My neighbor dropped off a pail of dirty beeswax and this is how I cleaned it without knowing anything about beeswax. This is about half of what he had dropped off as I had already cleaned the first half.
I first watched several youtube videos. I found THIS ONE to be the most helpful.
Here are the supplies that I used. I used two roasting pans from the Dollar Tree and chose the sturdiest ones they had. I built a custom filter from scrap wood and wire mesh that I already had. I designed the filter to fit over the two foil pans, so as the beeswax drips through there would be no leaks. I also used some aluminum foil, a cookie sheet, and a chopstick for stirring.
I first covered my baking sheet with aluminum foil to protect it from any beeswax drippings. I knew there was a chance that the beeswax could leak through the aluminum foil and ruin my pan, but I took a chance.
I added about an inch of water to the roasting pans.
I topped with the custom filter tray and layered it with paper towels.
I designed the custom filter tray so that the paper towel would curl up along the edges.
The filter tray was also fitted so all the wax would drip into the roasting pans, and not over the sides onto the baking sheet. My hope was that there would be zero wax drippings onto the baking sheet. I was really hoping for no mess - keep reading to find out.
I added the dirty beeswax from the 5 gallon bucket and formed two mounds.
Beeswax melts at 151F and will start to discolor around 200F. So I decided to set the oven to 190F. The flashpoint (when something starts on fire!) for beeswax is 490F so there was no concern of anything catching on fire. BUT apparently you should never leave melting beeswax unattended, so I just made sure to stay home during this process.
After two hours I stirred it with my chopstick and just left the chopstick in the oven. :)
At four hours, there was still a lot of wax sitting at the top, and nothing had changed for the last hour. This didn't happen to my first batch, but this batch had a lot more honey than the last. I assumed the honey clogged up the paper towel filter, so I took it out of the oven, let the remaining dirty beeswax cool, and replaced the paper towel filters.
I was right! When I put the remaining dirty beeswax in the oven, the beeswax was able to be filtered quickly (about 30 minutes).
I rolled up the paper towel filters and plan to use them for fire-starters so little wax is wasted either.
Here are the results from filtering the beeswax once.
Next - I do the same process over again, but for both of my batches. On the left side is the beeswax that was filtered from my first batch, and on the right side from my second batch. I put both back in the oven for about two hours.
The result ----> clean beeswax, little prep, and no mess!