Beeswax for wood conditioner and polish is a smart idea. With just a few ingredients you can make a safe natural DIY beeswax wood polish that is nut-free, food safe and preserves, cleans, and conditions your wooden utensils. It’s even effective on cabinet doors.
A nut-free polish made of beeswax for wood utensils
“Food safe” wood conditioners and polishes are often petroleum based, mineral oil. On the other hand, natural food safe polishes often have walnut oil or other nut oils in their ingredient lists. This if fine if you don’t have anyone in your family who is allergic to nuts or peanuts. But if you or a family member are in the 3% of the population affected by nut or peanut allergies, you need an alternative to the average beeswax for wood polish recipe.
Allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is the leading cause of fatal allergic reactions in the United States, and the prevalence appears to be increasing. If you are a woodworker making products for sale or if you have a person in your family who has a nut allergy, this beeswax for wood polish is just what you need to preserve your wood utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen cupboards while also preserving your health.
Beeswax polish made for wood
This beeswax for wood polish recipe is food safe, nut free, and made with just 3 ingredients plus essential oils. You can mix up a batch in 15 minutes or less. Orange wax gives it antimicrobial cleaning and polishing strength. Hempseed oil offers a protective, hard patina. Beeswax gives it a solid texture that isn’t sticky and makes it easy to use and easy to store, while also adding it’s own preserving qualities.
I use this food safe beeswax wood finish to clean and condition wooden kitchen cabinet doors, cutting boards, rolling pins, as well as kraut pounders. It’s nontoxic and real food based rather than petroleum based like mineral oil. The finish should be reapplied to your wooden utensils each time you wash them in soapy water, at first. After a few applications the wood won’t require it as often. It will reach saturation. You’ll notice when you reach this point because the wooden tool will feel smooth rather than dry and coarse grained.
This food safe wood finish makes a nice gift for the wood turner in your life, too. So follow this recipe and make two jars – one for you and one for your wood turning friend.
Hempseed oil is a drying oil that forms a protective polymer film on the surface of wood as it dries. Those allergic to hemp can substitute grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, or flax seed oil which have the same drying qualities as hempseed oil. Get more ideas for ingredient substitutions here.
Nut-free food safe wood finish
Yield: 6 ounces
- 2 tablespoons (24 grams) beeswax melted
- 1 tablespoon orange wax
- 5 tablespoons organic hempseed oil
- 30 drops organic lemon or sweet orange essential oil
- Make a double boiler using a glass measuring cup. Add the beeswax, orange oil, and hempseed oil to the cup. Melt the beeswax and oils together over medium heat. Remove from the heat source. Stir to fully combine. Add essential oil.
- Pour into jars or tins. Cool till it solidifies. Cap. Label. Date.
This wood finish will stay fresh for up to a year.
Wipe on clean, dry wooden utensils.
Why use beeswax for wood?
Beeswax is a renewable animal product. No bees are killed in the production of beeswax. Beeswax must be cleaned from the beehive to prevent diseases from growing inside the hive, which can happen if beeswax is left for years without being renewed. Bees naturally create wax to store their honey and to house their offspring. Talk to your local bee keeper to ensure that the way they harvest their honey and beeswax leaves enough to ensure the bees survival. But generally, if foraging rich gardens or wild meadows, bees create more honey and wax than a colony needs to thrive.
I have a friend who raises bees. They are her “pets” and she loves them dearly. She takes very good care of them and harvests only enough honey and wax from the hives to ensure that the bees aren’t over crowded going into winter. This excess brings her 100 pounds of honey a year plus about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds of wax from 2 hives. After harvest the bees are left with twice that amount of honey and wax to ensure their winter survival. No bees are harmed in the harvest of honey and wax.
Beeswax is a rich natural preservative. It has traditionally been used to seal and preserve wood and is a key ingredient in many ancient recipes for wood finishes, wood polishes, and wood cleaners. Beeswax has a natural affinity for wood, and especially wood that is subject to water and dry air.
Is there a vegan substitute for beeswax?
I’m often asked if there is a vegan substitute for beeswax. Beeswax performs many tasks in a recipe for wood polish. It solidifies the oils in the mixture to make the wood polish easier to store and use. But beeswax does more than that. Beeswax nourishes and seals the pores of the wood making them impervious to water. Beeswax cleans and sanitizes wood and perserves it, as well. Can you substitute other waxes?
To get the same texture that beeswax offers you can substitute candililla wax on 1/2 to 1 measure. But candililla wax isn’t the same as beeswax. It lacks many qualities that beeswax has. It doesn’t sanitize and preserve wood. It doesn’t nourish the wood.
Bayberry wax is antimicrobial and will nourish the wood, but it is a softer wax than beeswax and doesn’t give the same firm texture to the finished polish. If you have bayberry growing nearby you can harvest the berries and make your own wax.
Explore more beeswax substitutes here.
Find out more about using beeswax in the kitchen in my book, The Beeswax Workshop.