Beeswax Wood Finish/Polish Review: The Pros and Cons

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 05/24/23 • 

Beeswax has long been used as a primary wood finish and polish. However, over the years, oils and other durable film-building finishes have almost replaced wax as a primary wood finish for wood.

Beeswax is the main type of wax finish available. Other types of wax finishes include paraffin wax and carnauba wax. In this article, we’ll discuss more beeswax finish, how to apply it, and its pros and cons.

Beeswax Finish on Wood

Although beeswax was primarily used as a primary wood finisher on wood, this has not been the case in recent years. This is because beeswax, or other waxes, is the least protective type of wood finish. Waxing wood as a primary wood finish is the closest to having no protective finish on the wood. Oils and other film-building finishes have replaced waxes.

Beeswax is mostly used as a wood polisher over other types of finishes nowadays. It produces a satin sheen and dries soft. Because it dries soft, wiping off excess wax on wood is necessary. Beewax finish provides no significant barrier against heat, moisture, or other solvents. However, it reduces abrasive damage, such as scrapes and scuffs, on wood. See our best wood furniture waxes.

One of the reasons to use wax as a sole finish is to keep the wood’s original color. Beeswax will not darken wood as much as other wood finishes. You can also use beeswax for decorative wood carvings and pieces that will receive less handling.

Applying Beeswax to Wood

Rubbing beeswax on wood with steel wool

Rubbing beeswax on wood with steel wool

Is Beeswax Wood Finish Food Safe?

Beeswax is a natural product and food safe when used as a finish. It is even completely safe for kids’ toys or wood-turned bowls.

However, not all beeswax bought commercially is food-safe. Sometimes beeswax is mixed with other solvents, such as mineral oils, petroleum distillates, paraffin wax, terpenes, and other chemical compounds that may not be food-safe. These ingredients soften the wax and make it easier to apply.

If you’re buying beeswax online, read the list of ingredients to ensure it is 100 percent natural beeswax. However, you can easily make it at home if you want a 100 percent natural beeswax finish/polisher.

Beeswax Wood Finish/Polisher DIY

Making a beeswax wood finish or polisher at home is very easy. You’ll need natural beeswax, which should be refined so no particles will scratch your furniture or spoil your wood finish.

The first step is to boil the wax until it melts. A double boiler is recommended, but you can use practically anything to boil it. Remember that wax is flammable, so be careful when handling it over a fire.

Once the wax has melted, you can add different ingredients. You can use mineral, animal, and food-grade oils such as olive, hazelnut, or coconut oils. Be on the lookout for Some oils, such as olive oil, that can go rancid very quickly, or hazelnut oil that can be allergic to some people.

Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, carefully and thoroughly stir the ingredients. Once done, apply them to your wood or store them properly for later use.

Beeswax vs. Carnauba Wax

Carnauba is a type of wax that is scraped from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. Compared to beeswax, carnauba wax is harder and produces a better shine. However, it isn’t easy to buff because of its state once it hardens.

Manufacturers will often mix carnauba wax with other waxes and solvents to make it easier to use. Though this makes it softer to work with, it will also reduce the shinny gloss of carnauba wax. Read our in-depth post on carnauba wax vs beeswax.

Pros of Beeswax

Cons of Beeswax

MWB-Team

Hello there! This is the Make Wood Better Team. Here, we share informative how-tos and guides focused on making wood better. Whether it's finishing wood, maintenance, or restoration, there's something on this website for you to learn and improve your skills.