Over time, beekeeping suits accumulate pollen, propolis, wax, dirt, and other substances. Regular cleaning will keep your protective clothing looking new. It also removes bee stings and pheromones which may encourage bees to sting.
This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to wash a beekeeping suit for best results. We also share some handy storage tips on keeping your protective clothing in top shape.
Beginners may also want to check out our article on what is a beekeeping suit.
To clean your beekeeping suit, you’ll need the following:
- A washing machine (if the jacket is washing machine compatible)
- Mild laundry detergent
- A bucket
- Warm water
- A soft-bristled brush
- A clothesline or hanger for drying
Steps for washing a beekeeping suit
Now that you have your materials ready let’s go through the step-by-step process of cleaning your beekeeping suit.
1. Empty the pockets
Take the time to empty all pockets in the garment before starting. Beekeeping tools and items like small pads, coins, and pens are a final resting place for suit jackets.
2. Take off the veil
Remove the detachable veil and set it aside for cleaning. It must be hand washed in most cases as the delicate fabric easily rips. Follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer.
3. Remove stains
Before washing your beekeeping suit, remove any stains or spots on the fabric. Gently scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush and warm water.
A stain remover does an excellent job of removing ground in mud and other unwanted gunk. White vinegar or lemon juice are also both helpful stain removers.
4. Close all the zips
Check that all the zips are closed, and fasten any buttons or closures. This step helps prevent potential damage to the suit.
5. Wash the suit
If your beekeeping suit is suitable for washing machines, follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Washing bee suit jackets on a gentle cycle using cold water and mild laundry detergent is best. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as these can damage the fabric and reduce the effectiveness of your suit.
Once the washing cycle is complete, remove the beekeeping suit from the machine and hang it to dry. Never machine dry, as this can damage the fabric.
How to wash a beekeeping veil
If your beekeeping suit has a detachable veil, follow these washing instructions:
- Hand wash in cold water using a mild laundry detergent.
- Gently scrub the material with a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Hang the veil out to dry.
Did you know: You can get 26 beekeeper suit tips here. They’ll help you get the best out of it.
How to wash leather beekeeping gloves
Take extra care when washing leather beekeeper’s gloves. Do not use a washing machine or dryer to clean your leather beekeeping gloves.
Follow these instructions to give them a proper wash without damage:
- Fill a bucket with warm water and mild laundry detergent.
- Dip a soft-bristled brush into the soapy water and gently scrub the gloves.
- Rinse the gloves thoroughly with cold water.
- Hang the gloves to dry in the shade.
Dos and don’ts when cleaning beekeeping suits
To ensure that your beekeeping suit remains in top, damage-free condition, follow this advice when cleaning it:
- Inspect your suit often to check for wear and tear.
- Use mild laundry detergent or natural cleansing agents.
- Remove any stains or spots on the garment before washing.
- Hang the suit to dry in the shade, away from harsh sunlight.
- Replace any damaged or worn-out parts, such as zippers.
- Use bleach or fabric softener when washing your suit.
- Use a washing machine or dryer to dry your protective clothing.
- Wash your beekeeping veil or leather gloves in the washing machine or dryer.
Don’t want a beekeeping suit? Well, we hope you’re a confident beekeeper. If so, check out our bee suit alternatives here.
Commonly asked questions
How do I properly store a beekeeping suit?
It is best to store a bee suit or jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Hang it on a hanger to prevent creases and wrinkles. If you leave it in the shed, keep the suit in a sealed container or bag to protect it from dust and debris.
Why do I need to wash a beekeeping suit?
Washing a bee suit frequently will keep it looking and smelling its best. More importantly, a thorough clean will remove the built-up pheromones and bee venom, which can trigger aggressive bees the next time you visit the hive.
How often should I wash a bee suit?
The frequency of washing a beekeeping suit depends on how often you use it and how dirty it gets. As a rule, wash bee suits at least once a week. This will prevent the excessive buildup of pheromones, bee stings, bee resources, and dirt.
How do I get mildew out of a bee suit?
If your beekeeping suit has developed mildew, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bucket, then gently scrub the affected area with a soft brush. Rinse the area thoroughly with cold water, then hang the suit to dry in a shady spot.
Can I wash my bee suit in the washing machine?
Most beekeeping suits are machine compatible, but it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing them in a machine. If your suit is machine washable, follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Keeping your beekeeping suit clean and well-maintained is easy and well worth the effort. It will ensure your gear remains in good condition and provides long-term protection.
Inspect your suit regularly and clean it weekly if you use it daily. Proper storage will also help ensure its longevity.
With proper care, your beekeeping suit can last for many seasons and help you safely enjoy the benefits of beekeeping.