For repairs and maintenance of tools and furniture, beeswax is a natural and low-waste option — and it can be used as a lubricant, a protective coating, and a sealant. It can condition your cutting boards and help prevent your tools from rusting. And because it’s a byproduct of honeybees, it’s also a non-toxic, pollinator-friendly material.
Before you go about melting beeswax to tackle your to-do list, remember that whatever you melt it in will likely remain waxed for life. Using a double boiler will help you melt the wax evenly without taking it above its relatively low boiling point. You can make your own double boiler by sacrificing a mason jar or clean coffee can and placing that in a saucepan of water for heating. Be careful with the hot wax — wear gloves and cover your forearms to protect your skin — as it can stick to your skin, resulting in particularly painful burns.
Now that it’s melted, let’s go use it.
Condition cutting boards and wooden utensils
To use beeswax to condition your wooden cutting boards and wooden spoons, you’ll need a cup of mineral oil, a teaspoon of wax, and a soft cotton cloth. Add the wax to the mineral oil and heat in your double boiler or microwave in a microwave-safe container until the wax has melted. Dip the cloth into the mixture and wipe it onto your cutting board or wooden spoons, then allow to cool for about an hour and buff.
Polish wooden furniture
To condition your furniture and keep it glowing, mix equal parts linseed oil and melted beeswax. Then use a cotton rag to polish your furniture. Take care to buff excess polish away with a clean rag after you apply it to avoid build-up.
Unstick a drawer or window
Rubbing some beeswax along a stuck window sash or the runner of a sticky drawer can release it and prevent future sticking. For this application, room-temperature solid beeswax is best. Simply rub the solid wax onto the wooden surfaces and work the drawer back and forth until it slides smoothly.
Stop a rope from fraying
You can use beeswax to “whip” a frayed rope by first dipping a string in melted wax, wiping away the excess with a rag and then wrapping the frayed end of your rope with the waxed string. Tie the string at the end of the rope and cut off the end of the string. You can also dip the edges of fabric or the ends of string in melted wax to stop fraying.
Lubricate screws, nails, and nuts
Beeswax is a terrific lubricant. To make it easier to drive a screw, rub the tip in solid, room-temperature beeswax. You can use the same method when driving nails. (Using this trick will help prevent splitting.) If you’ve got a stuck nut, try rubbing some beeswax around the spot where it meets the shaft of the bolt.
Maintain your outdoor tools
Rub some solid beeswax on the metal surfaces of your outdoor tools to seal out oxygen and moisture and help prevent rust. For the best results, though, you’ll need to treat your tools after each use. You can also rub beeswax on your snow shovel to allow snow to slide off easily, or use it on the wooden handles of brooms and other tools to keep them conditioned and smooth.