it to attach to bowls and such?

  181. Linda Macedo and @Jesse Loren, insects are most definitely animals too! I guess you guys missed out on your biology classes…

  182. can this replace polythenes???

  183. can this replace polythenes???

  184. :D Wax is from plants in the same way as milk is from grass. Bee wax is not from pollen, young bees don't even eat pollen when they produce wax. FYI – insects are animals too.

  185. Lara Meringue, bees secrete scales of wax from glands in their abdomens. They pass them to their mandibles, soften them by chewing, and place them. They are bodily secretions of the honey bee, not something they assemble from plant materials. Just to clarify.

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