The finish certainly makes or breaks a project, both due to how it can aesthetically change a project and offer it protection against various factors.
While there are plenty of different finishes to choose from, finding the correct one for your project is the part that requires mastery, as each finish has its advantages and disadvantages.
When it comes to cutting boards, this process is even more crucial, as the food you need to apply to a cutting board needs to be food-safe; since your cutting board will be coming into contact with food all the time.
Beeswax is one of the finishes that instantly come to mind when we think of food safety, as food-grade beeswax is entirely safe for human consumption, making it one of the safest options.
So, is beeswax a good option for cutting boards?
Food-grade beeswax is a fantastic material to finish your cutting boards with as it’s completely natural and food-safe.
A beeswax finish will bring a smooth and aesthetically pleasing shine to your cutting board and nourish the wood in a cost-efficient way.
Let’s take a deeper look into what makes food-grade beeswax a good option for cutting boards, as well as the factors that may make it unsuitable for some projects for a better understanding of when and when not to use beeswax on cutting boards.
Is Beeswax Good for Cutting Boards?
The primary factor that makes food-grade beeswax shine for cutting boards is that it’s entirely natural and food-safe, which isn’t a quality you can find in all wood finishes.
Alongside being food-safe, beeswax has a few qualities that will benefit you and your cutting board, which we have listed below.
- Beeswax is easy to apply and reapply.
- Beeswax repairs minor scratches and imperfections that happen with usage.
- Beeswax brings a smooth and shiny finish to your project.
As with everything else, there are a few drawbacks to using beeswax on a cutting board, and while they won’t be a problem in most cases, it’s necessary to be aware of them.
- Beeswax only offers minor scratch protection.
- Beeswax can melt when exposed to heat, damaging the integrity of the finish.
As long as you keep it away from excessive heat, food-grade beeswax is one of the best finishes you can use on a cutting board as it’s natural and food-safe, it repairs scratches that may appear as a result of usage, and it brings a smooth and shiny look to your cutting board.
With that, let’s move on to how you can use beeswax on a cutting board.
How Do You Use Beeswax on a Cutting Board?
Using beeswax on a cutting board is pretty straightforward due to beeswax, in general, being an easy finish to both apply and reapply when necessary.
Here are the steps we recommend taking for using beeswax on a cutting board.
- Start by mixing two to four parts of food-grade mineral oil with one part of food-grade beeswax and melting them in a pot together. While it’s optional to add mineral oil, we have found that it produces better results than applying beeswax by itself.
- Stir the combination of beeswax and mineral periodically to avoid clumping and sticking to the pot during the melting process.
- When the wax completely melts in the mineral oil, which should roughly take 30 minutes, transfer it to a container (or a few different containers) and let them dry. The drying process can take a few hours, depending on the environment and the containers you have used.
- If the wax has completely hardened, it means that it’s ready to use. Wear some gloves and start applying the wax evenly throughout the surface with a piece of cotton cloth or rag.
- After covering the entire surface, let the cutting board sit overnight for the wax to solidify.
- If you wish to, you can buff the wax with a cotton rag to make it look shinier.
White or Yellow Beeswax for Cutting Boards?
When you are in the market for some beeswax, you may notice that it’s possible to find both yellow and white beeswax.
While yellow beeswax goes through heat treatment for refinement, white beeswax undergoes a treatment called pressure-filtering, which strips the yellow color of the beeswax alongside refining it.
Between the two, yellow beeswax is considered to be the purer option due to the differences in the processes, but this doesn’t mean that white beeswax can’t be natural.
Both white and yellow beeswax is perfectly suitable for cutting boards as long as you buy them from a trustable manufacturer that states they are pure and food-safe.
While beeswax in its natural form is food-safe, it may be chemically processed in some cases, which is why it’s vital to always look for the words “food safe” in the manufacturer’s description.
Beeswax Alternatives for Cutting Boards
If you have decided not to go with beeswax for your cutting board, there are some alternatives you can use that are also food-safe; but bring different qualities to the table.
- Carnauba wax – Carnauba wax is a food-safe plant-based wax that behaves quite similarly to beeswax, and it can also tolerate hotter temperatures than beeswax as it has a higher melting point.
- Distilled (fractionated) coconut oil – While coconut oil is fantastic to use on a cutting board, it’s more of a treatment than a finish as it’s a non-drying oil. As it’s completely odorless and tasteless, you can frequently use it to prep your cutting board.
- Food-grade mineral oil – We have already suggested mixing beeswax with mineral oil, but you can also use it by itself if you wish to. Regularly applying mineral oil to your cutting board protects it from bacteria and prevents it from becoming dry.
Food-grade beeswax is definitely a finish you can safely use on your cutting boards as it’s completely natural and safe for human consumption.
Combined with the other benefits it brings, such as repairing your cutting board and giving it an aesthetically pleasing shine, we don’t see much of a reason not to use beeswax.
While it’s undeniable that beeswax doesn’t do too well against high heat, your cutting board will most likely not be exposed to such temperatures in most scenarios, especially if you are careful.