How to Use Beeswax on Wood – The Complete Guide to Making and Applying Natural Polish

Promotional image by Harry Rufus on using beeswax on wood, featuring beeswax blocks, a wooden cutting board, jars of beeswax polish, oil, and a person applying beeswax to wood.

Beeswax wood polish is a natural and eco-friendly method of preserving and enriching wooden furniture. By applying beeswax polish to bare wood, you can create a gentle and chemical-free protective layer that enhances the natural beauty of the wood grain. This traditional wax, made from honey bees, offers numerous benefits compared to many commercial finishes.

Pure beeswax furniture polish is versatile and can be used on various types of wood, including oak, pine, teak, and walnut. It gives a warm glow and protects against dust, stains, and moisture on wooden furniture and projects.

Beeswax polish can be food safe and contain no harmful chemicals. It’s great for finishing wood that will come in contact with food and brings new life to antiques or worn furniture. You can make homemade furniture polish with just beeswax, oil, and a cloth.

Applying beeswax polish to wood can enhance its look and prolong its life. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about making and using beeswax wood polish to protect and beautify furniture.

Understanding Beeswax Furniture Polish and Its Benefits for Wood

bee secreting

Beeswax is a type of wax that is produced naturally by honey bees. The bees secrete it from special glands located on their abdomens and use it to construct the honeycomb. Humans have been using beeswax for centuries in various products such as candles, cosmetics, and for preserving wooden furniture. It is an excellent choice for polishing and protecting wooden surfaces.

Beeswax seals and preserves wood in a non-toxic way. It creates a flexible moisture barrier, reducing cracks and inhibiting warping or swelling. It also fills in pores, creating a smooth surface that doesn’t collect dust or dirt.

When you apply beeswax polish, it brings out the natural beauty of wood. It enriches the colour and adds a soft shine while allowing the texture and grain to show through. Unlike some synthetic finishes, the wax is transparent and won’t obscure the surface. Plus, it doesn’t contain any VOCs that can produce unpleasant odours.

beeswax polish

Beeswax protects wood from stains and spills and is antimicrobial. It stays flexible, so it doesn’t crack or chip with temperature and humidity changes.

With just a simple mixture of melted beeswax and oil, you can create a homemade polish that protects, preserves, and beautifies wooden furniture and other objects. Beeswax’s moisture resistance and subtle sheen make it an ideal choice for finishing cutting boards, tables, chairs, cabinets, and more.

Preparing to Make Beeswax Polish

Choosing the Right Materials

When making beeswax polish, it is important to select high quality ingredients. The main component is pure, refined beeswax. Opt for refined over raw beeswax, which may contain impurities that can scratch surfaces. Verify the wax is food-grade if you plan to use the polish on cutting boards or utensils.

Choosing compatible oils is also essential for creating an effective blend. The oil carries the wax into the wood grain and provides moisture resistance. Common options include jojoba, olive, coconut, walnut, or mineral oils. Jojoba oil offers stability and longevity. Coconut oil provides flexibility and absorption. Experiment to find your ideal oil or mixture.

Some recipes also incorporate turpentine, which helps soften the beeswax for blending. The turpentine allows the wax to penetrate deeper into pores for enhanced protection. However, this means the polish is not food-safe and should only be applied to non-culinary items.

Selecting high purity beeswax and oils tailored to your project will help maximize the durability, enrich the feel, and enhance the natural beauty achieved with beeswax wood polish.

Understanding Wax and Oil Ratios

The ratio of beeswax to oil is central to creating an effective wood polish. Finding the right balance will determine the hardness, absorption, and other properties of the final product.

Typically a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio of beeswax to oil is used. With more wax, the polish will be thicker and harder. This provides greater water resistance and durability. However, too high a ratio can result in a polish that is difficult to apply and buff properly.

Conversely, more oil gives a softer consistency that penetrates deeper into the wood. But it may not offer as much protective barrier on the surface. Oils also vary in viscosity, which affects the ideal ratio. Lighter oils like mineral oil may use more beeswax compared to thicker oils like coconut.

The climate is another factor to consider when blending beeswax polish. Warmer weather calls for more wax to prevent the polish from melting. In cooler climates, additional oil can help the wax remain flexible to avoid brittleness.

For softer woods like pine that absorb more oil, a higher concentration of beeswax is recommended. For dense hardwoods like maple, a lower ratio with more oil allows for better penetration. Testing polish ratios on scrap wood can help determine the right proportions.

With trial and error, you can fine-tune the beeswax to oil ratio to create a homemade furniture polish or finish perfectly tailored for your climate and wood projects. Adjusting the amounts in the simple mixture gives you control over the final product’s hardness, absorption, and longevity.

Making Beeswax Polish: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making your own beeswax polish is a simple process that requires just a few ingredients and steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Melting the Beeswax

melting the beeswax

Beeswax is a flammable substance with a melting point between 60-65°C (140-150°F). Direct heating can cause it to burn, and hence, it is important to use a safe melting method. The safest way to melt beeswax is by using a slow cooker or crockpot. This method allows gradual and even heating. If they’re not available, then a double boiler can be used as the next best option. To use a double boiler, place the beeswax in the top pan and heat the water in the bottom pan until it simmers. Failing that, melting beeswax in a microwave on a very low setting can be a last resort.

Whichever method you choose, it is important to ensure that the wax is fully melted before removing it from the heat source.

Mixing the Oils

While the wax melts, prepare your oil or mixture of oils. Olive, jojoba, coconut, and mineral oils are common choices. If including turpentine for extra softening, combine it with the oils when they are at room temperature. Mix the oils thoroughly before blending with the melted wax.

Combining Wax and Oils

Once both components are ready, slowly pour the beeswax into the oils, stirring continuously. Maintain the mixture at a 1:2 to 1:3 wax-to-oil ratio based on climate and wood type. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined.

Adding Essential Oils (Optional)

At this point, you can optionally add a few drops of essential oils like lemon or lavender for a pleasant, mild fragrance. Stir them in fully to incorporate the scent.

Cooling and Storing

After making the polish mixture, let it cool down completely. While it cools, stir it occasionally. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight glass container for storage.

Your homemade beeswax furniture polish is now ready to use!

Following this simple process will allow you to create a natural wood protectant customised to your needs. Don’t overheat the wax, and use exact measurements for the ideal consistency.

How to Use Beeswax on Wood – Applying Beeswax Effectively

Preparing the Wood Surface

How to Use Beeswax on Wood

To achieve the best results when applying beeswax polish, it is crucial to begin with a clean, dry wooden surface. Any dirt, dust, grease, or excess oils that may be present on the wood can hinder the wax from penetrating properly into the grain. To remove any debris, use a damp cloth to wipe down the bare wood. Make sure the surface is completely dry before proceeding.

Before applying beeswax polish to your wood furniture, it’s recommended to perform a test patch first. To do this, apply a thin layer of the polish in an area that is not easily visible, such as the underside or backside of the furniture. Wait until it dries completely and check for any adverse reactions with the wood type or finish. If there are no issues, you can then proceed to polish the rest of the surface.

Application Techniques

After preparing the wood surface, gently and sparingly apply the beeswax polish along the grain pattern using a soft cloth or 000-grade steel wool.

Dip the cloth or steel wool in the wax. Then, lightly rub it onto the wood in thin, even strokes, following the direction of the grain to minimize any swirling or cross-scratching on the surface.

Apply a thin layer of wax on the surface and let it dry for 15-20 minutes. After that, take a clean and dry cloth to buff the surface well. This will help the wax to absorb completely and remove any excess that might be sitting on top of the wood.

For extra protection and shine, apply additional layers by repeating the process of applying a thin coat, letting it dry, and buffing. Each round will enhance the depth of penetration and luster.

For most projects, it is ideal to use 2-4 layers. After the final coat, make sure to gently buff it to remove any remaining residue and maximize the shine. Beeswax is a great option for an enduring, flexible seal that enhances the wood’s natural color and texture.

To achieve smooth and even results, apply the polish with patience and in the direction of the wood grain. Buffing between layers is also essential for the best outcome. The beeswax will penetrate the grain while any excess polish will be removed during the process. This will leave a durable and subtle sheen that highlights the natural beauty of the wood.

Caring for and Maintaining Beeswax-Finished Surfaces

Storage and Shelf Life of Beeswax Polish

bees wax polish

To ensure that your homemade beeswax polish remains fresh and effective, it’s important to store it properly. You should keep the polish in an airtight glass or metal container, as plastic containers may allow the wax to absorb chemical odors over time. To help extend the shelf life of the polish, store it in a cool and dark place.

The longevity of the polish depends on the types of oils used in the recipe. Oil-based products will eventually go rancid with age. General guidelines for shelf life are:

  • Olive oil – 12 to 18 months
  • Coconut oil – 24 months
  • Jojoba oil – Up to 5 years

If you intend to make a large batch of polish that you plan to keep for an extended period, then Jojoba is the most stable option. However, it is important to monitor the polish over time. If you notice that it has developed a waxy or crayon-like smell, then it may have gone bad. In such cases, it is best to discard it and prepare a fresh batch when needed.


Beeswax wood polish is a classic and natural choice for enhancing and safeguarding wooden furniture, cutting boards, and other wooden items. This traditional finish, made from honeybee wax, has been used for centuries to accentuate the natural beauty of wood grains while also providing a sturdy and chemical-free barrier.

Beeswax protects wood from moisture, bacterial growth, warping and swelling. It penetrates the wood grain without forming a surface layer, allowing it to expand and contract without cracking.

Applying beeswax polish is a straightforward process accessible to any woodworking enthusiast. With just a few simple ingredients of beeswax, oil, and a cloth, you can create your own custom polish tailored for your specific climate and wood type. Using basic buffing techniques, the beeswax can be layered for a stunning, lasting finish.

Beyond its practical protective qualities, beeswax polishing offers environmental benefits. This non-toxic, all-natural wood finish avoids harsh solvents and VOC emissions found in some commercial options. Beeswax polish enables woodworkers to enhance their craft sustainably.

If you appreciate the look and feel of natural wood, consider beeswax polishing for your next project. Its rich, flexible shine and eco-friendly nature may make you a convert to this timeless wood finish.


Jonathan Gaze

Content Editor

Hello there! I’m Jonathan Gaze, Content Editor for Harry Rufus.

With my technical problem-solving skills and meticulous attention to detail, I present sustainable living advice clearly and understandably. I’ve developed a knack for filtering out the fluff, presenting you with only the most practical and reliable sustainable living guidelines.

Here’s what you can anticipate from my content:

  • Clear, reliable advice on sustainable living.
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I’m committed to making your transition to an eco-conscious lifestyle a breeze, turning challenges into opportunities.

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