How to Make Natural Beeswax Furniture Polish (Three Recipes)

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Three flexible recipes for all-natural beeswax wood polish. One is a simple two-ingredient food-safe recipe that you can use to give shine to wooden kitchen implements and dishes. The second is a natural beeswax furniture polish recipe that protects wood and gives a soft glow to tables, cabinets, and other wooden furniture. The last recipe is a traditional one that beekeepers make.

Wooden furniture is the anchoring design theme throughout our home. We have a solid oak dining table and chairs, an oak sideboard, and other misc wooden pieces peppered throughout each room. I even have wood kitchen bowls, spoons, cutting boards, and ornaments I’ve picked up at various places. Wood is such a timeless and natural material, and modern composite furniture does not have the same soul and aesthetic. It does need extra care, though, especially with regular polishing. Polishing wood keeps pieces looking their best and protects them from the ravages of time and use.

Wood polish fulfills a few purposes, and the main ones are to condition the wood and stop it from cracking. It also helps waterproof the surface and gives a beautiful finish and shine. As you set plates on tables and use cutting boards, some of the polish comes off, and buffing wooden items up every six months or so is essential if you want it to last. While you can easily buy beeswax wood furniture polish, I never do. Decent stuff is usually expensive, and I need a lot to polish everything in the house. The good news is that homemade wood polish is simple and inexpensive to make. You also get to choose the ingredients you want to ensure that they’re allergen-free for your family and align with your ethos.

Wood Furniture Polish Ingredients

Two of the recipes below are pretty flexible with ingredients, and you can make them vegan if you wish or choose to use other long-lasting oils. I want to introduce you to the most common oils and waxes used in furniture polish so you can understand what they do. Another thing to consider when making homemade furniture polish is to choose liquid oils that last a long time. Many vegetable oils go rancid over time and can smell terrible – from a slightly musty scent to pungent oil paints.

Beeswax adds sheen while protecting wood from moisture and wear.

Waxes

  • Beeswax is a medium-hard wax created by bees that adds a protective, water-resistant coating to wood and a mellow glow. I harvest it from my own hives, but you can buy it easily enough. Keep in mind that it is vegetarian but not vegan. A vegan alternative would be candelilla wax, rice bran wax, or coconut wax. Paraffin wax is another idea, but it’s not a natural ingredient.
  • Carnauba wax is a very hard palm tree wax with properties similar to beeswax in furniture polish recipes. It gives a hard, glossy shine to wood.
How to make an all-natural Beeswax Furniture Polish using just two ingredients. It smells of sweet honey and is easily massaged into wooden furniture, ornaments, and kitchenware #cleaning
A simple and creamy furniture wax made with beeswax and olive oil.

Oils for Wood Polish

  • Mineral oil is prevalent in furniture polishes because it can condition wood very well, enhancing its color, and it doesn’t go rancid. Mineral oil is a by-product of the petroleum industry and is not a natural ingredient.
  • Linseed oil, also called flaxseed oil, is a seed oil that deeply conditions wood with a beautiful satin finish. It dries very slowly, taking weeks even, which is why it’s often mixed with other ingredients. Boiled linseed oil is treated with air and drying agents so that it dries much quicker. This extra treatment means that it’s not a natural ingredient, though.
  • Other nut and vegetable oils are typical in homemade beeswax furniture polish recipes. However, some can stain, and each type will have a different shelf-life, with some going rancid in under a year. Though olive oil is common and conditions wood well without staining, a better option is fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Some of the ingredients commonly used in wood furniture polish.

Other Ingredients Used in Wood Polish

  • Turpentine, or turps, is an essential oil made by distilling pine tree resin. It’s a natural ingredient with a clean, woodsy scent, but its primary purpose is as a solvent to dissolve beeswax so that it can penetrate the wood grain. It is not a food-safe ingredient.
  • Soap flakes polish wood without tinting the wood yellow or giving it any shine. It helps keep wood polish from discoloring and mattes down the finish.
  • Essential oils are non-greasy, volatile plant chemicals mainly added to some recipes to scent the polish. Lavender oil is common, as is lemon oil, but also keep in mind that turpentine is also an essential oil. If turpentine is used in a recipe, it has its own scent that cannot be masked by other essential oils.
Massage the polish in the direction of the wood grain.

Beeswax Furniture Polish Instructions

Once you’ve sourced or made beeswax polish, how do you use it? The general technique is to use a clean cloth or paper towel to rub a small amount into the wood. Then, allow the polish to soak in for several minutes before taking another clean cloth or paper towel and using it to buff the surface to a shine in a circular motion.

Beeswax Furniture Polish Recipe

4 TBSP Beeswax pellets (35 g) or a vegan alternative
1 TBSP Linseed oil (15 g) or fractionated coconut oil
4 TBSP pure Turpentine (60 ml/50 g)

A video showing how to make Beeswax Furniture Polish

This medium-firm furniture polish gives a beautiful and durable glow to wood. It’s suitable for most wood furniture and woodwork and has a waxier feeling. Because it includes turpentine, it is not food-safe, and you should only use it for ornamental surfaces. To make it, melt the beeswax and oil together on moderate heat in an old stainless-steel pan using the double boiler method. When entirely melted, pour the turpentine in and stir well until the mixture liquefies again. Pour it into a metal tin or jar, and it will last indefinitely. This recipe makes a little more than 3.4 oz (100 ml) and can be scaled up to create more. Apply this product with a rag.

Food Safe Beeswax Wood Polish Recipe

1.5 TBSP Beeswax pellets (12 g) or a vegan alternative
1/3 cup Fractionated (liquid) coconut oil (75 ml/70 g) or olive oil

An olive wood spoon polished with food-grade polish.

This creamy wood polish recipe includes only two ingredients and has a shelf life of up to three years. To make it, melt the beeswax and oil together in a pot using the double boiler method. When completely melted, stir and pour into a tin or jar. Allow to cool and harden. This high gloss wood polish recipe yields 3.4 oz (100 ml), and though you can use it as a general-purpose polish, but it’s especially safe for items used in food preparation or that children or pets might come into contact with. Wooden spoons, cutting boards, wooden toys, etc. It’s creamy enough that you can use your fingers to scoop it up and rub it in. This recipe is oilier than the others, and you’ll likely need to remove the excess polish with a paper towel before buffing.

Beekeeper’s Beeswax Furniture Polish Recipe

9 oz Beeswax (255 g)
2.4 cups pure Turpentine (568 ml)
1 oz Carnaunba wax (28 g)

Beeswax helps repel water from wooden surfaces.

My local beekeeping association shares this beeswax furniture polish recipe each year. It’s a much higher yield at about eight 3.4 oz (100 ml) jars, but you could easily scale it down if you want to make just a jar or two. This hard wax is best used for giving a medium-glossy sheen to wood furniture and should be applied with a rag. To make it, melt the waxes together in an old stainless-steel pan using the double boiler method. When fully melted, pour in the turpentine and stir until the mixture is completely liquid again. Pour into suitable containers, such as metal tins or glass jars.

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91 Comments

  1. Jean Newsome says:

    Hi. Tanya,
    I have a glut of polish. (got carried away) Do you have any ideas to for me to re-melt it and use for something else,

    1. Hi Jean, as long as you didn’t add turpentine to it (or anything else that’s not skin safe), you can actually use this recipe on your skin. It makes a good body balm or lip balm but you could also use it to polish leather. Hope this helps :)

      1. Jean Newsome says:

        Thank you, Tanya,
        Yes it was helpful. No turpentine added. Just the time of year for plenty of lip balm. Love all your recipes.

      2. Hi Tanya;
        Thank you for sharing this, I like the idea and am going to try it out as an on beekeeping industry this is an opportunity.

        If I may ask, do you also teach on making body balms? Where can I find the recipe if available?
        What about lip balms that is softer?

        1. Hi Asela, if you use the search bar on my website, you’ll find both body balm and lip balm recipes.

  2. Thank you for this recipe. I made and used it some time ago and loved it. When it came time to make some more it took me a long time to find your page again. Persistence paid off and I have now saved your page and added it to my contacts in case I get a new computer again!!!

    1. I’m glad you found it and me again! So pleased that the beeswax furniture polish recipe has been a hit for you :) If you’d like to subscribe to the free newsletter, I send an email out every two weeks with ideas like this one.

  3. can this polish be used to polish and seal leather jackets ???

  4. Chris Burnett says:

    How can I make beeswax furniture polish without olive oil and adding an apple fragrance to it

    1. You could use another liquid oil for the olive oil but choose one that doesn’t go rancid quickly. As for apple fragrance oil, choose one that’s safe for skin (see previous link) and use about 10-20 drops in this recipe. Mix it in when the oils and wax are warm and melted.

  5. Can I put 30 drops of Vitamin E oil instead of 30 drops of grapeseed oil?9

    1. You can, but vitamin e isn’t as strong an antioxidant as grapefruit seed extract (not the same as grapeseed oil). There’s no point in putting vitamin e in this reicipe.

  6. I just wanted to let you know that I entered this polish in our local honey show. As soon as we came back in after judging, the show judge came over to me and asked what I’d put in it as he’d not recognised the smell. He said that he’d not been sure whether it would work or not, so they’d tried it and some of the other entries on the base of one of the trophies to see which came up best. Suffice it to say that the olive oil polish won first prize! So thank you for that :)

    1. Amazing! The funny thing about this recipe is that I created it in response to the polish recipe at my own local honey show. I didn’t want to use the turpentine or mineral oil it contained and so worked this simple recipe out. It’s similar to the skin salve recipes I share. What’s good for the skin can sometimes be good for nourishing wood :)

  7. Replacing the olive oil with grapeseed oil works perfectly and avoids the rancidity problem. The aroma of the grapeseed oil is also less intrusive than the olive oil.
    Maks an excellent lip balm as well as a wood and leather polish.

    1. I’m going to follow this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to advise.

    2. Thank you for this tip !

  8. Patricia Findlay says:

    Hi Tanya
    This is marvellous, been looking for a truly natural beeswax for ages! One question, do you leave the beeswax to set with the lids open, or do you close/seal them? Sorry if it’s a stupid question but this is my first time making polish!

    1. Hi Patricia and you leave the lids open. If you close them, condensation will form inside the lids and moisture might get into your beeswax furniture polish. Cool until hardened and at room temperature, then seal the pots with a lid :)

  9. Hi Tanya,
    I have organic beeswax candles. Can I use them for the wax in making the furniture polish?

    1. Hi Laura, and if the candles are 100% beeswax with no added ingredients, then yes you can :)

      1. Hi Tanya,
        The beeswax candles worked perfectly! And I accidentally (forgot to label and had it in the bathroom cupboard ?) used it on my arms which were very dry and itchy from a summer of camping without sunblock. My bad- won’t make that mistake again! Worked very well. Lol.

  10. Hi Tanya, I’m wondering which would work better – grapefruit seed oil or vitamin E oil as a preservative?

    1. Hi Helen, neither are preservatives but both are antioxidants. They help keep other oils from going rancid and are optional in this recipe. GSE is better in my opinion than vitamin e because it’s more consistent in strength. Vitamin e comes diluted in other oils and you should only use one that has 30,000 IU or greater if using it as an antioxidant.

  11. Tom Strickland says:

    can you use mineral oil with bees wax

    1. I don’t use mineral oil on wood so am unsure. This is a natural furniture polish recipe though, and mineral oil is not natural — it’s a petroleum product.

  12. Hi Tanya, I think I’ve seen the same kind of wood polish done with beeswax and linseed oil instead of olive oil? Is there a particular reason for using olive oil, especially as you say it can go rancid after a while?

    1. Linseed is fabulous oil for wood though so feel free to use it instead of olive oil. It works a little differently in protecting wood in that it soaks in more — it also leaves a shiny rather than glossy finish.

  13. Jonathan Gwilliams says:

    Nice. Mind you, I used only 100g of beeswax (£3.50) and two cups – a little under half a litre – of olive oil (£2) and it still produced about 500g of wax at a total cost of £5.50. For reference, 370g of Briwax costs £12.99, so proportionally that would be a street value (now I feel like a coke dealer…) of around £17.50 – so about one third of the price. I picked a lovely rich golden wax to work with and I think the results are more than comparable with the popular brand, plus since I know the source of both wax and olive oil, I can legitimately call it GM-free and organic. Would recommend to other woodworkers.

  14. vinh nhut says:

    Hi,
    I wonder if this wax can be used on leather of my salon. Please advice.

    1. I use it on the leather seats of my dining room chairs. It needs to be massaged in, left to set for a few hours, and the excess fully removed. No one wants an oily seat!

  15. Erma Bonilla says:

    Could this be used on toddler toys? I made a stocking toy for my grandson, and want to finish it with something like this. Also, Maybe a natural wood teether?

    1. If you make it with just the beeswax and olive oil then I think it would be fine.

  16. Suzy Thompson says:

    My daughter plays hockey and her hands get reallly dry. We love to use this recipe for dry skin. It works wonderful! Also, during commercial fishing it helps to keep the hands healthy.

  17. Amanda Celar says:

    Hi Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. We have kept bees for a couple of years now in the mountains of Serbia and are fortunate enough to be able to produce virgin honey (no chemicals within 12m radius) and first made some foot cream trying to help my eczema problem. U actually used fresh lard for this rather than olive oil because a neighbour gave me her recipe! Now I have made this wonderful polish and am thrilled with the results¬ Thanks again much appreciated from the foothills of the Valjevo Mountains in Serbia! By way my maiden name is Walton, from England !

  18. Jon Evans says:

    Hi there, thanks for sharing this!
    Just one question – would PUre Grapefruit Oil work, rather than Grapefruit Seed Extract Oil?
    Thanks!
    Jon

    1. Grapefruit oil is a scented essential oil and different from GSE. You can just leave the GSE out though if you don’t have it on hand.

  19. An obligation of appreciation is all together to share such an unprecedented information……..
    Keep updating your article like that, I am eagerly waiting for something like that more.Your article helps me a lot in making homemade furniture polish.Thanks a lot.

  20. Hi,

    How long will it last in a jar and where is the ideal place to keep it? Thank you in advance.

    1. It will keep until the closest best by date of the ingredients you use — probably the best by date of the olive oil. Look on the back of your own individual product. As for storing, keep it in the same cupboard as your other cleaning products.

  21. Can this be used over chalk paint?

    1. It’s probably best used on natural wood finishes — I’m unsure on how it would do over paint.

  22. Do you think it would work if I melted the beeswax in a slow cooker then added the olive oil & turned it off, instead of using the double boiler method?

    1. It depends on how hot your slow cooker gets. If it were set to low then it would probably work though. I’d put all the oils in together though rather than adding the olive oil after.

  23. Louise O'Connor says:

    Hi Tanya, I tried this polish and it is wonderful! I am about to make my second batch. I certainly didn’t have a problem with the oil becoming rancid because over the last 3 months I have used up the whole amount I made. This time, I am going to split it with a friend who has a wonderful wood beam mantel that will look stunning after a couple of coats. I do warm it slightly before using and also to release the essntial oils a little bit faster.

    1. I’m getting the scent of warm beeswax and essential oil just reading that — great idea Louise!

  24. Does grapefruit essential oil have the same anti-oxidant property as grapefruit seed extract? I used grapeseed instead of olive oil on my first batch but hubby used that batch up in a week and is asking for more, and I have plenty of olive oil, just no grapefruit seed extract or Vita E. Love this recipe!

    1. There are three different ingredients that you mention here: grapefruit essential oil, grapefruit seed extract, and grapeseed oil. All are very different! To answer your question, grapefruit E.O. doesn’t have the antioxidant properties as GFSE. It’s a fragrance rather than an antioxidant. Hope this helps.

  25. Richard Taylor says:

    Hi Tanya, I was wondering if you could give me some advice on the natural beeswax furniture polish. I have my own beeswax from our own hives which I’ve cleaned and filtered so it’s nice pale yellow wax now.
    I have followed your instructions and recipe to the letter and I’ve even doubled the amount of essential oils but the scent will just not come out. I really can’t understand it.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Richard, the amount of essential oil is very low in this recipe so that it doesn’t overpower the scent of the beeswax. However, you could use up to a full teaspoon of e.o. if you wish!

  26. Hi Tanya, what about Avocado Oil as an antioxidant additive

    1. Though it may have antioxidant properties that make it as an oil last longer, it won’t have much of an effect on other oils. Best to stick with the stronger anti-oxidants.

  27. Wood this work on raw pine wood paneling, and it would also be behind a woodstove……so would it melt?

    1. It would be fine for that purpose Maureen and would not melt since you’d wipe any excess polish off the wood.

  28. Hi Tanya after making my move to the country, well a tiny village (not a single store for 6km) I finally got to polishing my old old mahogany piano with ebony and ivory keys (shame..) , more than 100 yrs old and really it has seen some days. I do believe no-one has cared so much for it before me. I haven’t been as gentle since my sons were babies. Right now it’s curing, soaking up this wonderful non-toxic, all natural polish. I had the bees wax from my former supplier of honey, a pensioner beekeeper in my old town. I had the grapefruit seed extract, the olive oil and I put a couple of drops of lavender EO in it.
    I wish I could post before and after shots here. Of course you were right. The house is filled with old pieces of wooden knicks and knacks and I am still polishing ! :). The next most important item is the baby’s rattle which has been passed down from older son to younger and then to grandchild, who has grown now. It is ash tree and got a proper shine and sits on a proud place on the mantle piece. Well I don’t actually have a mantle piece , just a bookcase, but it sounds better.
    I am very proud of the effort I am putting into polishing the piano. It takes elbow grease ( in danish-knuckle grease !)and of course you follow the grain as much as possible. I actually feel as though I am doing it a favour and sort of healing it after all the scratches and cigarette burns and being knocked about.

    I always return to your posts and recipes even after scouring the Web. They are the best and I feel quite assured to use them.
    Thank you so much for all that you teach me about eco-friendly living. I am hooked.

    1. Hi Pia! I can almost picture your piano, baby rattle, and home – what a lovely description you’ve left of you making the polish and rushing around the house shining up your wooden pieces :) So pleased to have helped with the recipe and thank you so much for the descriptive message and feedback. Have a wonderful day!

  29. Hi Tanya, what are you using as an antioxidant? Vit C? Thanks for your blog, it is good to know that there are a growing number of us out there changing the way we interact with the earth…no chemicals down the drain!

    1. You can use an antioxidant for this but olive oil and beeswax don’t really need them as much as other oils would. Be sure to get high quality Vitamin E if you do use it – many that are on offer are so diluted that they are not effective as an antioxidant. It’s actually better to use Grapefruit Seed Extract in my opinion.

  30. Made this earlier and it has brought my new table up a treat, it arrived a little dry tried various ils but nothing made it shine and water repellant, this has worked a treat used sandalwood but think next time will add a slight citrus note to lift it slightly ………….thanks for all the wonderful recipes just a quick question why does your in text suppliers links go to american sites would love to know where you buy your materials x

  31. Hello. Thanks for this. I use a similar concoction (just beeswax and olive oil) as lipsalve! Works a treat, and no nasty chemicals. Lovely stuff!

  32. Hello, Tanya..I am defo trying this recipe it is soo easy! I had read on another blog that someone used Grapeseed oil in their natural beeswax polish, in place of olive oil..if I remember correctly I *think* she said that grapeseed oil doesn't go rancid? Would you know if this is true or not? I have precious little grapeseed extract left till I can get to market and I use it in my fruit and veg cleaner. Can't wait to give it a go!

  33. Have you tried using Mafura Butter combined with Olive oil as a natural wood polish. My friend made one and gave it to me as a gift and I absolutely love it.

  34. Thornhill Louis says:

    Natural beeswax furniture is environmental friendly. At home, beeswax exists as a good helper for the reason; it is so versatile especially in solving household problems.

  35. Tanya, some people will react to Grapeseed extract. I know some medicines should not be taken with grapefruit products- e.g warfarin for anti coagulants, and although it is not being added for oral use in this case, it can be easily absorbed through the skin when being used as a polish, so Vitamin E or alpha tocopherol, which is the active anti-oxidant, would be better so I would suggest you remove Grape seed extract from your formula to be safe.

    1. Hi Martin, while there is a tiny chance that some people may have reactions to Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) the same would go for any of the ingredients. If a person is known to have pre-existing reactions to citrus fruits and GSE then of course Vitamin E is another option.

      As for its effect in regards to certain prescription medications, I understand that this is really only the case when GSE is taken internally and in larger amounts. Hope this helps to clarify :)

  36. What a great idea. I use beeswax and olive oil to make herbal salves, why not furniture polish!

  37. That looks so gorgeous. It almost makes housework a pleasure. I will give this a try one of these days.

  38. Your wooden items have come up beautifully.

  39. Beautiful results on the wood, it looks lovely.

  40. I have some beeswax, I must try it on the furniture. Thanks for sharing! :)

  41. Hi Tanya, I think wood turpentine is ok, just don't use "mineral turpentine" which is a petrochemical. I used to work at a place that extracted turpentine and pine oil from waste from the paper industry. Its just a mixture of essential oils. I think the turpentine would be a good ingredient for wood polish as its a natural oil that comes from wood. I don't even know where you can buy it though! You could use lavender oil etc instead, they are surprisingly similar in chemical structure. Cheers, Liz

    1. Anonymous says:

      Warning … turpentine and it's vapor is quite flamible. It could be quite dangerous to heat this with the double broiler method on the stove top. Extremely dangerous if your stove as gas. The open flame will certainly ignite the turpentine and bees wax mixture.

  42. Tanya – I have passed this on to a friend, who has bees.
    Can I also say how much my husband is enjoying using your
    sunshine soap – it is the best soap he has ever used he says.

  43. I have some beeswax and was wondering what to do with it so this might be an option since you gave such good instructions!
    I haven't got the soap that you sent yet, maybe the government thinks it is plastic explosives or something and are running tests on it. We could become famous!

    1. You certainly do have a bunch of beeswax Sunnybrook! So sad there aren't any bees in it though :(

      You'll need to melt and clean your comb before you make this recipe though. I don't use the method I posted ages ago any longer since I found an easier way. If you'd like more info on that please let me know.

      Shipping to the states takes AGES…I swear they must put all the parcels in little bottles and then fling them out into the Atlantic. It can take two to three weeks sometimes. Or the parcel could have been sniffed out due to the suspicious seeds I enclosed for strawberry popcorn ;)

    2. The soap arrived yesterday, what a wonder scent! I am going to start the popcorn seeds when I get home, your plum tomato seeds are in the mail, let's hope they get there this spring! Thanks so much.

  44. Great polish Tanya. Unfortunately I don't tend to have much wood so this one I won't be trying out. What about a general furniture polish…found a recipe for that yet???