I developed a furniture salve recipe to update some antique furniture. I didn’t want to mess up the original finish, but also didn’t want to spend almost $30 on one tiny 8oz tin of the Wise Owl furniture salve. Instead, I made one myself and I absolutely love it!

Why wood salve?

I first encountered wood salve when I was watching the Instagram stories of one of my favorite furniture restoring influencers. She showed a product called Wise Owl furniture salve that she used to refresh the inside of the dressers she refinished. It looked like an absolutely amazing way to revitalize wood. But when I looked up the price tag for this Wise Owl furniture salve, I was shocked. There’s NO way I could spend spend that much on something I could see myself using often.

What do you use wood salve on?

I love to thrift for the best furniture finds and spruce them up. Paint them. Strip them with oven cleaner. Do anything to make them look new and updated. And I’m always looking for new ideas to rejuvenate items are too vintage for me to want to mess with the finish on them.

For example, we have a stunning piano that needed a little loving and I wanted to keep it just like it was. I also had a beverage cart that I’m sure is from the early 1900s. While it isn’t exactly my taste, I didn’t have the heart to take a sander to it.

I needed a solution that filled in some of the imperfections, while giving it a little protection from future nicks and water marks. I knew a something like the Wise Owl furniture salve was what I wanted to use. But I also knew that if I was going to spend $30, I was going to invest that into ingredients to make my own!

Years ago, I made a healing salve and loved the butter texture. It was a bit creamy and not sticky or oily. It seemed perfect to repurpose for this furniture ointment project. I set to work using the ratios from the original recipe and swapping out oils and waxes I knew would be beneficial for furniture. This is what I came up with and I’m SO in love!

What you’ll need:

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Sometimes I just want to rejuvenate, protect, and seal the beautiful wood pieces. This is exactly what this furniture salve recipe will do for you. My natural formula is derived of simple ingredients with no nasty fillers:


Natural Oils

Hemp Seed Oil – The high hemp seed oil content of the salve puts moisture back into the wood and conditions it. While hemp seed oil alone would do a good job, it’s runny and hard to use. Additionally, there’s no water protection to prevent future damage because it doesn’t have wax which leaves a layer on the wood to safeguard the piece.

Coconut oil – The coconut oil formula conditions wood, much like the hemp oil does. Coconut oil is also a natural super oil because it has bactericidal properties – protects the wood. Also, because it’s solid at room temperature, this small amount of coconut oil adds firmness to the salve and gives it a butter texture.

Natural Waxes

Yellow Beeswax Pellets – Beeswax is amazing and helps the furniture salve to leave a thin coating on the wood making it more water resistant – provides protection. You could absolutely use melted regular beeswax, but it was important for me to not have to clean any pots or spoons. I just wanted to be able to measure the pellets right into the jar and melt it in the mason jar I’ll be using to store it. Because beeswax tends to make SUCH a mess, I avoid making things with it. So this option of pellets allows me to use something I’d normally avoid.

Candelilla Wax – Candelilla wax is another natural wax that helps to seal the wood to protect it from future damage like water rings. I used a flaked version of this so, again, it doesn’t need to be melted before being measured.


Essential Oils – I used lemon and lavender but you could use any kind you’d like for an amazing smell.

The benefits of furniture salve come because we use such amazing, natural products to make it!

furniture salve recipe ingredients

How do you make wood salve?

I wanted this process to be as mess free as it could possibly be. I HATE to clean up after melting beeswax. When I’ve made lotion bars or lip balm in the past, it’s a horrible chore to clean up afterwards. Additionally, you really need to have special pans and tools that you only use with beeswax because it never really comes off!

Makeshift double boiler:

So I decided to create a double boiler type system. I put a pot on the bottom, with an inch or so of water. Then I put all the ingredients into an 8oz mason jar and put that into the water. I made sure the water and the jar were room temperature so there wouldn’t be any breakage from adding a cold jar to hot water.

Heat ingredients

Measure the hemp oil, coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and candelilla flaked wax into the jar. Turn the fire on low and allow it to completely melt. Use a bamboo skewer to stir the mixture, so you can just throw it away afterwards.

pot with water and mason jar of ingredients

Clearly, we were all out of bamboo skewers so I used a pencil! I wiped it off and resharpened it when I was done. Not ideal, but I didn’t want to wait to make this until conditions were ideal!

melting furniture salve ingredients

Add scent and cool

After it’s all melted, add the essential oils. I used 15 drops total, but it doesn’t have an incredibly strong scent, so I think you could definitely use more. Put it on a cooling rack to cool until it’s room temperature. Then it’s ready to use!

furniture salve recipe cooling

What is furniture salve used for?

This natural furniture salve recipe has a multitude of uses. Its easy application will make you want to use it on everything! It creates a very soft sheen on raw wood or finished wood. It’s strong formula contains natural products that make it perfect to use in place of furniture wax.

It’s such an amazing natural alternative to so many products. I think once you try it, you’ll see that it has endless applications!

Using furniture salve on stained wood

A good reason to make this furniture polish is to go over the top of a piece that’s already finished. Simply use a 0000 steel wool pad or a natural bristle brush and apply furniture salve in circular motions. Don’t use too much because you’ll be wiping off the excess. You can always add another coat, so less is more.

Add another coat if needed and after allowing it to sit for a few hours to soak into the wood, buff off the excess with a lint-free cloth. It’s so easy and provides a natural sealant to your stained wood.

See how it works!

Here’s a quick video of me adding the furniture salve to a vintage beverage cart in two different places. There’s actually quite a bit of damage to this cart, but I was shocked at how much better it looked! I would never want to claim that it removed markings or scratches or water rings, but it goes a long way to disguise those marks and give future water protection.

I was using my iPhone this particular day, so the photos aren’t spectacular, but I wanted to make sure I documented the before and after of this piece. There’s a beautiful wood and glass tray that sits on top, but the underneath was kind of a wreck. Here’s the before.

before picture of beverage cart

And here’s the after photo with two coats of furniture salve on top. You can see that the wood damage around the edges is still pretty rough. However, the middle section is drastically better! It even brought back the original color of the wood finish!

after picture of beverage cart

Once I placed the beautiful tray back on top, the damaged edges don’t even show, and the newly beautified center part of the beverage card shines through!

Such a small investment to take a piece of furniture I was ready to get rid of and turn it back into something I love!

beverage cart after furniture salve
beverage cart after furniture salve

Using furniture salve on unfinished wood

I love to use this furniture salve to give a light finish and natural sealant to raw wood. Use this natural bristle brush to apply the furniture salve in circular motions. I let mine sit for a few hours to let those natural oils soak in. You can do more than one coat for extra protection if you’d like. Then within 24 hours, polish it with a lint-free cloth.

You can also use this natural alternative after you stain wood as a final layer in place of polyurethane. I think you’ll find this furniture salve to be a perfect way to seal and provide water protection for your raw wood or stained wood pieces.

Using furniture salve over chalk synthesis paint or mineral paint

Another way this furniture salve recipe can be used is as a top coat on chalk synthesis paint or mineral paint. While mineral paint does not usually need a top coat, a wax can deepen the color and give a protective coat on the painted surface. Chalk synthesis paint DOES need to have a top coat and this furniture salve darkens and protects the chalk paint.

Using furniture salve on metal

Another way to use this is to clean up and rehydrate older metal. I think you’ll be shocked at what a difference it makes on antique metals to shine up the beauty of years of patina.

Other uses for furniture salve:

I did some research online and looked at the benefits of Wise Owl furniture salve on common household areas and thought I’d try it with mine too. It worked like a charm! There’s so many other ways to use this furniture salve recipe!

Here are some of them:

Rehydrating the old vinyl interior dashboard of your car

Using it on trim on the exterior of the car

Shining up stainless-steel appliances – it makes it SO pretty!

Your kitchen sink (mine is enameled cast iron and it works great!)

Applying it on hinges to fix the squeaks

Sealing the inside of antique drawers to help mask unwanted smells

Shining up foggy headlights

Benefits of furniture salve:

Outside of what we’ve already discussed, this furniture salve has plenty of benefits for your skin. It feels great! All the natural ingredients make it an excellent hand moisturizer and cuticle and nail treatment. Isn’t that crazy?!

Is furniture salve the same as wax?

It’s similar but quite different. While wax gives water protection, it does not usually hydrate and condition the wood. It simply adds a protective coating. Similarly, oils and wood conditioners moisturize the wood, but don’t protect it. This furniture salve is the best of both worlds. It’s soft and easy to use – unlike hard waxes or runny oils. Plus it adds moisture to the wood, while leaving behind a protective layer of wax.

Can I make different furniture salve scents?

Yes! I love to make this natural furniture salve in a variety of scents. The essential oils smell great and make your wood pieces smell great too! You could make calming scents like lavender, sweet orange or chamomile. For a broad appeal try vanilla, tea tree, lemon, peppermint, or bergamot. Alternatively, you can make a traditional masculine scent with patchouli, cedar wood, spruce, or frankincense. I think you’ll find that adding a scent gives you aromatherapy enjoyment! I’d love to hear what new furniture salve scents you make!

I think this natural furniture salve will really up your refinishing game! Get together with your friends and divide the cost of the items and make a few batches to split. Then you can get in a girls afternoon and go home with something super useful!

Furniture Salve

This furniture salve helps to protect your wood, and can even fill in some of the unsightly rings and marks on your wood surfaces!

  • 1/2 cup hemp oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp beeswax pellets
  • 1 Tbsp candelilla wax
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil

To make

  1. Fill bottom of pan with about an inch or two of water.

  2. Add all ingredients (except the essential oils ) into an 8oz. mason jar. Place mason jar in pot with water. This will act like a double boiler.

  3. Turn burner on low and the water will heat up, allowing contents of the jar to melt. Use a bamboo skewer to stir the oils and waxes until they are melted. Make sure not to get the water from the pot into the jar!

  4. Remove the jar from the water, add the essential oils and give it a stir.

  5. Allow the mixture in the jar to cool completely.

To use over a finished piece

  1. Use a 0000 steel wool pad to get salve out of the jar. Gently rub the surface of your wood with the steel wool and salve in circular motions, working it into the wood.

  2. After you’ve worked the salve into the wood, polish it with an old white tshirt to remove any extra salve and polish the surface.

  3. Repeat if desired.

For unfinished wood

  1. Use this brush to apply the furniture salve in circular motions. After it sits for a little while, polish it (within 24 hours) with a white t-shirt rag. I use something like this because they are clean and lint free.

For use with Chalk Paint

  1. Another way this furniture salve recipe can be used is as a top coat on chalk paint or mineral paint. While mineral paint does not usually need a top coat, a wax can deepen the color and give a protective coat on the painted surface. Chalk paint DOES need to have a top coat and this furniture salve darkens and protects the chalk paint. 

For Antique Metals

  1. Another way to use this is to clean up and rehydrate older metal. I think you’ll be shocked at what a difference it makes on antique metals. 

Other ways to use this furniture salve recipe

  1. Rehydrating the interior dashboard of your car

    Using it on trim on the exterior of the car

    Shining up stainless steel appliances

    Applying it on hinges to fix the squeaks

    Sealing the inside of antique drawers

13 Replies to “Super Easy Copycat Wise Owl Furniture Salve Recipe”

  1. I LOVE this!! I have so many pieces of wooden furniture and this is perfect to help upkeep the beautiful wood. Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad!!! Let me know how it compares to the kind you buy if you make it! I’ve never purchased it so I’d love to know!

  2. I love this post and all the detailed information and tips. The wood looks fantastic in these incredible before-and-after pictures. I’m definitively trying this recipe for my wood furniture. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Is this good for leather too? Also, the coconut oil – is this the solid or the liquid coconut oil?

    1. I have never used it on leather, but I would probably search to see if each of the ingredients is good for leather before trying. I use solid coconut oil.

      1. Coconut oil in Phoenix is only solid in the winter. Once temps are over 70° it becomes liquid. So I added a little extra candelilla wax and bees wax. I’m waiting for it to solidify.

        1. It turned out very well!! I have used it on a dry teak stool . The ingredients are safe to use on cutting boards and wooden dishes too.

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