ALL AdviceInsightsPodcastsStoriesSustainabilityUpdatesVideos

Can You Use Beeswax on Leather?

It’s somewhat popular to try to use beeswax to DIY water-proof leather products. 

This can be a good option for leather boots or leather shoes, but we wouldn’t recommend using beeswax furniture polish. It can make the leather stiff and waxy to the touch.

Let’s take a closer look.

a chubby bee repairing a leather couch

What is beeswax?

It’s common to see beeswax leather conditioners due to their natural properties that help protect and nourish leather. When integrated into leather conditioner formulations, natural beeswax serves several important functions.

Firstly, it acts as a waterproofing agent, creating a barrier that repels moisture and helps prevent water damage to the leather. This is particularly crucial for leather goods exposed to the elements, such as shoes, boots, and outdoor gear.

Secondly, beeswax helps to soften and lubricate the leather fibers, making the leather more supple and flexible. This can help prevent cracking and creasing over time, extending the lifespan of the leather item. Beeswax enhances the leather’s natural luster, giving it a rich, glossy finish that restores its original beauty.

To integrate beeswax into leather conditioner, it is typically melted down along with other natural oils and waxes, such as lanolin, coconut oil, or almond oil, to create a nourishing blend. This mixture is then applied to the leather surface using a soft cloth or brush, allowing the conditioner to penetrate the pores of the leather and provide deep hydration and protection.

Regularly applying beeswax-based leather conditioners can help maintain the integrity and appearance of leather goods, keeping them looking their best for years to come.

What are the potential risks of beeswax on leather?

While beeswax is generally considered safe and beneficial for conditioning leather, there are a few potential risks associated with its use:

  1. Buildup and Residue: If not applied properly or excessively, beeswax-based leather conditioner may leave a sticky residue or buildup on the leather surface. This can attract dust, dirt, and other contaminants, leading to a dull or dirty appearance over time.
  2. Color Darkening: Beeswax has a natural yellowish tint, which can darken the color of lighter-colored leather when applied. While this may not be a concern for some leather items, it can alter the appearance of lighter shades significantly.
  3. Reduced Breathability: Beeswax creates a protective barrier on the leather surface, which can reduce its breathability. This may be problematic for certain leather items, such as shoes or garments, where breathability is essential for comfort.
  4. Potential Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may have allergic reactions to beeswax or other components present in beeswax-based leather conditioners. It’s essential to test the conditioner on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather before applying it to the entire surface, especially if you have known allergies.

To mitigate these risks, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying beeswax-based leather conditioner and to use it sparingly.

Additionally, it’s advisable to choose a conditioner specifically formulated for the type of leather you’re treating and to perform a patch test on a small area of the leather first to ensure compatibility and avoid adverse reactions.

How to apply beeswax to leather

Applying beeswax leather care products is a straightforward process that requires a few simple steps.

Here’s a basic guide to help you:

  1. Clean the Leather: Before applying beeswax, ensure the leather surface is clean and free of dust, dirt, and other contaminants. Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe down the leather in a circular motion to remove any surface grime. Allow the leather to dry completely before proceeding.
  2. Prepare the Beeswax: If you’re using pure beeswax, you’ll need to melt it to make it easier to apply. You can do this by placing the beeswax in a heat-safe container and melting it using a double boiler or by using a low-heat setting in the microwave. Be cautious not to overheat the wax, as it can become flammable.
  3. Test in a Small Area: Before applying the beeswax to the entire leather item, it’s a good idea to test it in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and avoid adverse reactions. Apply a small amount of melted beeswax to the test area and allow it to dry. Check for any changes in color or texture before proceeding.
  4. Apply the Beeswax: Once the test area has been inspected and deemed satisfactory, you can begin applying the beeswax to the rest of the leather surface. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply a thin, even layer of melted beeswax to the leather, working in small sections at a time. Ensure the wax is spread evenly and thinly to avoid buildup or uneven application.
  5. Buff and Polish: After applying the beeswax, let it dry completely. Once dry, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the leather surface gently. This will help to remove any excess wax and enhance the shine of the leather polish. For a higher shine, you can continue buffing with a soft brush or cloth until the desired luster is achieved.
  6. Repeat as Needed: Depending on the condition of the leather and the level of protection desired, you may need to repeat the beeswax application process periodically. Regular maintenance with beeswax will help to keep the leather soft, supple, and well-protected against moisture and other environmental factors.

By following these steps, you can effectively apply beeswax to leather and help maintain its beauty and durability for years to come.

Other products to avoid when caring for your leather products

While beeswax can potentially be used as leather polish, bringing back a long-lasting sheen to old leather, there are certain substances that should always be avoided.

You should never use:

On your leather products.

Stick to the products made by the pros to have leather peace of mind

A dedicated, pre-formulated leather cleaner and conditioner/protector will help with cleanliness, durability, water resistance, and every other facet of leather care better than beeswax. Bees may look chubby and cute—but that doesn’t mean they’ll help your leather.

Fibrenew is always here to give you peace of mind when it comes to all things leather.

Get in touch with your local Fibrenew operator for any questions.

And if you’re passionate about leather, maybe a career in leather repair and restoration is the path for you. Check our free Franchise Information Report for everything you need to know.

Rock on!



Beeswax on leather FAQ

What is beeswax, and why is it used on leather?

Beeswax is a natural substance that honeybees produce, and it is known for its waterproofing and conditioning properties. It is used on leather to protect, nourish, and enhance its appearance, making it more durable and supple over time.

How do I apply beeswax to leather?

To apply beeswax to leather, first, ensure the leather surface is clean and dry. Then, melt the beeswax if necessary and apply a thin, even layer using a soft cloth or sponge. Allow it to dry completely before buffing the leather with a clean cloth to achieve the desired shine.

What types of leather can I use beeswax on?

Beeswax can generally be used on all types of leather, including genuine leather, full-grain leather, and top-grain leather. However, it’s essential to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility and avoid any adverse reactions.

How often should I apply beeswax to leather?

The frequency of applying beeswax to leather depends on factors such as usage and exposure to elements. As a general guideline, you can apply beeswax every few months for maintenance, or more frequently if the leather is subjected to heavy use or harsh conditions.

What are the risks of using beeswax on leather?

While beeswax is generally safe for use on leather, there are some potential risks to consider. These include the possibility of color darkening, buildup, or residue if applied excessively, reduced breathability of the leather, and rare allergic reactions to beeswax or other components in the conditioner. It’s essential to follow instructions carefully, test in a small area first, and use beeswax sparingly to minimize these risks.

Avatar photo
Meet the author

Paul Gingras

Support Director

I’m thrilled to lead an enthusiastic support team that works hard every day to ensure our franchise partners experience success and satisfaction while growing their business.

See other posts by Paul Gingras