Beekeeping Supplies,  Honey

How to Clean a Honey Extractor

Now that you learned how to use a honey extractor, the next step is cleaning and maintaining it.  Buying a honey extractor can be a bit of an investment, so I’m sure you want to take good care of it.  A properly maintained honey extractor can last for years.  

After harvesting honey you will see that your extractor has a lot of sticky residue all over it’s sides.  It is important to clean this residue so your honey extractor can work properly next time. Read on to learn how to clean a honey extractor. 

How to Clean a Honey Extractor

Removing the residual honey can be a bit messy and difficult. Some people say to leave the extractor outside for the bees to clean, but that is not actually recommended.  Doing so can cause a feeding frenzy and the spread of disease. 

Remove Residual Honey

One way to remove the honey is to scrape it by hand.  For this you will need a flexible silicone spatula.  Using the spatula, simply scrape all inside surfaces of the extractor until the honey is removed.  This method can be quite messy though, so you may want to try another way. 

Make sure the honey gate is securely closed.  Then, tip the honey extractor up at a steep angle so the residual honey will run towards the gate.  Leave the extractor in this position overnight.  If possible, turn up the heating in the room.  

Check the extractor in the morning. You will see that most of the residual honey has now gathered towards the honey gate. Drain the honey and keep it for later consumption.  This honey will have a different consistency than your harvested honey, but it still tastes good. 

Clean Leftover Wax and Propolis

Now with most of the sticky residue gone, you must clean up the leftover wax and propolis in the extractor.  Level the honey extractor and close the honey gate.  Then fill it with cold or cool water.  Do not use hot water, as it will melt the wax and make it harder to clean.  Leave the water in the extractor overnight. 

The next day, drain the water out of the extractor.  Using cold water, give the extractor a good rinse.  Use a clean towel to wipe up anything left inside. 

Dry and Store

Use a hair dryer to dry the extractor, or allow it to air dry.  When not in use, store your honey extractor in a clean, dry area.  

Honey Extractor Maintenance 

Proper maintenance of your honey extractor can add years to it’s life.  Honey should be drained after spinning each set of frames.  This is because the extractor may have difficulty spinning if it is filled with too much honey.  

Clean and wipe down the extractor before use.  After harvesting honey, thoroughly clean the extractor using the above methods. 

The bearings and gearbox should always be protected and kept away from water.  The gearbox typically does not require any additional lubrication. Therefore, adding extra oil or grease is not recommended.  

The honey gate should be cleaned and kept in good working order at all times.  Thoroughly clean the honey gate after every use and inspect the pivot screw to see that it is working properly. 

Store your honey extractor in a safe, clean, and dry area when it is not in use.  Knowing how to maintain and clean a honey extractor is the key to ensuring it works for a long time. 


Cleaning and maintaining a honey extractor is important because it allows the extractor to work for a long time. An extractor that is well taken care of can be expected to last for many years.