How to Make and Use Beeswax Wood Furniture Polish
This post may contain affiliate links and/or advertisements, which means that Homestead How-To earns advertising fees or commissions if you click on a link or make a purchase. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn commission on qualified purchases. Visit our affiliate disclosure page to learn more. The views expressed by authors on this site are based on their experiences only; Homestead-How To in no way provides any warranty, expressed or implied, toward the content of these articles. Please use at your own risk.
Beeswax furniture polish is a safe, natural, and effective way to bring new life to wood furniture. You can use beeswax polish to treat finished furniture, to clean up damaged pieces, or as a stand-alone finish on new woodworking projects. It is also great for cutting boards! Making your own beeswax furniture polish is easy to do at home with this simple recipe and method. This article goes over how to make beeswax furniture polish, and also provides instructions for how to use it, especially when refinishing damaged pieces of furniture.
This article was updated in 2022 to offer an all-natural alternative to the traditional recipe.
Ingredients for Beeswax Furniture Polish
Beeswax is used in a number of home products because it offers a protective layer on your wood without any build-up or nasty chemicals. We also make beeswax leather conditioner with our wax, for example. You can use any type of beeswax for this recipe, but I love to use yellow beeswax from reputable sellers or our own hives. This way, we know that the wax has not been treated with chemicals (which can stay in the wax over time). I also love that the yellow wax adds just a little bit of color to the final product. You can source beeswax from beekeepers on etsy, or you can purchase high-quality beeswax online.
Our recipe for beeswax furniture polish uses just two ingredients – beeswax and conditioning oil.
Conditioning oil helps restore moisture to “thirsty” wood, and also adds just a little bit of shine. For the oil in this recipe, you have two choices – you can use the traditional mineral oil, or you can use fractionated coconut oil. Mineral oil has long been the go-to option for wood conditioning and it works quite well. However, mineral oil is a petroleum-based product, and some folks don’t like using it. If you are looking for an all-natural alternative to mineral oil, fractionated coconut oil is a great option. Fractionated coconut oil has been treated to retain its liquid form and has been shown to be safe for your skin (in fact, is is used in a lot of cosmetic recipes). It is also food-save, and does not turn rancid like some vegetable oils would over time. This makes it a great choice for cutting boards. It is more expensive, but if you are just making a small amount you can get a smaller bottle. We tested fractionated coconut oil carefully before adding it to the beeswax furniture polish that we sell on etsy and we (and our customers) have been pleased with the result. No matter what you choose, the oil needs to be food-save (or food grade).
How to Make Beeswax Furniture Polish
After choosing your recipe, you’ll need just a few supplies and less than an hour to make your own beeswax furniture polish at home. This recipe makes approximately 8 ounces of finished polish.
While there are a variety of methods and proportions for making beeswax furniture polish, I chose to keep it to 2 simple ingredients and a very simple ratio of one part beeswax to three parts conditioning oil.
- ¼ Cup Beeswax (2oz by weight or liquid measurement)
- ¾ Cup Mineral Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil (6oz by liquid measurement)
You can also add lemon, lavender, or other scents to furniture polish. I love the natural and subtle smell that the beeswax provides, but we sell lavender furniture polish in our etsy shop and people seem to like the calming aromatherapy scent it offers! To infuse lavender into the polish, you can either infuse your oil first using this warm infusion method, or just add 1-2 drops of essential oil when making the polish.
To bring the furniture polish together you’ll need just a few pieces of equipment:
- A double boiler that you don’t mind using for wax (or a bottom pan plus a mixing bowl that fits into it);
- A wooden skewar for stirring (or a spoon you don’t mind using for wax);
- A container for your finished product (a 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jar or an 8oz tin with a lid).
Please note that it can be a little bit tricky to remove beeswax from the pots and pans you use to melt it down. Consider getting some beeswax equipment at a thrift store that you will dedicate to that purpose. But, if you’re careful to not spill too much, this polish can be cleaned out of your everyday tools.
To make the beeswax furniture polish:
Place about an inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler, and place either the top pan or a heat-safe mixing bowl on top. Add your beeswax to the top bowl and allow it to melt, stirring every now and then (I like to use a wooden skewar to stir so that I don’t get pure wax on my spoons).
While still warm,Add the mineral oil or fractionated coconut oil and gently stir until it has come together.
Once the beeswax furniture polish is fully melted and combined, pour the hot liquid into a container for storage (you can use a ½ pint wide mouth jar so it would be easy to access the polish, or you can purchase or recycle a metal tin like those you would use for candles).
Allow the polish to cool until it has reached a semi solid state (about 3-4 hours). It may be a fairly firm polish that you’ll need to scrape out to use, but that is not a problem. It stores well and spreads easily when warmed up.
How to Refinish Furniture with Beeswax Furniture Polish
Beeswax furniture polish can be used in a variety of ways – to keep regular wood furniture looking good, or as the finishing touch on your woodworking project you simply apply, let it rub in, and buff.
However, you can also use this beeswax furniture polish to refinish furniture that needs attention. In our case, we were using the polish to bring an old piece of furniture back to life without heavy sanding or refinishing. This requires a fe extra steps to make the post of the final polish coat.
Here is the processed we used on our old bureau:
Step 1: Clean the Wood
If you are truly refinishing furniture using beeswax polish, you’ll want to do a thorough cleaning before polishing. Here you have a couple of options.
If you are removing paint or a lot of build-up, we recommend an all natural paint remover like Citristrip. This all-natural citrus based cleaner is applied to wood and allowed to rest, then helps to peel off old paint to take it down to natural wood. You may have to apply a few times to remove all of the paint.
If you are not trying to remove anything, but want to clean the wood thoroughly, you can use paint thinner on a soft, clean cloth to clean the surface of your wood. This will help to remove any old waxy build up as well as any dirt. Use long strokes that follow the grain of the wood, especially on top. We also used a tooth brush to clean inside of the groves on our bureau. Be sure to wear gloves and to do this in a well-ventilated area (or outside). You won’t be bothered by the fumes of the paint thinner.
Step 2: Dry the Wood
After cleaning, allow the wood to dry completely (2-3 hours) – hint, this is a great time to actually make your beeswax furniture polish!
Step 3: Apply Beeswax Furniture Polish
Apply the beewax furniture polish using a clean, dry cloth – one that will not leave fuzz on your surface. We used old napkins that had been washed). To apply, scoop up a bit of polish on your cloth then rub into the surface of the wood using circular motion. Be sure to cover the entire surface.
Once you have applied fully, go back over the polish with long swipes along the grain of the wood. Clean up any immediate excess polish and smooth out the surface.
Step 4: Allow Beeswax Furniture Polish to Absorb
Allow the polish to sink into the wood for about 15 minutes.
Step 5: Buff the Wood
Buff the polish by going over it again with a fresh clean cloth to remove excess greasiness. Again, follow the grain of the wood as much as possible and clean any wax built up in nooks and crannies.
Step 6: All the Beeswax Furniture Polish to Cure
Allow the wax to fully cure in a warmish room for 12-24 hours before moving.
Step 7: Admire your Finished Product!
Step back and admire your beautiful piece!
Check out these before and after pictures to see the results when using beeswax furniture polish after cleaning an old piece of wood furniture.
PS – Beeswax Furniture Polish also makes a nice gift 😊
What else can you make with Beeswax?
There are so many wonderful things you can make with beeswax. Personal care products take advantage of the health benefits of beeswax for your skin. Home products use the protective benefits of beeswax for leather and wood. And beeswax candles are healthier to burn in your home!
Try some of these products yourself!