Decor home decor

Why my butcher block countertops and mineral oil are getting a divorce

I know. You’re sitting there thinking “Is she seriously writing another post about her butcher block countertops?” Consider me your science experiment. No really. Take my mistakes and trial and errors and learn from them, so you don’t have to go through all of this with your counters.

If this is this is the first time you’re here, may I suggest reading my first two posts on the subject of butcher blocks.

Adventures in Staining Butcher Block  – This where I talk about our previous IKEA butcher block countertops. I go over various ways of staining them, using Dark Tung Oil, why it didn’t work for our kitchen and link to about 10 other posts from bloggers using different things for their butcher blocks.

What it’s really like having a Butcher Block counter top – This is where I talk about our second and current set of butcher block countertops from Lumber Liquidators. I go over all of the Pros and Cons and the reality that comes with having them in your kitchen to help you decide if they’re right for your kitchen.

And this is the post where I finally give up on mineral oil as my preferred method of treating my countertops and explain why I switched to Fusion Beeswax Finish. I was first introduced to Beeswax as a treatment method by Old Town Home and Sarah from the Ugly Duckling House. They both use different products but both use a combination of an oil with a beeswax on it.

For a long time I thought mineral oil was enough. And to tell you the truth, with the lighter IKEA countertops, it really isn’t a bad choice still. But when we got the new counter tops here, the walnut wood which is obviously darker with more colour variation, changed that completely.

Here is a very candid photo of what your butcher block can possibly l look like after daily use *IF* you don’t properly maintain it. I am talking strictly for those of you using an oil, not those of you who have sealed with a polyurethane style sealant.

Coffee spills. Patches of wood drying out. Food and flour being sifted into the grain. Water marks. Etc. On dark wood, this shows up WAY more than the light wood. It’s the same as your floors. Dark wood shows every speck of dust on the planet. Light wood, is a lot more forgiving.

So I was fed up with how quickly our walnut butcher block was drying out and looking blotchy that I started looking into other solutions. I’ve debated on using Waterlox but I am not there yet. If I get there, I’ll write another post and then you can really question why I have butcher block counters to begin with. I came across Fusion’s Beeswax products through my friend Laurie from Vinyet Etc. who is a big fan of the product. I figure why not? Let’s try it.

This is the best side by side photo I could get where I could see the wax line and the messy dried out part. Wax is very subtle and you have rub it onto the counters in a circular motion, then it starts to do it’s thing. This was the first run at the wax.

Fusion Beeswax is made of 100% pure beeswax and hemp oil. That’s it. It’s food safe, which is very important to me because I cook a lot and food is all over our counter tops during baking marathons. But it also leaves a matte finish which is one of the reasons I have not used a polyurethane finish. I am not a fan of shiny wood counters, furniture, floors, you name it.

What did it look like after I finished applying it?


Those photos are the exact same parts of my counter top as the first series of photos. Just with the beeswax on it. Game changing.

I did wait a month before I wrote this post so I could live with it and see how it held up and how well it cured. Here are some things I learned.

  • You can still get water rings (this happened more towards the end of the month) but that happens on any surface, wood or otherwise.
  • You will need to do spot touch up and reapply in high traffic use areas of your butcher block (i.e. around the sink where water tends to gather)
  • It is very durable and almost unaffected by scrubbing. I use my scouring pads on my counters to remove dried up tomato sauce and the spot still stayed the same shade as before. I still feel water is a butcher block counters worse enemy because my scouring pads don’t affect my counter tops as much as water does. Fusion’s paint line is also very good at holding up against scouring pads and I can attest to that because I painted our old kitchen cabinets with it.
  • The colour is still vastly more rich than it was using the mineral oil and stayed that way for the month. With repeated treatments (you should treat your counter tops at least once a month to keep them in good condition) I can only see this product making them better over time.
  • The best benefit was the lack of greasy feeling. Mineral oil even after sinking it, can leave a residue so that if you put a piece of paper on your counters, it will seep through it and leave oil spots on the paper. With this, there were touches of that, but nowhere near as oily as the mineral oil.
  • It’s a very smooth matte finish that really makes the wood tones pop.

That means, for now, I am divorcing my mineral oil in favour of Fusion Beeswax finish. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. You can purchase Fusion Beeswax directly from Fusion Mineral Paint’s site or look up their retailer list to find a retailer near you. Better yet, go visit Laurie’s site and ask her what she thinks of it. I owe this find to her.


  • Reply
    Sarah | The Ugly Duckling House
    November 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Your counters look beautiful! I’ve been rethinking my own counters for when I resell (I love the look of my beeswax/oil but I’m not convinced the next owner will appreciate the maintenance, and I don’t put food directly on them when I’m cutting food, so I want something that will harden the wood itself). Still juggling my options!

    • Reply
      November 17, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      It’s a little crazy how much maintenance they require. I want a product to have that matte look but waterproof it at the same time. I’ve used stains like those on different wood projects and inevitably one area always wear down and you have to reapply. Then it’s patchy and you have to wind up sanding etc etc. I do like that the Beeswax does help the wood grain retain that variation and deep tone longer. So I completely get where you’re coming from.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    great post! you can talk about your butcher block counters all day in my opinion–i’m learning so much! we’ve just recently installed our counters and i am using the beeswax/mineral oil product as recommended by your references above. thanks! i was wondering what you do for daily upkeep? do you use any cleaners for the regular use/abuse of your counters?

    • Reply
      November 23, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Daily upkeep is really easy. I just use whatever cleaner I have on hand. I think the best tip (and I realize this may be common sense) is don’t use paper towels. I mean you can, but running it over wood is not that…umm, convenient? Paper shredding. I do try to polish them with the Beeswax/oil once a month but I’ll be honest I often forget. Until I get fed up with how dry the wood looks and go “Nope. This can’t happen.” I may be a year away from using a polyurathane finish on them but I can’t find anything that I trust not to wear down in certain spots and then have to sand and refinish. I will say the longer I have the counters, the more character they develop.

      • Reply
        November 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

        phew! i am thankful for your ‘cest la vie’ perspective. your easy-going attitude has been really helping me let go of my constant worry!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    You’re hilarious!

  • Reply
    Nicole Ostertag
    March 28, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    So what should I use to wipe down counters then when I clean up? Just a wash cloth with soap and water or a cleaner like you recommended?! And the water will break down the look overtime but not ruin them? Also–how is it holding up around your sink? Lastly–I haven’t commented on your blog before–how do I know when you respond? Otherwise I sent my email ! Thank you so much for so many great tips to read!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Once you sand then and oil them, use beeswax or protect them in the way you see fit, they should be fairly easy to wipe with paper towels and a cleaner. BUT for me personally, rags and dishcloths I find always just work better.

      I’ve sprayed ours with everything from natural cleaners to Lysol to soap and water to really deep clean. Hot water always works. Imagine cleaning a wood cutting board. It’s exactly the same.

      The area around our sink is great! But that’s due in part to the sink we chose where the IKEA DOMSJO sink doesn’t have the faucet going directly into the wood. Only the edges of the sink attach to the wood. Even then, absolutely no problems at all and I am not careful with wiping up water on time and so forth. That’s with these counters from Lumber Liquidators. I have a link in here that shares our experience with the IKEA ones and the faucet mounted into the butcher block – that didn’t work as well. So the butcher block counts and how you protect it counts.

      In terms of my reply, it should show up as soon as I press reply on this comment in your In Box. If it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll have my tech guy take a look at it as I should have it set up for notifications that way.

      Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Hello, very much enjoyed your insights. I am putting in new butcherblock countertops as we speak… I thought they would look beautiful… apparently most websites your read regarding the product don’t bother to point out the pitfalls of this?? Now im nervous 🙂 So do I oil them before starting the beeswax? What order of things do you recommend? Thank you

    • Reply
      May 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Sand the whole surface first to get rid of any jagged or rough edges. Then use Oil for about a week, every evening to condition it. Then Beeswax and Oil as needed. I have found that with repeated coatings of the Beeswax, I don’t have to work as hard or apply as much as I did with the first coat. If you’re totally against dealing with monthly maintenance on it, definitely look into something like Waterlox or Fusion Mineral Paint’s Clear Stain and Finishing Oil (it’s food safe) to coat them once and be done with it. I may be going this route in the future, but for now I don’t mind the Beeswax. Don’t be nervous. We’re going on year 2 with these counters and they just look better and better as they age.

    I love your comments!