Finishing Up

Removing Residual Wax


When removing wax with heat, you’ll find that there is usually some residual wax left on the egg at the end of the process.  Rather than risk scorching the egg or getting soot on it by chasing down these last bits of wax, other methods of wax removal  can be used.  There are two ways of doing this.

NATURALS OILS: Some pysankary will coat the egg with a thin film of olive or other vegetable oil, and then  give the egg another go around with heat removal.  The oil will help soften the wax, and the wax will mix into it when melting, making it easier to wipe off completely.  As a bonus, the oil will give the egg a nice, natural sheen.

CHEMICAL DEGREASERS: There is a whole family of chemicals, organic solvents, which will dissolve beeswax and other waxes.  They can be applied to a pysanka to “melt” the residual wax and make it easy to wipe off.

WARNING: All chemical degreasers still on the market are either flammable, highly flammable, or combustible.  Before using them, make sure all flames have been snuffed out.  And remember that “inflammable” does NOT mean non-flammable; it is a synonym for “flammable”!!!!

Included in this groups of compounds are all of the solvents discussed in the chemical dissolution section, including those that aren’t useful for mass removal of wax.  Goo Gone, for instance, works too slowly to easily remove all the wax from a pysanka, but is quite useful for wiping an egg down to remove the last traces, or for getting old, greasy dirt off.

These degreasers can be used in two different ways:

TISSUE METHOD: A small amount of any degreaser, like those pictures above, can be placed on a tissue, and the surface of the egg wiped down. I often use a bit of odorless mineral spirits or Goo Gone on a store brand tissue for just this purpose.  Others swear by Ronsonol, Energine (naptha), oother solvents.

Be careful not too rub too hard, or you can remove dye or scratch the shell.  If there is a lot of residual wax, other removal methods should probably be used.

HAND METHOD: Goo Gone, which smells nice and citrusy, works too slowly to be useful as a whole egg degreaser, but is great for removing small amounts of residual wax, as well as soot. One way to use it is to hold the egg in the palm of your gloved hand, put a few drops of Goo Gone on it, and coat it evenly.  Wait a few minutes to let it work, and then gently dry the egg with a tissue.

I used to do this with a bare hand, until I discovered that, despite its nice smell, Goof Off was a chemical concoction with carcinogenic potential.  I no longer do this, and prefer to use the Goof Off on a tissue.

I prefer the tissue method now, saving the hand method only for really dirty eggs (pencil and wax).  When using chemical solvents, check the container to make sure they don’t contain water.  Goof Off, for instance, sells a whole line of cleaners, some of which contain water.  If you were to use a water-containing version on a pysanka, it would cause the colors (dyes) to run.

Solvents        Soot

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Removing the Last Bits of Wax