9 Smart Uses for Paraffin Wax at Home
Paraffin wax may not be a conversation starter or an exciting topic for most people. This is perhaps due to its often colorless and dull appearance. It is also tasteless and odorless. But as it turns out, this simple item has a lot of surprising applications.
Paraffin wax is utilized by different industries across the board. It is used in a variety of products, including pharmaceuticals, foods, adhesives, cosmetics, and candle making. It is more versatile than other wax options because it is insoluble in water and has a high melting point.
Paraffin wax can also be a useful product for DIY home projects. It is generally safe to use at home because it is all-natural and, despite being a petroleum product, it does not easily combust. Paraffin wax is commonly used in making candles, preserving food, and heat insulation. Read on to learn more about nine smart uses for paraffin wax at home.
Smart Uses for Paraffin Wax at Home
1. Medical Application
The use of paraffin wax in the medical industry is not uncommon because it lacks harsh chemicals and leaves the skin soft and smooth. You can find this product in therapeutic medical uses and medications for muscle stiffness, inflammations, dry skin, and massages.
You can also DIY your healing potion at home by shaving paraffin wax into a few ounces of hot olive oil to create a skin healing salve. The salve can help seal cuts on your hands and feet that allow bacteria to get in and create serious infections.
In addition, the salve can help protect hands and feet from harsh environmental conditions. It protects the skin from cracking and peeling when constantly exposed to cold, heat, and water. Paraffin wax and olive oil concoction will leave your skin soft and smooth.
2. Candle Making
Refined paraffin wax used in candle making is safe and compliant with the strict United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. With a high melting point, the wick in the candle will burn at a slower pace and only burns down as the wax gradually melts.
This hydrocarbon wax is also ideal for creating scented candles because it is colorless and odorless. It is also quite easy to mold into any shape and size. To make candles at home, you need plant fiber wick material, glass jars, and a block of paraffin wax. The wick material could be made from sisal rope, jute cordage, cotton string, homemade plant fiber string, or even narrow strings of cotton.
Paraffin wax is the most readily available and affordable lubricant on the market. It is applied to many moving parts to reduce friction. At home, you can use it to lubricate scissors or shears, zippers, and a host of other equipment.
It is also great at lubricating windows and doors, ensuring they open and close smoothly. Over time, dust particles may accumulate on the hinges making it difficult to move them. However, you can remedy that by running a bar of wax over the frames and tracks to lubricate them.
You can also apply the wax to the bottom of snow, skate, and surfboards for easier gliding. The wax will also protect the equipment from moisture build-up as you glide down a mountain on your snowboard. When applied to a surfboard, it protects the board from salty water.
4. Food Preservatives
Paraffin wax has been used as a food preservative—sounds far-fetched, right? But it isn’t. Paraffin wax is also used as a stiffener and a food preservative. It also helps add luster to food products. Some types of cheese are even dipped in paraffin wax for protection against moisture and mildew.
The wax can also extend the freshness and shelf life of fruits and vegetables. It is a crucial ingredient in chewing gums, too. Even the chocolate industry uses paraffin wax to give their products a delicious sheen that is soft and easy to bite and chew.
Paraffin wax can also be useful in a home setting. It is particularly useful for garden farmers who produce a lot of fruits and berries to make homemade jam. Since homemade jams lack preservatives and have less sugar compared to commercial varieties, they tend to go bad quickly.
The best way to extend the shelf life of homemade jams is by completely sealing them off. This is where paraffin wax comes in. However, there is one caveat: the paraffin wax used has to be food-grade and approved by the (FDA).
5. Maintaining Wood Cutting Board
When preparing meals at home, we need a smooth and clean surface to chop our vegetables on. Cutting boards provide such surfaces, and since we are dealing with food, we definitely want them to be easy to clean after use.
Paraffin wax can coat the surface of a chopping board, preventing vegetable debris from sticking on the board’s surface, which is very difficult to wash thoroughly. As aforementioned, any wax that comes into contact with food has to be food-grade wax and FDA-approved.
6. Seal Bottles
One useful property of candle wax is the thermoplasticity of the material. This means that paraffin wax is solid at room temperatures, but when applied to something while hot and molten, it will stick to the surface. When the wax finally cools back to room temperature, it will solidify and make a strong joint. This is probably why it is versatile in its applications.
The thermoplastic property of the wax makes it ideal in packaging, cigarette manufacturing, furniture, and shoe manufacturing. It is also useful for DIY home projects that may require one to create an air-tight seal. This is most common for people who make their own wine, oil, or any other home products that need to be airtight.
7. Water Proofing
Since paraffin is naturally insoluble in water, paraffin wax is a great option for waterproofing your gear. The wax shavings can be applied to various equipment to make them waterproof. These include matches, bottles, and wood.
Paraffin wax is especially ideal for DIY waterproofing projects while camping outdoors. Survivalists even apply the wax to their boots, jackets, and tents to make them more water resistant.
To waterproof your equipment:
- Dip them in a container filled with melted paraffin wax.
- Allow the wax to solidify, and voila! You have created a water-repellent coating.
8. Rust Inhibition
Paraffin wax can prevent rusting on metal surfaces, preventing them from losing their edge. Tools such as knives, axes, shovels, splitting mauls, and sheers can be rubbed with paraffin wax coatings to inhibit rust and oxidation. You could also apply the wax for better cutting action and traction on cutting tools.
When using paraffin wax for rust, you don’t necessarily need to apply a thick coating on the tool’s surface. Just reapply the wax coating as soon as you are done using the gear. This method of rust inhibition is ideal for tools usually used in salty, dirty, and wet environments.
9. Fire Starting Aid
Paraffin wax could be a useful complementary fire-starting tool when camping out in the wild. Since paraffin wax is petroleum-based, it is flammable, thus an ideal fire-starting tool. There are several methods you can use to start a fire.
One common method is dipping organic material such as cotton and twines in the wax and storing them in a sealed container for later use.
Alternatively, you can roll strips of newspapers into a tight bunch. Tie a piece of string to keep them secured, dip them in paraffin wax, and wait for it to cool off. The paraffin wax-dipped newspaper and twigs will come in handy when starting a fire while out in the wild, especially in a windy climate. The paraffin might be flammable, but it will burn more slowly than the paper alone.
Paraffin wax may have unassuming looks and features, but it has various applications in different industries. It is used in pharmaceuticals, adhesives, food, cosmetics, and candle making.
This hydrocarbon wax is also used for DIY home projects. Since it is cheap and readily available, most people use it to lubricate moving parts such as doors and windows as well as the friction fire set. You can also use the product to preserve homemade foods and drinks such as jam and wine.
When using paraffin wax with food items, ensure that you use FDA-approved food-grade wax. Also, follow safety and avoid paraffin wax treatment if you have any open sores or chemical sensitivities.
Featured Image Credit: Nataliia Trytenichenko, Shutterstock