Friday, December 17, 2010
Lovely title, don't you think? It gets the point across anyway. The way I consider things - that is, if there's a chance that I'm going to eat something directly off the surface of something else - then I want to minimise the chance that either is going to cause me harm. Or my child harm. Or my husband harm. Which is why, for instance, I clean my benchtops
And when I got a new garden setting for Robbie for Christmas, and I wanted to protect it from the torrents of rain we've been getting, I had to come up with an alternate solution. An alternate to the fume-ridden pots of oil I bought last time I had outdoor wood to protect. Because the whole point of the table and bench and chairs is eating outside. Eating. Eating those little crumbs that get nudged off the plate. The tidbit that falls off the fork between serving platter and plate (or plate and mouth, for that matter - if you're like me). You see what I mean.
So I'll do this myself, I thought. And I trawled the internet looking for recipes - and let me tell you the whole furniture polish topic is hotly contested out there! I won't bore you with the details, but I did find one forum where people were openly calling each other idiots ... And what did it all come down to? Common sense, I reckon. If you have a $30,000 antique chest of drawers - do NOT apply anything without consulting an expert first. If you're like me, and you just want some sort of non-toxic product to protect some furniture you paid a couple hundred dollars for ... read on.
Anyway, here's what I figured: oil for moisture, wax for waterproofing. Simple. Easy. And so the beeswax and olive oil furniture polish was born. I chose olive oil because 1) I usually have it on-hand, 2) it's not prohibitively expensive, and 3) it has a long shelf life - meaning that your table shouldn't go rancid. And beeswax - ditto!
Beeswax and Olive Oil Furniture Polish
Makes enough to polish 1 new double-seater bench or 1 new outdoor table
1 c shaved natural beeswax*
1/4 c olive oil
6 drops lemon or orange essential oil (optional)
a soft cloth (I used an old, cut-up T-shirt)
*I ordered my organic beeswax from a farm in Australia (via Ebay). I use it to make lip balm as well! It's actually really great to have in your cupboard, so I recommend you invest in some. It's not that expensive - the site where I got mine is currently selling for $12 / 750g. Beeswax can be used for beauty and candles and polishes and lasts ages.
I know, you never imagined you'd buy beeswax. Me either. Now I want bees.
1. Shave the beeswax into a bowl and melt together with the olive oil and orange or lemon essential oil.
2. Warm it up in a low-heat oven or over a pot of boiling water until the mixture melts together. It'll proceed to harden again into the paste above.
NOTE: Don't be silly and dip your cloth into the recently-melted liquid!! It'll be quite hot!
3. Smooth a bit over your wood surface, till the wood loses that 'dry' look. And looks oiled instead. Then, when you're finished, grab a clean cloth and wipe off any excess.
NOTE: You can have too much of a good thing. Excess polish left on the wood can cause dirt to adhere to it. Or your arm. Or your newspaper.
You'll probably get by with polishing your furniture once or twice a year - though after the first time you'll have to clean it with a mild soap before re-polishing.
Each portion of certified organic furniture polish cost me $1.50. And smells great!
I'm pretty excited about the prospect of long summer dinners outside ... with candles hanging from the tree ... and with the fruit bats flying over ...