Taking a Shine to Beeswax

Honey has a long, storied history around the house. Beyond its most common and delicious use, it’s also a powerful cut-healing agent, cough preventer, sleep aid and more. But honey’s not the only useful thing to come out of the hive.

Enter beeswax: the sturdy, gummy stuff that worker bees use to form the hive’s walls and honeycomb. We recently blogged about how it makes an effective candle wax, but there’s even more it can do. Beeswax also makes a great furniture polish, making wood shine while and protecting it from moisture and humidity.

Several companies are vying to be the greatest in the beeswax polish game, at least one of which has been at it for nearly half a century. The “Original” is evidently good for way more than just wood furniture. Its site claims it can clean mirrors, glass, metals like copper and silver, granite, leather furniture and clothing, computer screens, artificial flowers, granite and even musical instruments. That’s about as all-purpose as it gets. But curiously, the beeswax aerosol spray can’t help with tile, linoleum, wood floors or bathtubs.

Another, presumably less original beeswax furniture polish is a bit more restrained in its claims. It can “protect, soften and restore leather” and protect wooden furniture. Not bad, especially for a product made with only beeswax, mineral spirits – AKA “paint thinner” – and turpentine. A chunky paste, this polish is better suited to making thick, protective layers that soak deep into your wooden or leather goods.

If you’re looking to protect your furniture with all-natural ingredients, beeswax might just be your best bet. There are also plenty of DIY recipes to make your own beeswax furniture polish, if you’re up to the task of replacing your supermarket-brand spray.

The typical ratio is one part beeswax to three parts your choice of oil: mineral oil (which has the distinct advantage of not going rancid), jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. This makes a thick paste that you can apply in gobs as needed. Some aromaholics also add lemon essential oil to give their homemade furniture polish a scent reminiscent of the furniture polish juggernaut.

Once you’ve got the ingredients mixed, simply heat the mixture in a double boiler. This kind of indirect heating will cause your ingredients to melt together more evenly. Once everything’s melted, stir thoroughly, pour into an airtight glass container and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool and solid, using the stuff is a cinch. Just rub the polish onto any wooden surface and let it soak in for up to two hours, then wipe off any excess.

Bees depend on beeswax to make their home. Give it a shot; it might just make yours a little more special.