Wax paper. Chances are if you’re like most people you have a box of it in a drawer next to the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. You probably bought it because a recipe called for it, but for the life of you, you can’t remember what it was for and haven’t used it again since.
Of course, you haven’t tossed it yet, but that’s good news right now because this article is going to not only tell you everything about wax paper, it is going to give you some new ways to use it.
What Exactly Is Wax Paper?
It was in the 19th century that the practice of covering regular or parchment paper with oil so it could be used to keep moisture out of foods and also to keep foods that had a strong aroma from spreading the scent.
In 1851, a famous French photographer began using wax paper for the negatives of his pictures. The process of coating papers with oil was replaced when a chemist found a way to make a more pure form of paraffin.
Today, wax paper is mostly used in baking and cooking foods as well as storage and craft projects. An oldie but still a goodie would be to gather up the beautiful colored leaves of fall, arrange them between two pieces of wax paper, and iron them on a light setting. This is a form of laminating young children might like to see in action.
Are Wax Paper and Parchment Paper the Same Thing, and Can They Be Used in the Oven?
If you have used parchment paper while baking because of its nonstick properties, that is where the similarities end.
- Wax paper is coated in paraffin wax; parchment paper is coated in a form of silicone.
- While wax paper helps keep heat in, it cannot withstand the heat of an oven or microwave. Parchment paper is safe in the oven and is usually used to line a pan so the food that is placed on it does not stick. Some foods, such as seafood, are wrapped in parchment paper and cooked in the oven or even on a grill. The paper keeps the food protected enough so it is safely steamed. This process is named en papillote which means in paper.
- Both types of paper are good for using to freeze food. They both keep moisture out and you can write on them to show the date you placed them in the freezer. Many people lean towards wax paper for this use because it costs less than parchment paper.
- Both papers work well in the kitchen when you are working with foods that are sticky and hard to work with. You can lay either wax paper or parchment paper on your counter and work with your pasta or bread dough as well as sticky cookie dough much easier. The best way to do this is to keep some flour handy and coat the paper and your wooden roller with a handful so you can roll out your dough much more smoothly. This will prevent the dough from sticking to everything it comes in contact with.
What Can You Use in Place of Wax Paper in the Oven?
While cooking in the kitchen, you can use parchment paper or aluminum foil for their anti-sticking feature. As for anything to do with the heating or cooking of foods in the oven or microwave, parchment paper will work in both but foil will not work in the microwave.
20 Things You Can Do With Wax Paper
Okay, so you can’t use wax paper in your oven or it will melt all over your baked goods and it will not turn out well. But before you get rid of your box of wax paper, dust it off and check out these great and useful ways you can use this stick-free wonder.
You may find so many ways you never thought of that you might actually have to add wax paper to your next shopping list!
1 – Make your cabinets easy to clean
You can use this tip in your kitchen cabinets and especially in your refrigerator which attracts a lot of drips and spills. Just cut pieces to fit the cabinet or drawer and when you are ready to clean simply pick them up and toss them out.
2 – Keep your faucets shining
Once you get the faucets in your kitchen and bathroom clean, take a piece of wax paper and rub it over the them. The wax in the paper will shine them up plus it puts a protective coating on them.
3 – Get a can opener completely clean
A handheld or even an electric can opener is a convenient tool but because of the numerous cans and liquids it comes in contact with it can become a haven for germs. Use wax paper to get into the grooved cutting area to get it nice and clean.
4 – Seal utensils that are made of wood
If you have wooden salad bowls, cutting boards, and wooden spoons that you use frequently, give them a rubdown with some wax paper and it will give them a quick seal so they won’t become stained by foods like tomato sauce.
5 – Use it as a funnel
Because the wax makes this paper a little more firm and not as flimsy as regular paper, roll it up into a cone shape and you can refill your spice containers or even use it in the garage to stash a bunch of small screws and bolts in a glass jar.
6 – Prevent food from splattering in the microwave
While wax paper cannot take the heat from an oven, it can sustain being used in a microwave. Because it is water-resistant it makes it perfect to place over a bowl that you are using to heat something up in so it will not spill over and land all over the walls and base of the microwave (even the ceiling!).
7 – Use it with your favorite wine
You can use wax paper in two ways when it comes to your fine wines. You can rub the removed cork with wax paper to help it glide back into the bottle smoothly.
If you either lose the cork or it has expanded and no longer fits your wine bottle you can wad up some wax paper and use it to replace the cork.
8 – Get a zipper unstuck
How many times could we have wished we had known about this simple tip? Rub the paper along the zipper and the wax will help make it glide open.
9 – Help curtains move easier
If you love to let the sunshine in, struggle no more. Rub wax paper over the curtain rod and your curtains will slide right open. You can use it on your shower curtains as well.
10 – Use it to pick up dust
If you are like most people who have tile or hardwood floors in your home, you know how quickly dust can accumulate. There are a number of name brand sweepers on the market but if you run out of cloths next time, try a piece of wax paper.
It will glide around your floor and easily pick up the dust.
11 – It makes ironing a breeze
Whatever you use when you are ironing is going to build up on your iron and make pressing them a struggle. Once your iron is clean and free of any sticky substances, run some wax paper over it and you will be able to fly through your ironing basket again.
You can also put some salt on a piece of wax paper and run your warm iron back and forth right over it to get any hard-to-remove gunk off of it.
12 – Use it to start your campfire
Next time you go camping make sure you pack a box of wax paper. Instead of having to search around for twigs and pinecones to start your fire, wad up some wax paper, light it up, and you’ll be enjoying your s’mores before you know it.
13 – Store your candles and keep them protected
Using wax paper to store and protect your wax candles is the perfect way to keep them from melting and the colors from running into each other. When you are using candlesticks in your décor it’s always a good idea to put a piece of wax paper underneath the candle holder.
You can make it small enough to not be seen but to be able to catch any drips. You will be happy you did.
14 – Use it to clean and protect garden tools
If you want to make the time you spend in your garden even more enjoyable, run some wax paper over your small shovel, rake, or hoe. The wax will make them shiny and smooth and they will glide through the soil.
15 – Use it for decorating cakes
Wax paper can be used in a number of ways when creating confections. When you are decorating a cake you can make it look more professional by putting wax paper underneath the bottom layer on the plate.
When you are finished frosting the cake just remove the wax paper and toss it. Your plate will look perfect and you won’t have to run a wet paper towel around it to remove any runaway icing.
If you are afraid of making a mistake when writing out “Happy Birthday” on the cake, pipe it on a piece of wax paper, put it in the fridge, and when it has firmed up it will come right off the paper and you can place it on your cake.
16 – Use it to flatten chicken breasts
When you need chicken breasts that have been thinned out, place the breasts between two slices of wax paper and pound them with your kitchen mallet or the back of a sturdy pan.
17 – Keep cheese fresh longer
Even though cheese is a product that is aged, don’t think it can’t go bad. You can keep your favorite cheese fresh much longer by wrapping it in wax paper first, then cover it with aluminum foil.
Before you pack it in the foil make sure you write the date on the wax paper.
18 – Use it whenever you have projects that call for paint
Whether you are painting your home or you are restoring a piece of furniture, when you are done painting for the day you should get into the habit of putting a piece of paper across the top of the paint can before placing the lid back on. This will keep the paint from forming a film that could thicken over time.
You can even take your cleaned paint brushes, wipe them off, then store them in wax paper so they won’t harden up in between use.
19 – Make a sled glide faster in the snow
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow in the winter, you can make sledding even more fun for yourself, your friends, and the kids. Take wax paper and rub it over the bottom of one of those aluminum saucers or even on the runners of a sled before you go sledding.
A fun time will definitely be had by all but you may want to be careful when letting little ones try it out.
20 – Preserve your fall leaves with this craft project
This craft project is a tried and true event that is a perfect pastime for the whole family on one of the first days of fall. Everyone needs to go outside and look for the prettiest leaves they can find. The colors are so vibrant it may be hard to decide on just the right one.
Once you have the leaves you want, bring them indoors, place them between two layers of wax paper and run a warm iron over them. They will be saved forever in time.
Little kids will love it and it will be an afternoon of old fashioned family fun. What more can you ask for from a box of wax paper?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.