Can You Use Beeswax on Leather?

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Choosing the right product to maintain your leather garments is essential. Leather is quite a unique material in terms of how you should properly care for it. Therefore, many leather enthusiasts have tried and tested various protection methods to increase its longevity. But that leads to one crucial question, can you use beeswax on leather?

Yes, you can use beeswax on leather. Beeswax is one of the oldest conditioning substances still in use in countless different ways today, and one of the uses is indeed for cleaning, conditioning, and even waterproofing leather.

Knowing how to properly apply it is essential, so today, we’re going to look at how beeswax interacts with leather and everything you’ll need to know before using it.

Is beeswax bad for leather?

Simply put, beeswax is great for leather and has been used as a conditioning substance for thousands of years. Traces of it have been found everywhere, from Egyptian tombs to Viking shipwrecks and Roman ruins. It has had countless uses over the millennia, but preserving and strengthening sewing thread, cordage, and shoelaces is one pertinent use. It has been well known for a long time the preserving effects that beeswax has.

Beeswax has a high melting point of around 146 F and is so dry it is completely oil-free, making it very durable. If you add essential oils to the beeswax, you can make your leather garments waterproof at the same time. Leather is animal skin, so it does require very special care and absolutely no manufactured chemicals like mineral oil or paraffin. Beeswax, pine resin, cod oil, and beef tallow are the only ingredients you’ll need to preserve your leather garment.

This applies to any item of leather clothing. Leather boots have been the most widely produced. These remedies often come from trappers, loggers, and even the military, who know better than anyone the importance of preserving their leather boots.

Perhaps the one time it may not be entirely appropriate is on leather furniture. According to some, it can make couches stiff and waxy to the touch. At the same time, though, there are leather cleaning products available made of beeswax. Test it out in small amounts, first, if you plan to use it on furniture.

Does beeswax darken leather?

Beeswax is the thing to use to maintain the leather, but you should keep in mind that the wax will have a darkening effect over time. Be aware of precisely the kind of wax product that you’re dealing with. Products with wax as the primary ingredient are often more appropriate as a finishing coat than just a preserving agent.

The higher the wax content, the more dramatically it will darken your leather. The same is true of applying heat to the wax during the process. The darkening that occurs with beeswax results in a golden or amber hue, whereas if you’ve applied too much oil, the result will be a mottled, dark brown. Just keep an eye on this, as it’s very easy to damage your leather with too much oil.

Leather will lose its original, darker hue over time without maintenance, and if you’re looking to maintain that darker hue, beeswax treatment is a great option. Still, please don’t overdo it, as it will darken further and further over time. While there are products claiming to treat the leather with wax without darkening it, it’s pretty difficult to avoid any darkening in the long term.

Darkening the leather may or may not be your intended result, but either way, you should always apply it in thin, light layers. Allow it to dry before applying another layer. The leather will darken slightly as the product is applied, but letting it dry between layers will prevent the pores from becoming clogged.

How do you polish leather with beeswax?

Leather products come in a wide variety—from shoes, belts to couches. While it can depend on what you’re using the polish on, the method is generally roughly the same, so let’s look at how to polish leather with beeswax.

Before you begin, wipe the leather down with a damp cloth or brush—especially if you’re polishing clothes or shoes. If you’re polishing a piece of leather furniture, a dry wipe will probably be fine. For clothes and shoes, be sure to get any dust, dirt or mud off. If you used a damp cloth, let your leather dry before continuing.

If you’re polishing an item of clothing, put some newspaper down before you start—wax polish is tough to get out of the carpet. Then, take a soft cloth or rag and apply the beeswax polish. A little will go a long way, so don’t overdo it. Rub the polish on in small, circular motions like you would if you were cleaning a window.

Brush the leather to remove any excess polish using quick strokes. This also allows the polish to sink deeper into the leather producing a more even look. Finally, buff the leather with a soft cloth using back and forth movements to give it that glossy appearance.

Can beeswax be used on leather furniture?

As I have mentioned, beeswax is a somewhat different matter on furniture, although in general, it should have the same effect on furniture as on clothing. As I said, some have mentioned it leaves a stiff, waxy touch to the leather, but this will not always be the case. If appropriately used, beeswax should lubricate and moisturize your leather, preventing it from hardening and cracking in the future.

While the leather in your shoes and the leather on your sofa certainly serve different purposes, the effect of beeswax should be more or less the same. However, you will need to buy different beeswax products; it may seem obvious, but beeswax shoe polish should not be used on furniture.

A formulated beeswax leather polish designed for use on furniture will cause you no problems and protect the leather in your furniture from wearing out and becoming torn and cracked.


After reading, you should now be aware of whether beeswax is bad for leather. We can now conclude that it isn’t, and its actually used to clean, protect and preserve this material. We’ve also discussed various helpful to know tips for beeswax and leather. Hopefully this will increase the usage and reduce the problems you may encounter with beeswax.

So, now you understand the benefits that beeswax can have on leather. Will you be using it to increase the longevity of your leather goods?

About Grampa Beekeeper

Having spent a lifetime tending to bees, I now want to pass my knowledge onto the next generation of beekeepers. Beekeeping may not be fashionable, but it is my life long passion! From entrance excluders to packaged bee handling, I've got you covered! I'm not the best at writing, though, so bear with me!!