Cleaning out my desk last weekend I came across an old programme for the Isle of Man Beekeepers Annual Convention. I was about to recycle it but thought I must have kept it for some reason… After a flip through I remembered why: there were several recipes at the back including those for various household products and confectionery using honey and beeswax. A perfect find for a rainy day.
Of all the recipes listed, the one I was most interested in was the one for Furniture Polish. I’m on a mission to find replacements for as many of our toxic household substances as possible and a wood furniture a polish will come in handy. The problem with many conventional polishes is that they’re often loaded with chemicals that can cause immediate reactions or possibly long term health issues. On the National Library of Medicine’s website, furniture polish poisoning varies from dizziness, vomiting, and rapidly lowered blood pressure if the substance is ingested, to skin burns and vision loss if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. Not a pretty picture.
The problem with furniture polish is that although it can contain lovely oils and waxes that help hydrate and protect, it often contains petrochemicals and other solvents that may even be accidentally ingested or can evaporate into the air. So even if you don’t swallow the stuff and you don’t get it into your eyes you’re still being affected by fumes. Forgoing the Beekeeper’s recipe I decided to put together one of my own. It calls for just two main ingredients, beeswax and olive oil, and can be made in less than 30 minutes though it will take a couple of hours to cool. When combined, these simple oils form a semi-hard wax that can be massaged into most any wood to restore moisture and create a beautiful sheen.
Natural Beeswax Furniture Polish A beautifully scented and natural polish suitable for most wood types.
Makes about 3-2/3 cups
150g (2/3 cup) Beeswax
600g (3 cups) Olive oil*
Olive oil on its own can do this really well, albeit temporarily since it has a tendency to erode. Beeswax is much more durable and can give your furniture a long-lasting brilliant sheen and texture after regular application. Another ingredient that I encourage you to use is a clear Grapefruit seed extract (such as Citricidal) or Vitamin E oil though from a functional perspective it’s completely optional. Though Beeswax lasts years without going rancid, olive oil is much more likely to start go off. An anti-oxidant will help stop that from occurring and ensure that your polish continues to smell like rich honey-scented beeswax.
1. Place both the beeswax and the olive oil into a double boiler such as demonstrated in the image below. A double boiler system can be easily created by floating a sauce pan inside another pan filled with hot water. You want your oils heated indirectly and evenly in this way because it’s safer for you and helps maintain the integrity of the ingredients.
2. Heat the double boiler/pans on medium heat until the oil beeswax is completely melted. Don’t be tempted to turn your heat up too high or there’s a chance that boiling water will splash into your oils.
3. Add the anti-oxidant and essential oil and stir well. Pour the hot mixture into clean and dry wide-mouth containers.** Allow to cool for at least two hours into a semi-hard balm consistency.
4. You can use the polish immediately and no doubt you’ll do what I did…run around the house looking for wooden objects to beautify! To use the polish, just scoop some of it out with your fingers or with a rag and work the polish into any and all wooden surfaces. Excess polish can be wiped off immediately or leave it on for a couple of hours to allow more oils to permeate before buffing it to a sheen.
Enjoy your 100% natural and toxin-free polish ~ your furniture certainly will 🙂
* Use up to 900g to make a creamier polish
** If you’re making this as a gift and using glass jars you might want to warm your jars before pouring the hot oils into them. This will help keep the polish from pulling away from the interior of the glass which can be unattractive.
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