How to Wax Your Wooden Knitting Needles for Maximum Glide and Smoothness

by | Sep 7, 2019

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Do your wooden knitting needles feel dry and rough?  Condition and wax your needles for a lovely finish that lets your stitches glide smoothly!

Wooden knitting needles are pretty common.  If your needles are not metal or plastic, they’re most likely made of wood.

But did you know that there is something you can do to make your wooden needles look nicer, feel smoother, and last longer?

Well, until recently, I didn’t know either.

Just like we apply oils and waxes to wooden furniture, flooring, cutting boards, and other kitchen utensils, we can also use them on our knitting needles.

Even if they have a finish coating on them, wooden items can get dry over time.  Applying oil and wax helps moisturize and seal the wood, which can enhance the beauty and feel of your needles.

So, I decided to try it.

I ordered some Wood Butter on Amazon, which is marketed for wooden cutting boards and utensils.  It’s made of mineral oil and beeswax, which conditions and seals the wood at the same time.  I used a paper towel to apply a coating of the Wood Butter to several sets of needles, and let it absorb into the wood overnight.  The next day, I wiped off any remaining Wood Butter with a dry paper towel.

The results were a little surprising.

Some of the needles I waxed were made of bamboo (the cheapest bamboo needles on Amazon), which were already dry and slightly rough when I got them.  I expected those to absorb the Wood Butter well and feel smoother afterward, which they did.

But the rest of the needles I waxed were laminated birch, which I didn’t think would improve much with the Wood Butter.  They already had a smooth coating, and didn’t feel dry at all.  I figured they probably wouldn’t absorb any of the Wood Butter, but they did absorb a little.  And the surface of the needles felt even better than before.  It isn’t a drastic change, but enough that I can feel a bit of a difference.

Once the excess has been wiped off, the needles don’t feel oily or waxy, and they don’t leave any sticky or oily residue on the yarn as you knit.

This is not something you need to do to your wooden needles all the time, though.  From the info I can find, you only need to condition and wax your needles about once per year (or twice per year if you live in a dry climate).

From the results I had with this experiment, I would definitely recommend trying this on any wooden knitting needles you have.  As a matter of fact, this also works on wooden crochet hooks.  I tried it on my Furls Streamline hook, and it worked quite well.  Now, I need to condition and wax all the rest of my wooden needles!

Have you ever waxed your knitting needles?

Pin the image below to save this tutorial for later!

Do your wooden knitting needles feel dry and rough? Condition and wax your needles for a lovely finish that lets your stitches glide smoothly! #knittingneedles #knittingtips #knittinghacks #yayforyarn
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  1. Chanell

    So the general rule of thumb is (for unfinished products) once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for six months, once more six months later, then once a year for a lifetime.
    For finished products, such as laminated birch and other wood knitting needles you buy, once a year is standard as it is assumed they’ve already gone through such a process or were finished with a material that does not require such a time intensive process.

    Many bamboo seem to come unfinished, so a full conditioning may be in order upon purchase, although I am not totally certain on the rules of bamboo compared to standard woods

  2. Katrina

    This had never occurred to me but I am absolutely going to try it on my bamboo needles!

  3. Linda Lee Sims

    I can’t thank you enough for the article on waxing wood needles/hooks. It was great! All my crafting is done with wood and lately the knitting has been a little hard to do. Husband said the needles were dry. Ordered wax from Amazon thanks to your suggestions. Linda Lee


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