Beeswax, the Microwave Killer!

Or…. Brother Knows Best.

It was not one of my finer moments. Erik (my younger brother and also the Otion store manager) cautioned me that my lip balm project wouldn’t work. However, since he did so in front of my mentee Linda, I did not listen to him (to better maintain my Alpha role, of course). Had I listened, I would have heard him saying that the glass I wanted to melt our from-scratch lip balm in wasn’t strong enough to take the sustained heat required to melt the beeswax.

Alas, ego and hubris always go before fall. After six minutes in the microwave, there was a “ding!” to signal the batch done and then an impressive BOOM! (which turned out to be an exaggerated portent of doom).

Opening the microwave found this scene:

The glass, the oils and the wax were all over the microwave; my brother’s taunting laughter filled the air. It was humorous (yet also mildly embarrassing). On a serious note, both Linda and I are lucky that we had not opened the door to the microwave prior to the big BOOM! We could still be picking out glass from our gentle faces.

After using most of the paper towel roll, we managed to sop up the oil, waxes and glass. The microwave still hasn’t recovered fully. Strangely enough, Linda wasn’t all that enthused about trying another batch.

Gee, I wonder why?


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  1. Terra says

    Wow! I’m glad that no one was hurt! I always preferred melting beeswax on the stove by putting it in my little pyrex measuring cup and setting that in a small sauce pan with about two inches of water and boiling. I will know now to never try to melt it in the microwave! Thanks for sharing this so that the rest of us won’t have to learn the hard way and possibly harm ourselves.


  2. Lee Smoll says

    It was not the Beeswax fault. It was the thick glass design of the coffee cup. The same thing would have happened if it was filled with water and brought-to-a-boil in the microwave. I did learn from your situation and tested a tall thin glass container to the beeswax melting temperature, with water, before I used it for dipping some candles. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. cameronreilly says

    I’m so glad I read your post! I was considering using the microwave to melt some beeswax for candles but I guess I’ll stick to the interminably slow double boiler now!

  4. Anne-Marie says

    We are so lucky that no one was hurt – what a foolish little mistake that was.

    It was a normal coffee glass – so in theory, safe for hot things – just not THAT hot for THAT long! =)

  5. Rurality says

    I have to say, this is one of the things I really love about your blog. Not reading about you blowing things up — but you being willing to talk about it when you make mistakes!

  6. BathCake says

    Oh my! So glad no one was hurt. I’ve only made lip balm once, from scratch, and I used the microwave … guess I was lucky. I did use my pyrex measuring cups, as I do for most bath product projects. What kind of glass was it?

  7. michelle says

    Now that I do not use shea or cocoa butter for balms and do not get the graininess I use the microwave for small batches or single orders. But I use the AM method for mp, zapping only 30 seconds at a time, stirring, zap, stir, till melted. I use mango butter now and it stays creamy.
    Glad no one was hurt!
    Michelle in NV

  8. playing with soap says

    OMG!!! Funny, but scary. I would love to try to make lip balms, but now I know what not to do. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to learn. Thank you for sharing.


  9. Joanna Schmidt says

    I am glad no one was hurt. I have never used the microwave for lip balm, always a double boiler. Had I ever thought of the microwave to speedy up things, I probably would have glass face myself.