Disadvantages of Beeswax Finish: How Does it Affect Wood?

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Over the years, I’ve often turned to beeswax as a trusted finish for wood floorings and furniture. It truly brings out the richness of the wood. But, much like any other product, beeswax isn’t without its downsides.

While many swear by its benefits, it’s just as crucial to be aware of its potential pitfalls on wood. In this guide, I’m here to delve into the main disadvantages of beeswax finish that every craftsman should be aware of.

About Beeswax Finish

When used as a primary topcoat, a beeswax finish enhances the natural beauty of wood using combined beeswax and natural oil. Beeswax contains some natural elements from beehives which makes it toxic-free. 

As a top choice for a non-toxic finish, you can use a beeswax finish for risk-free wood surfaces around pets and children. Overall, the combination of beeswax and oil radiates a natural finish. 

How Beeswaxing Helps Wood

But how does beeswax affects wood surfaces? According to studies, beeswax finish preserves the wood’s natural component. 

beeswax in a jar and a paint brush

You just need the beeswax to set overnight for it to penetrate up to a quarter inch into the wood surface. This process eliminates the dryness and dullness of the wood. 

You can restore the lustrous and warm surfaces the damaged furniture and floorings caused by too much sun and dust exposure. As a plus factor on the beeswax finish, you can smell a hint of honey while using it.

Pros and Cons of Beeswax Finish

Before reaching for that tin of beeswax, it’s essential to pause and weigh its strengths and weaknesses. Not all waxes will serve every wood project equally well.

Here is a detailed assessment of beeswax’s pros and cons to help you make an informed choice:

Beeswax Finish Drawbacks

Prone to Yellowing Over Time

Beeswax is not suitable for wood surfaces with existing coats. If you are going to use beeswax, make sure it is the primary coat of the wood surface. Otherwise, the wood itself is prone to yellowing over time. 

beeswax in jars

Requires Physical Strength During Application

Applying a beeswax finish demands a bit more elbow grease. Being a natural wax, you’ll find yourself manually working it into the wood surface with a cloth, ensuring every inch gets the attention it deserves.

Susceptible to Damage Caused by Heat

Any wood surface with beeswax is susceptible to damage caused by heat. You can easily melt the beeswax when exposed to heat at approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit.


The beeswax finish is not like your ordinary wood finish regimen. You have to reapply beeswax every 3 to 6 months to maintain its protective coating and prevent any unsightly corrosion.

Stains the Surface of Wood

If not applied with consistent care, besswax’s penetration can lead to uneven staining or darker patches on the wood. Precision and even application are paramount to avoid these pitfalls.

Reduced Durability Compared to Polyurethane

Other wood finishes are durable and have higher resistance and protection from damage caused by heat, moisture, and scratches. But you cannot rely on beeswax finish to withstand these damages.

chair spray painted with Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Spray

Not Applicable to All Flooring Types

Beeswax can be used exclusively on wood floorings with sealed surface areas. If your flooring is covered with plastics, you cannot use beeswax. 

Hard to Remove

Thinking of changing the top coat of your furniture and floorings? Beeswax is hard to remove compared to other wood finishes. 

Not Waterproof

One notable downside of beeswax finish on wood is it’s not waterproof. Beeswax finish cannot protect furniture and floorings when exposed to rain.

Not Slip-Resistant

If the beeswax melts due to high temperatures, it can be sticky and slippery. Also, the lubricating nature of beeswax makes floorings slippery.

Cherry wood table

Not Germ-Resistant

Bacteria can easily penetrate a wood surface with a beeswax finish. If not cleaned thoroughly, molds can be spotted and wood problems may occur. 

Beeswax Finish Advantages


Beeswax is a highly health-sensitive polish for wood surfaces because of its natural component. Remember that beeswax consists of wax from honeycomb and natural oils [1].

Ease Taking Off Using Solvent

Given its ease of application, you can easily remove beeswax using heat to melt the wax or chemical solvent.

Also Read:

Resistance to Water

Although it cannot withstand loads of water, beeswax can build resistance against moisture and minor water accident. 

Screws and Nail Coatings

Hammering of nails and screw on the wood surface with beeswax finish does not create a splinter. 

person holding a jar of beeswax

Lubricates Wood

When it comes to sliding doors and windows, beeswax coating creates smooth movement.


The component of beeswax is the wonder why it’s considered to have economical value. From wax to oil, it already gives durable coating and quick drying time.


The beeswax finish does not alter the appearance of a wood surface. You can choose different colors of beeswax to complement the natural color of your wood project.

Good for the Environment

The natural component of beeswax makes it good for the environment. It can be used as an alternative for a variety of wood projects because of the natural oils 

Ease of Application

I prefer beeswax finish among other types of wood finishes because it’s easy to apply and re-apply evenly. You just have to apply a straight line from one end to the other end of the wood. Use a piece of cotton rag and make sure the wood surface is cleaned and sanded.

applying beeswax finish

Waxes for Finishing Wood: 3 Types

For a clear comparison, I’ve listed my top three waxes for wood finishing.

Mineral Wax

Mineral wax is also a toxic-free and safe near food because of the mineral oil used in this wax. Mineral wax can be used for wooden kitchen accessories and wooden baby toys. 

When applied to a wood surface, it prevents cracking or warping because mineral wax builds resistance to humidity. 

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is another favorite coating that blends well with natural oils. With easy application, it gives a high sheen to the wood surface. Its polish formulations are better than mineral wax and beeswax.


As we mentioned earlier, beeswax comes from honeycombs of bees and natural oils of your choosing. You can also select beeswax shades to maintain the natural appearance of the wood surface. 


Can Surfaces Polished With Beeswax Attract Dust?

If the temperature gets high, beeswax could melt. Consequently, this can become a magnet for dust, lint, or even pet fur. While it’s challenging to prevent, a simple solution I’ve often turned to is using a cloth to gently rub and clean the surface.

Why Beeswax Finishing Can Be Unsafe in Woodworking

Beeswax tends to ignite and burn since some of its components are combustible if the temperature hits its flashpoint. Therefore, beeswax close to you or beeswax used in woodworking does not ensure a safe environment.  

Must Read: Finishing Wood with Beeswax 


How long does beeswax last?

Beeswax can last long as long as you keep it stored properly. It does not expire, but the beeswax finish lasts only for at least 3 months on surfaces. However, it is still a good thing that unused beeswax can be stored for as long as you want.

How does beeswax differ from finishing wax?

Beeswax is used as the topcoat on wood surfaces whereas finishing wax is the last coat you will apply.

Can beeswax make the wood surface slippery?

The lubricant in beeswax gives the wood surface a slippery and smooth texture.

Is beeswax better than varnish?

Most woodworkers prefer beeswax to varnish because the latter does not penetrate the wood surface as beeswax does. Beeswax is a natural and eco-friendly option that provides a soft, subtle sheen while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood.

Is beeswax better than polyurethane?

If you are looking for a durable finish on the wood surface, polyurethane is the perfect polish to use. Although beeswax is hard to remove from the wood surface, it doesn’t have a durable finish.

Can you apply stain over beeswax?

It should be the other way around–beeswax must be applied after staining or oiling. Waxing is the process of sealing the stain or oil on a wood surface.


The disadvantages of beeswax finish on wood can affect your project or furniture in the long run. Despite its amazing benefits, beeswax has limitations as a topcoat. 

So from here on, it’s important you decide and weigh in if it’s the perfect sealant for your project from your available options.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles
Join our community on facebook and get 3 woodworking plans for free!
    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty