Cleaning the Flow frames

Im interested to know that over time with the buildup of propolis etc on the frames if the plastic has been designed to withstand hot water washing/cleaning. I imagine them to be fairly delicate in construction and in order to melt the wax/propolis etc off they could warp…


Check out
There’s lot’s of information on there about cleaning the Flow Frames.

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Since the flow frame can be disassembled, has anyone considered (especially if concerned about disease) taking them apart into their individual pieces and simply putting them in a net bag and running them through a dish washer on delicate china cycle?

When I got my flow hive one came broken so I contacted flow to send me a replacement. It gave me the opportunity and learning experience to take one apart by removing the stainless steel bands. It was quite simple and easy to take one apart and assemble it again.

Just a thought? Anyone at Flow know how the plastic sheets would handle a wash? This might be a great topic.


It has been discussed at some length already. :blush:

The Flow frames are made of plastic which can be heated to 70C without damage. Whether that is safe in your dishwasher is going to depend on your local hot water temperature, the cycle you select, and also whether you have a hot air drying cycle. Personally, I will not risk $500 of Flow frames in the dishwasher.


I just cleaned mine out and it was easy! I had a wax moth get into mine after the season was over. The flow frames cleaned very very easily. :smiley:

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That is good to hear :slight_smile: What techniques did you use to clean your Flow Frames?

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I have a deep sink in my garage and I used hot water and rinsed them off. It was no grand gesture on my part because I could not rinse off the propolis but it got the dead moth larvae and gnats out of it beautifully. It was also interesting to feel how much water they held. I guess I’ll see how the bees take to it. :smiley: I hope they do!


Okay, thanks for sharing :slight_smile: I don’t think propolis will be a problem, as it is antibacterial, etc.


I filled my sink with hot water and set the frame into it for my overly propolised frame. When the propolis warmed up and became pliable I just took the keys and opened and shut the frame repeatedly until some of the propolis broke up and I could scrape some off.


Hey Flow Hive beekeepers. I am buying my first Flow Hive next month, then plan on ordering another a year later–love the concept. Yet, one single issue has come to may attention on youtube with a lot of Flow Hive owners, and its HOW TO CLEAN THE FLOW HIVE FRAMES??? Frederick Dunn, a long time beekeeper and owner of many flow hives, says if you don’t wash you flow flower every year, after 4 or 5 years, they become near impossible. Yet the Flow team says if you keep them in the hive all year it won’t be a problem. Yet I won’t leave them on for winter because I’m afraid the queen will lay in them. I did watch on video where a lady explain the only way to return them to like new, is to take them apart and scrub them with a soft brush in 160F hot water. Then reassemble. I know, and real bitch, but unless you have the money to just order new ones, this is as of right now, the best solution I have found. I pray the Flow Hive team will come up with something by the time I own my first hive. Excited, yet now for the flow frame cleaning. haha. Wishing everyone the best.

They are in a very different climate from yours. You’ll need to remove yours for winter, but not because the queen might lay in them. I don’t know about the part about them being unusable after a few years, will have to wait for someone else to respond.

Reassembly really isn’t very hard. They only go together a certain way. But it’s not anything worse than tedious. I don’t know about the cleaning part, I just know that if you’re trying to see if your frames flex too much and you bend them they will fall apart all over your floor. :rofl:


Hi Brad,

If you plan on removing the Flow Frames every winter, you can clean them in warm soapy water to remove any honey residue. Ensure they’re dry before storing them in a cool/dark place.

If you need to remove grime, propolis or wax from your Flow Frames, see the Flow Frame sterilization section of this FAQ page for different treatments.

However, this isn’t essentially necessary and I believe if you stay on top of washing your frames annually pre-winter, you will avoid any stubborn build up of propolis or grime that could potentially be problematic.

Remember that bees do a great job at maintaining the hive as they like, moving wax and propolis around continuously.


I was going off what others where teaching me about the Frames, and thought it was super complicate. Yet I saw the video and assembly is not that bad. So your right. Will winter weather hurt the flow frames? I thought I did not want to leave them on for winter only because the queen would more than likely lay in them. I started this conversation because there are quite a few youtube beekeepers complaining about how after 4 or more years of use, they become un-cleanable. This is frustrating for me to hear being I’m about to order my first flow hive. Thats the only point I was trying to make. It seems to me that they only way to clean them is to take them apart and scrub each piece with 160F water and baking soda. Do you have any other ideas. Grateful.

This is EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!!! Thank you. Noone seemed to have any suggestion and I searched for an hour trying to find this page and couldn’t. This is all I needed. Problem Solved. Grateful to everyone for helping out. I’ll pass this page along now to anyone asking about cleaning the frames. Blessings. to you


The case of queens laying in flow cell appears to be few and far in between.

Flow recommend using a queen excluder to avoid.

Though if a young queen gets through our there is a gap in the excluder… cleaning the cacoons out of the frames don’t look like fun…


My bees swarmed two months ago. Over the last four days I have dismantled the flohive. I found webs and grubs in the brood box and I have submerged the brood box frames in boiling water. A very messy job.
The floframes, a lot wax and rubbish found in them to. If dipped in hot water the wax melts and when withdrawn from from the hot water the wax sets and binds up the separating mechanism. There is also a brown flakey material that floats out of the cells and very difficult to remove. There is also wax and debris in the collection channel.
I’m almost at the point of giving up.
Since I have removed most of the debris from the floframes and I instal a new neuc is it possible the bees will clean the remain debris up?

I believe you may mean absconded, which means the entire colony left? I’m sorry to hear if so.

I understand what you mean by the wax debris catching on the frames as you pull them out of the water. Perhaps you could try collecting the debris that rises to the water to avoid it catching on the frame as you pull it out?

You shouldn’t worry to much about removing everything as all that is in there is likely a bee product already. If you notice any sign of pest/disease, this is a different story (although this is usually found in the brood box).

After you’ve soaked the frames in hot water, you could try rinsing them under a tap or hose afterwards. I could recommend opening and resetting the frames a few times too before storing them away in a dry and dark place until it’s time to use them again.

Yes, when you return the Flow Frames to a hive, the bees will do as they please with them and clean up the mess.

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Longer term flow frame users I talk to who face the problem of needing to remove wax, propolis, etc use warm water through a pressure cleaner. They place the flow frame against a solid back and then use the pressure cleaner. They report very good success with this method. I’ve not had to do this after 4 or so years but will if I have to.

Also heed @busso warning and don’t place them in a warm dishwasher to clean…


Hi to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I have a simple question - here is maybe not the right thread but going to ask anyway - my bees swarmed and I decided there was too much space, so have drained all the honey from my flow frames with the intent to remove it until their numbers are stronger - how long does it take the bees to clean up the super before I can take it off? A few hours? A day? 3? It was pretty full of honey (I guess minus what the swarm took :roll_eyes:).

To avoid suiting up etc. multiple times, I want to make sure they’ve taken all/most of the honey before I attempt to take it off, but not leave it so long they might start putting honey in it again.