Asked on Feb 23, 2020

Does beeswax polish really clean high gloss furniture?

by Eva

Hello Everyone, I inherited this beautiful mahogany bedroom set from my in-laws and it’s almost 70 years old. My husband and I do not know when the last time it had a thorough cleaning and polishing. I am completely redoing the bedroom and would like to freshen up the surface of these pieces. The set comes with a dresser and matching mirror, a Highboy, and two night stands.Has anyone used Beeswax furniture polish, and does it really perform as they say it does? They tout the fact that it removes years of built up polish and dirt. Before I make that investment I just want to make sure it can remove decades of polish buildup and dust. Also, the surface is high gloss and is covered those very, very fine scratches, not to mention 70 year’s worth of everyday wear and tear scratches.The vinegar, water, and olive oil formula did not work. Old English did not work either, but I welcome all suggestions, ideas, and comments. Thank you.

  24 answers
  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Feb 23, 2020

    Hi Eva,

    I have several pieces of furniture that are in similar condition. I've been exploring my options so I was interested in finding information about beeswax. I found an interesting video (yes, it's basically a commercial for their product but they only mention that at the beginning). What I found interesting about this video is the method that they used. I would never think of using soft steel wool to apply beeswax, yet that is what they recommend. See if this helps you with your research. Wishing you the best.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Linda, thank you so much for your reply, and the link to this video. I also saw one on YouTube as well but it never hurts to get as much info as you can! I’ve had many replies with many great ideas. I just need to figure which one is best for my pieces. Thank you again!

  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 23, 2020

    Hi Eva. A good way to clean the hardware is put it in a crock pot and fill with water. Set it on low and let it set 24 hrs. After that take them out and scrub them with a soft-bristle toothbrush. I learned this method by watching HGTV shows (like Rehab Addict). btw The British used to build their ships out of mahogany because it's water resistant.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Cindy, thank you for such a great idea you shared. I saw the same episode of Rehab Addict and it was amazing. I tried it on a piece that was given to me. Someone had completely painted this dresser in white chalk paint, even the wheels and hardware! So I put the hardware (even hinges) through this method and it did an amazing job! I hope you don’t mind my sharing with you a couple of pictures of the before and after.

  • try the beeswax but buy it from somewhere with a good return policy in case it doesn't work so you can get your money back.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Adrienne, thank you for that tip. It’s always good to have a favorable return policy. I’ll keep that in mind should I decide to go the beeswax method. Have a good day.

  • William William on Feb 24, 2020

    Beeswax polish or paste wax polish is a finishing polish. It does not clean.

    Before using the Beeswax Polish, if the wood is dirty, give the wood a good clean using the wood cleaner. Ensure the surface is dust free. Apply the Beeswax Polish onto a cloth and rub into the wooden surface following the direction of the grain. Leave for 3-4 minutes and buff over with a cloth to restore the lustre. To clean the wood surface use Muphy's Oil Soap. Wipe off and let dry. Then you can apply the polish.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi William, thank you for your suggestions. I clicked on the link you provided and it was very informative and helped me decide. I think I’ll be going with the paste wax for the finish. Thank you again, and have a great day.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Holly, thank you for the very informative link you send. I read it and it gives you a few options which is what we all need to get a job done. While I haven’t decided which would be best for my pieces I will certainly keep this link handy. Thank you again, and have a great day.

  • Here is a natural method, or you can buy a wood cleaner from your hardware store.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Anita, thank you for the link. I actually did use this method, but I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. Thank you again, and have a great day!

  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Feb 24, 2020

    I use BONA on furniture to clean the wood well. It is mostly used for hardwood floors but I use it all the time on furniture as well. This should remove all the polish residue. Then after cleaning it well, then think about putting on the beeswax using the directions in that first video.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi, K. Rupp, thank you for the suggestions. I will have to read up on this method (as I am in no hurry right now). I wish I had hardwood floors to test this product! LoL. Again, thank you and have a great day!

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Cheryl, thank you for the links. Very informative on antiques. I guess they don’t classify mine as “antique” as my pieces are only about 70 years old while actual antiques need to be at least 100 years old. Oh well, my kids will have antiques when they inherit them! :) Thank you again and have a great day.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Feb 24, 2020

    Hello we use the beeswax polish orange oil polish and enjoy the shine and luster it provides.

    The one we use can be found at floor and decor and on Amazon.

    • See 2 previous
    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Karen, old furniture is such a big part of Americana anymore. We need to maintain and preserve what we have left. I had always admired my in-law’s bedroom set but never dreamed, nor did I ever mention, I would be the benefactor to such amazing pieces. I just assumed that one of my husband’s three siblings would inherit them, and I was happy for them. Imagine my surprise and elation at such a gift from my husband’s family. I would love to see a picture of your Drexel bedroom set. Yes, I agree, painting a golden mahogany dresser the color white was probably not the best choice for these pieces but...I suppose it’s the trend these days. I’ll just take care of my treasure as best I can. Thanks for the return comment. Have a good evening, Eva

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Feb 24, 2020

    You mentioned vinegar, water, & olive oil. You might try 50/50 white vinegar and water to remove the build up.

    Sometime you can use a degreaser or grease cutting dish soap.

    Mineral spirits will remove it but you will need to be care as not to remove the finish as well.

    I haven't used it but I've also heard good things about Mrs. Meyer's Baking Soda Cream Cleaner. You might be able to duplicate it by making a paste of baking soda & peroxide.

    One other method is 1 cup white vinegar + 1 Tbsp cream of tarter.

    I hope you find a solution that doesn't damage the finish. It looks like a lovely set.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Kathy, thank you for your recommendations. I love the idea of homemade solutions to cleaning and polishing solutions. I will have to try your idea, and thank you for the compliment. I, too, think they are pretty nice pieces and was so honored that my in-laws left them to us. Thank you again, and have a great day!

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Agnes, thank you! This looks like what I would need to take care of some of the issues I have with my pieces! I’m still a novice when it comes to caring for and DIY projects so every idea I get is appreciated! Thank you again and have a great day!

  • on Feb 24, 2020

    I recently started using Feed'n Wax for antique woods. It does amazing things to improve old finishes - with no harsh smells or complicated methods. :)

    • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

      Hi Frugal Family, thank you for your suggestion. Others have also recommended this product. It sounds like a good product. Thank you for your idea and have a great day.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Feb 24, 2020

    Murphy’s Oil Soap has been the fine wood cleaner I was taught by my great grandmother to use, over 3 decades ago.

    They have a couple of formulas now, but I still buy the original.

    After it is cleaned, then make sure whatever wax or oil you use (Danish or Tung) doesn’t make any raw spots become much darker.

  • Eva Eva on Feb 24, 2020

    Hi, thank you for taking your time with this recommendation. After reading up on it, it looks like I may use this on my wooden kitchen cabinets too! I think I’ll buy a small container of this and take it from there. I do have some scratches in parts that reach the raw wood. I tested a small section with Old English polish and dabbed it over some scratches and it blended in nicely. I may stick with that for the bigger scratches. Again, thank you very much for your suggestions. Always appreciated, and have a good evening.

  • Dee Dee on Feb 24, 2020

    Get some Thompson’s or Formbys from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Both are excellent restoring/cleaning products. When clean you can use the bees wax or use the kits to completely restore. You can also find these products on Amazon

    • See 2 previous
    • Eva Eva on Feb 27, 2020

      Thank you!!

  • Eva Eva on Feb 25, 2020

    Hi Dee, thank you for your recommendation. I will be glad to read up on this one too. We only want a product that will help us preserve these fine pieces of furniture! Thank you again, and have a great afternoon.

  • You have lots of ansewrs i just want to say your furniture is cool i love the look. Good solid wood that lasts. I have a double wardrobe an a tall boy ..1920's. Simila in a gloss finish.. Some friends evan said i should paint it white. My face went pale. Furniture aint made like it was. Now we have flat packs. That break an fall appart. :)

    I'm sure which ever one you do, It will loook amazeing . Good luck to you.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 28, 2020

      Hi Louise, thank you. Old pieces like these are getting so rare anymore. Oooo...I agree with you about not painting these old pieces with any kind of paint! Today’s furniture are basically throw-away pieces. Thanks, yes I did get many responses as we all have methods that work best for each of us. I revisited the vinegar and water solution and it is actually pretty good at removing the decades of grime, leaving a smooth finish. I may do that then apply a good paste wax finish to protect it. Anyway, thank you again and have a good evening.

    • Eva Eva on Feb 28, 2020

      Hi Sharon, thank you for your endorsement, of what a few people have also shared with me. On what kind of pieces do you use this? What are you trying to achieve? I clicked on the link and it looks like a really good product. I will keep this one in mind for when I’m ready to begin the entire process. Thank you again, and have a good evening.

  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 03, 2020

    Well my client has many antiques, and I use it when the wood looks dry especially one old burl trunk his grandparents owned and my client is in his 90s. There are quite a few quartersawn oak pieces, and english hutches and other fine antiques.

    • Eva Eva on Mar 04, 2020

      Hi, sounds like you’re protecting those grand old pieces as best they can be. Thank you for replying.

  • Ann Ann on Jan 04, 2021

    It's amazing how Murphy's Oil Soap will remove that tacky grass film that gets on the kitchen Cabinets and the Stove if you fry and don't use a screen. I use it right out of the bottle on a sponge then spray Alcohol on the space and wipe with a paper towel, boy it makes it shine.

    • Eva Eva on Jan 04, 2021

      Hi, thank you for such a great tip. Sometimes our kitchen surfaces don’t always get the loving care they deserve so I will definitely be trying out this technique. Thank you!

  • Melba_cunningham Melba_cunningham on Dec 21, 2021

    Perhaps you should try to use a special tool for cleaning and restoring wood called Wood Reviver? I have already used this tool to clean my old chest and everything worked perfectly! I'm not sure if this cleaning tool will help in your case, but it's probably better to try than to do nothing, right?

    • Melba_cunningham Melba_cunningham on Dec 21, 2021

      Handle this antique very carefully because in ten, perhaps twenty years, such a bedside table may cost ten, or maybe even twenty times more! My grandfather, for example, sold most of his old furniture to special collectors. Perhaps you should look for a particular custom furniture restoration service? Of course, such a service can cost a little more, but you definitely won't damage the furniture! There are enough of these services on the internet, just find the right website! I wish you good luck. I hope you succeed!

  • Eva Eva on Dec 21, 2021

    Hi Melba, that sounds like a good idea, thank you! I’m afraid I had to put the dresser project aside for a while as I got into other, more pressing, projects for now but I always make mental notes of good ideas!

    I wish you and your family a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Apr 01, 2022

    Beeswax finish is a popular choice for furniture, but it does have some disadvantages.

    It can be pricey and difficult to apply without a lot of practice.

  • Eva Eva on Apr 01, 2022

    Hi Chloe, thank you. Beeswax seems to be the choice of many who value their family heirlooms. Have a good day!