Is Using Soap & Cold Water Effective for Cleaning Your Beeswax Wraps?

Cleaning your Goldilocks beeswax wraps may be a learning curve at first but trust us, it’s super easy! The most important thing to remember when caring for your beeswax wraps is to wash them in cold water. As long as your wraps stay away from heat, consider them extremely durable.

We’re often asked about the effectiveness of removing bacteria when washing in cold water as opposed to hot water. Consider this, hot water is effective in killing bacteria at a very high temperature, achievable only with an industrial dishwasher. This means that the water temperature needed to kill bacteria cannot be reached in your kitchen sink. So what truly cleanses your hand-washed dishes and beeswax wraps is soap. 

Handwashing in cool water using dish soap will be the most effective way to remove bacteria while keeping your wraps in the best shape! 

Beeswax wraps, eco-friendly, zero waste

 The Research

If we look at studies done on the effectiveness of handwashing methods, we can draw parallels to washing beeswax wraps. 

These studies have been conducted with the same bacteria most commonly found on food, which is the type of bacteria that can be found on beeswax wraps. As early as 2001, studies showed that temperature did not affect the removal of bacteria in hand washing. In one study that tested the bacterial reduction “efficacy of water temperature during normal hand washing,” the bacteria, Serratia marcescens, was tested in handwashing between 38 and 38.9 degrees. The results indicated “that water temperature has no effect on transient or residential bacterial reduction during normal hand washing when bland soap is used.”

In the study “Quantifying the Effects of Water Temperature, Soap Volume, Lather Time, and Antimicrobial Soap as Variables in the Removal of Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 from Hands,” researchers concluded that “water temperature as high as 38 degrees and as low as 15 did not have a significant effect on the reduction of bacteria during hand washing.” This means that there was no difference between the efficacy of hot versus cold water while removing bacteria. However, a 30 second wash time (20-second lather and 10-second rinse) significantly decreased bacterial count.

How does this relate to beeswax wraps? The E. coli used is the same bacteria often found on food products such as milk, raw vegetables, and sprouts, as well as untreated water. While the study was done on hands, the results apply to food products washed with antibacterial soaps such as Dawn dish soap.

In conclusion, the water temperature does not kill bacteria at temperatures we can withstand, but soap does!


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Jensen, D.A., Danyluk, M.D., Harris, L.J., Schaffner, D.W., 2015. Quantifying the Effect of Hand Wash Duration, Soap Use, Ground Beef Debris, and Drying Methods on the Removal of Enterobacter aerogenes on Hands. Journal of Food Protection 78, 685–690.. doi:10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-14-245

Jensen, D.A., Macinga, D.R., Shumaker, D.J., Bellino, R., Arbogast, J.W., Schaffner, D.W., 2017. Quantifying the Effects of Water Temperature, Soap Volume, Lather Time, and Antimicrobial Soap as Variables in the Removal of Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 from Hands. Journal of Food Protection 80, 1022–1031.. doi:10.4315/0362-028x.jfp-16-370

Michaels, Barry & Gangar, Vidhya & Schultz, A. & Arenas, M. & Curiale, Michael & Ayers, T. & Paulson, Daryl. (2001). Handwashing Water Temperature Effects on the Reduction of Resident and Transient (Serratia marcescens) Flora when using Bland Soap.. Dairy, Food & Environmental Sanitation. 21. 997-1007. 

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