Are Wax Wraps Hygienic?
Beeswax wraps are designed to be a reusable alternative to clingfilm. They are made from natural materials all of which are food safe. Beeswax also has natural anti-bacterial properties. However, as you can only wash them in cool water it's fair to ask whether they are going to be a hygienic option.
It is recommended that you do not use wax wraps for raw meat or fish which makes sense if you can only wash them in cool water. Funnily enough, you should also not use your wraps for pineapple but that is to do with how the acids affect the wrap rather than for hygiene reasons.
If you do have raw meat or fish that needs covering the best thing to do is to pop it in a bowl and then cover the bowl with the wrap so that it is not coming into direct contact with the raw meat.
In order to keep your wraps hygienic it is important that you wash them after you use them. Now you may not need to do this every time (if you've just wrapped a bread roll overnight to keep it fresh then brushing off the crumbs will suffice), but regular washing will stop any nasties growing on your wraps.
It is also important that you let your wraps dry before storing them away as germs love nothing more than a moist damp environment.
Refreshing your wax wraps
In the interest of prolonging the life of your wraps and keeping them in tip-top condition you should refresh them every few months (or more often depending on how much you use them.
Refreshing wax wraps can be done in the oven (electric only, wax wraps make great firelighters so should not be placed near naked flames), or using a hot iron. What you are doing is melting and redistributing the wax which will heal up any cracks and make your wraps look good as new again.
The other benefit to doing this is you pasteurise your wrap, killing off any nasties and making them safe and hygienic to use.
So if you notice something has been left in the wrap a bit too long and it's gone mouldy, or someone else in your household didn't realise they shouldn't use the wrap for raw meat, you can pop it between two layers of greaseproof paper, give it a quick iron, and carry on as if nothing ever happened.
And the even better news is that you can buy refresher blocks of wax so you can keep your wraps going for even longer.
Next up: How long do beeswax wraps last?