Seasonal Recipes: Homemade natural orange and candelilla furniture wax

Homemade natural orange and candelilla furniture wax

We have had the same french pine kitchen table for nearly 20 years.  It started as a big desk for writing university essays in my late teens, and it is now in the centre of our kitchen, where our family of six have our meals everyday.  With a bit of a scrub with furniture wax once in a while, I’m hoping we never have to replace it.  Every tiny nick and scratch is part of our family’s story; a new one would never be the same.

For this simple recipe I use candelilla* wax beads although traditional recipes would use beeswax, and it’s interchangeable, in the same quantities.

For a much firmer wax, to use as a scrub to lift stubborn ingrained dirt, use 100g wax and 100ml oil.  The orange peel is optional, but releases a lovely scent and helps to add a finish to wooden furniture.

-Always try an out-of-sight test patch first-


40g candelilla wax

100ml unscented mineral/baby oil

5 drops orange essential oil

peel of half an orange


Kitchen scales

Measuring jug

Saucepan and bowl

Recycled glass jar with a screw-top lid

Wooden skewer


Place the wax beads and oil into the glass jar.

Sit the glass jar inside a small bowl, and then place the bowl into a saucepan of boiling water.

Keep the saucepan on the hob, on a gently rolling boil as if you were melting chocolate.

Stir the wax beads gently with a wooden skewer until they melts into a liquid, which resembles the colour of caramel.  (This can take a while if the glass jar is very thick, and sometimes I have to melt the wax directly in the bowl and pour into the jar afterwards.)

Place the glass jar on a heatproof surface to cool and then sprinkle in the orange peel bit by bit.  Don’t be tempted to stir it into the mixture, as the orange peel will form one giant mass – instead gently encourage the pieces of peel into the fast-setting liquid with little darting prods of the skewer.

To apply, use an old cloth to work a small portion of wax into the furniture and then keep rubbing until all of the wax is lifted from the surface.

Top tip: If any of the cooking equipment gets covered in wax, boil a kettle and pour the hot water over the effected area, then wipe clean with a cloth.

*Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub.  The leaves have a natural coating to protect against the heat of the desert, and when they boiled and processed, candelilla wax is obtained.  You can buy it in bead form from craft shops and online stores and it’s a great substitute for beeswax in recipes.

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Candelilla Wax 100g

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ll bet this smells good

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It smells a little bit like Christmas to me. I might add tiny hint of clove to the next batch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D > Great – I’ve got to try this, as I’m fed up with paying an arm and a leg for furniture wax sent from the mainland, the p+p almost doubling the cost – and your recipe will be far more pleasing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much 🙂 I tinkered with the ratio of wax to oil until it was exactly the same consistency as the expensive wax I used to buy. If you start off with less wax, you can keep remelting it and adding more. Good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robyn Haynes says:

    I wasn’t familiar with candelilla wax until now. I’ve always used bees’ wax to care for my old pine table but it is quite expensive. I plan to look out for the candelilla beads so I can try your recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a new find for me early last year, when I was looking for an alternative to beeswax for a range of different home remedies and cleaners. In my experience it works as a direct switch in most cases, and it’s cheaper – just takes slightly longer to melt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Thanks. I just need to find it now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow this is a really great post and actually comes to me just in time! I’ve been making my own beard balm for a good while now and have been using beeswax as a holding agent. This is what is typically used in beard balms and waxes.But at this point, im ready to start making a more personal and VEGAN recipe! I’ve just found out that Candelilla wax was a thing and have become very interested.

    Do you think that Candelilla wax. and be used as a beeswax replacement in skin and hair moisturizers? I wouldn’t want it to damage my hair or skin.

    What are you thoughts on this?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Thomas, I have grabbed the packet from the last batch of beads I used, and it says “it has a workable texture that is easily absorbed into the skin” for creams, but advises to keep away from the eye area.

      I’m currently working on a frankincense beauty balm recipe (I’m hoping to mimic the Neil’s Yard beauty balm) – and when I’ve got the recipe down, and I’m happy with the results (!) I’ll post it up on the site.

      Would LOVE to hear how you get on with your own plans for waxes and balms – like you, I’m busily trying to veganise everything I can 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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