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Waterproof Your Boots with Beeswax
Beeswax is a wonderful natural wax that is made by bees. We have many great uses for this natural wax. One popular technique is beeswax waterproofing for boots. This requires no other ingredients beyond a little beeswax. A great way to breath some new life into your old hiking boots.
Of course, it is not only leather boots that benefit from beeswax waterproofing – you can do the same with many canvas sneakers too.
However, you should understand that the wax can change the appearance of the shoe surface.
Maybe you are hesitate to do this with new boots (though it would work) , still it’s a great way to keep your toes dry inside older boots used around the farm.
Beeswax has a long history of being used to repel water from materials such as belts, tents, backpacks, etc.
Why is Beeswax Waterproof?
When this natural wax is rubbed onto the surface of materials such as leather and then heated, some of the wax works into the fibers of the materials.
Beeswax is not water soluble so it blocks moisture from being able to penetrate the shoe leather.
Of course, this benefit doesnt last forever. If you wear your boots a lot in wet dirty conditions, you will need to reapply your beeswax waterproofing recipe at some time in the future.
Where to Buy Beeswax
The most inexpensive way to purchase beeswax is from a beekeeper. They usually have raw beeswax for sale that has been cleaned and is ready to use.
And of course, you can buy beeswax online. Beeswax pellets are easy to use and easy to melt but you do pay a bit more for this convenience.
I prefer using blocks of natural beeswax only because I can more readily tell that they are pure wax without additives.
If you buy a block of wax from a beekeeper, you can carefully use a kitchen grater to shave the larger block into smaller pieces. This makes the wax easier to melt.
Quick Tip on Melting Your Beeswax
You can melt a small about of beeswax in either a double boiler or use a can set in a pot of water to simulate a double boiler. This is the safest way of melting beeswax.
For those of you who do not wish to use the double boiler method, you can use a microwave to melt beeswax for this project.
However, remember that beeswax is flammable if overheated. You must melt it slowly in small increments of time and do not leave it unattended.
Beeswax is easy to work with but it is not easy to clean up. Most crafters have dedicated pots, bowls or spoons to use when working with wax.
A disposable bowl may be a useful tool for melting your wax for this project. But, be sure you do not choose one that is wax-coated…LOL Duh, I didn’t really think that would work did I?
Cleaning Boots Prior to Waxing Them
If your boots are anything like mine, they have some dirt encrusted here and there.
Clean the outside surface of your boots thoroughly. They do not have to look pristine (I think mine have a few paint specks). However, be sure to remove any loose dirt on the leather.
If you use a damp cloth to clean the boots, they must be allowed to dry before applying beeswax.
Wax must only be applied to boots that are completely dry or the wax will not adhere properly.
Items Needed to Use Beeswax Waterproofing on Boots
- leather boots
- container to melt wax in
- old t-shirt scrap
- old tooth brush or small craft brush
- heat gun or hair dryer
Prepare your surface with some type of paper underneath to catch drips. You can use aluminum foil, wax paper, or even paper towels for easy clean up.
If the weather is cold, warm the boots up just a bit before applying wax. This is help the warm beeswax adhere to the shoe surface.
Melt a small about of beeswax in a suitable container. The container should have an opening large enough to dip a cloth or brush into.
If you use a glass measuring cup (like I did) in the microwave, have a pot holder handy because that handle gets hot!!
Once the beeswax is melted, apply wax to one boot at a time. You can use a small piece of cotton t-shirt material or similar. Just dip a corner into the wax and rub it onto the leather.
I like using a small paint brush or tooth brush better than a cloth because I feel like I have more control.
As the wax cools, your boot will take on a white appearance. That’s okay – it’s not going to stay that way. Continue until the leather surfaces of both boots are coated with beeswax.
Be sure to coat every part of the boot paying special attention to the toe and heal area. Use a toothbrush or q tip to work the wax into the seams of the boot.
Now, we want to seal the wax into the boot leather. This is done by applying some extra heat.
Using a hair dryer is one safe method of sealing the wax. However, using a heat gun is much better.
The heat gun is easier to work with because you only have heat coming out of it not a strong force of air.
Most heat guns have a high and low setting and you may be surprised at the other uses you will find for them around the house.
As you work with the heat gun, take care. You do not want to overheat the shoe. Keep the heat source several inches away from the shoe leather.
Use a clean soft towel to buff away the excess wax. Heat a small section of the boot, then use a circular motion to rub the wax into the leather.
Repeat until you have worker over the entire leather surface of the boot.
Final Tips on Beeswax Waterproofing for Boots
As with any project, it is a good idea to try this on a small spot first before you coat the whole shoe. Even though beeswax works well with many surfaces, it is best to try a test spot first.
This beeswax treatment should keep your hiking boots dry for a while. But, if you get them really wet and dirty you may have to repeat the process in the future.
This is a great way to get some extra wear out of those old boots. And, this beeswax waterproofing recipe will help keep your toes dry on the wettest days.