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