How to wax a bowstring

How to Wax a Bow String Properly (6 Easy Steps)

Waxing a bowstring is a must-know skill for every archer or hunter, as maintaining your bow is as important as learning how to shoot it. Waxing the bowstring provides a long life span by reducing friction between fibers minimizing the risk of damage.

A bowstring is like the engine of the car, It transfer energy to the arrow. So just like the engine of the car needs maintenance to work properly, a bowstring also needs care. But its easy to maintain a bowstring, we are gonna discuss one aspect of maintaining the bow string that is waxing it.

To wax a bow string effectively, start by preparing the string through cleaning. Then, choose the right bow string wax and apply it evenly along the string’s length. Work the wax into the fibers with your fingers or a cloth, and don’t forget to remove any excess wax. Its this easy if done correctly.

How to Choose the Right Wax

Selecting the appropriate bowstring wax is important to protect bowstring. Various types of bowstring waxes are available in the market, each offering distinct features and benefits. Let’s explore the different types of bowstring waxes, along with their pros and cons:

1. Silicone-Based Wax

Silicone-based wax is known for its excellent water resistance, making it an ideal choice for archers who frequently shoot in wet or humid conditions. The silicone content creates a waterproof barrier on the bowstring, protecting it from moisture and reducing the risk of water-induced damage.


  1. Superior water resistance.
  2. Smooth finish for improved shooting performance.
  3. Easy to apply and buff.


  1. May attract dust and debris, requiring more frequent cleaning.
  2. Some archers may find it less suitable for use in extremely cold temperatures.

2. Beeswax-Based Wax

Beeswax-based wax is environmentally friendly and provides excellent lubrication for bow strings. It is derived from natural sources, making it a popular choice among archers who prefer eco-friendly products. Beeswax-based wax also offers good protection against friction and wear. Oh, and it smells great too.


  1. Eco-friendly and natural product.
  2. Provides good lubrication for the bowstring.
  3. Generally works well in various weather conditions.


  1. May require more frequent application compared to other waxes.
  2. Not as water-resistant as silicone-based waxes.

3. Synthetic-Based Wax

Synthetic-based waxes often combine various materials, offering a blend of benefits from different types of waxes. These waxes can be formulated to provide excellent lubrication, water resistance, and protection against wear and tear. They are designed to offer a well-rounded solution for bow string maintenance.


  1. Versatile and may offer a combination of features from different waxes.
  2. Effective in various shooting conditions.
  3. Provides good protection against friction and wear.


  1. The performance may vary depending on the specific formulation.
  2. Some synthetic-based waxes may leave residue on the bow string.

To find the best bow string waxes available on the market, consider using reliable and highly-rated products that have been tested and recommended by archery enthusiasts.

Remember that the choice of wax depends on your shooting preferences, the environmental conditions you often encounter, and the specific needs of your bowstring. Regular waxing with the right product will enhance the performance and longevity of your bowstring, ensuring you achieve consistent accuracy and precision in your archery endeavors.

How to Wax a Bow String(and Cables)

Waxing your bow string is a simple yet essential maintenance task that will ensure your bow performs at its best and lasts longer. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you properly wax your bow string:

Step 1: Prepare the Bow String

Before you begin, check the condition of your bow string. Ensure it is free from dirt and debris that may have accumulated during use. Take a soft, clean cloth and gently wipe the entire length of the bowstring to remove any surface dust or dirt. If needed, you can use a bowstring cleaning product according to the manufacturer’s instructions for a more thorough cleaning.

how to clean the string with a thread instructions

Here is a checklist.

  1. Inspect the Bow String

Replace the bow string if you find any signs of fraying, damaged fibers, or excessive wear. In case of recurve bow string the bow before applying wax.

  1. Remove Dirt and Debris

Using the soft cloth or microfiber towel, gently wipe down the entire length of the bow string. Make sure to remove any debris or foreign particles that may have adhered to the string otherwise they can penetrate into the bow string during waxing and damage the fibers.

  1. Ensure the Bow String is Completely Dry

Allow the string to air dry for a sufficient amount of time, or gently pat it dry with a clean, dry cloth.

  1. Remove Old Wax (if applicable)

Use a specialized bow string wax remover or a soft cloth to gently rub off the old wax. Be thorough but gentle to avoid damaging the bow string’s fibers.

Step 2: Select the Right Wax

Choose a high-quality bow string wax that suits your shooting environment and preferences. The synthetic wax is ideal for all archers, many prefer silicon based wax to protect the bowstring against water and moisture. If the string is exposed to water it becomes heavy causing problems in form. Many traditional bow archers use bee wax. There is another candle wax available, but don’t use it as it is said to destroy the string fibers.

Step 3: Apply the Wax

Open your wax tube and expose the wax stick. Rub the wax stick along the exposed part of the bowstring, both lengthwise and horizontally, ensuring an even and thin layer of wax coats the entire string. Be careful not to over-apply wax, as excess wax can attract dirt and debris. Avoid waxing the servings or nocking points because the wax can damage them.

applying wax on the bowstring directly by tube

Step 4: Work the Wax into the String

After applying the wax, use your fingers to rub it into the bowstring. Pinch the bowstring and apply gentle pressure while rubbing to generate heat, allowing the wax to melt and penetrate between the individual strands. Ensure the wax covers the entire surface of the bow string. Rub it up and down so the wax absorbs in the string.

using finger to spread the wax to penetrate it in the bowstring

Step 5: Utilize a Strip for Deeper Penetration

For even better penetration, take a thick fabric cord, a folded piece of paper, or a leather strip. Wrap the strip around the bowstring and work it up and down the string. This motion will spread the wax while pushing it deeper into the spaces between the strands. Avoid applying excessive pressure to prevent overheating and potential damage to the string.

Step 6: Remove Excess Wax

After thoroughly working the wax into the string, use a clean, soft cloth to remove any excess wax. Pay close attention to the bowstring servings and nocking points to avoid smearing wax on them, as this could affect their performance.

applying wax on exposed string caring for the serving

By following this step-by-step guide, you can effectively wax your bow string, ensuring smoother shooting, enhanced durability, and consistent accuracy in your archery pursuits. Regular maintenance and proper waxing will contribute to a longer-lasting and high-performing bowstring.

Curing and Buffing the Wax

Curing the wax is a crucial step to maximize its effectiveness. Allow the wax to sit on the bowstring for a few hours or as recommended by the wax manufacturer. Curing ensures the wax adheres firmly to the fibers. After curing, use a clean cloth to buff the string, removing any excess wax and achieving a smooth finish.

Why do You Need To Wax The Bowstring?

Waxing a bowstring is a crucial maintenance practice in archery. This process serves several essential purposes, which include:

Friction Reduction: Bowstrings are subjected to significant friction during the drawing and releasing of an arrow. Waxing the string adds a lubricating layer that minimizes friction, reducing wear and tear on both the string itself and the bow’s components.

Weather Resistance: Exposure to moisture and environmental elements can weaken bowstrings over time. Waxing acts as a protective barrier, preventing moisture absorption and maintaining the string’s integrity even in adverse weather conditions.

Noise Reduction: A dry, un-waxed string can produce unwanted noise upon release, which is undesirable in hunting scenarios or competitions where stealth and precision are paramount. Waxing dampens the vibrations, resulting in a quieter shot.

String Longevity: Regular waxing contributes to the longevity of the bowstring by preserving its structural integrity. It prevents the fibers from drying out, fraying, or becoming brittle, thereby extending the string’s lifespan.

Safety Enhancement: A dry bowstring cant cope with the tension and has a chance to breakdown during shooting. An adequately waxed bowstring is less prone to snapping or breaking during use. This safety aspect is of utmost importance in archery to prevent accidents and injuries.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your bowstring in top-notch condition regular maintenance is crucial. Here are some essential maintenance tips to follow for a well-waxed bowstring:

1. Regular Inspections:

Perform regular inspections of your bow string after each shooting session. Look for signs of fraying, excessive wear, or any damage to the fibers. Catching potential issues early on will allow you to address them promptly and avoid further damage.

2. Clean and Wax as Needed:

Cleaning the bowstring before waxing is vital to ensure the wax adheres properly. Whenever you notice dirt, debris, or signs of old wax on the string, clean it using a soft cloth or a specialized bowstring cleaner. Once cleaned, reapply the wax as necessary to maintain its smoothness and protection.

3. Monitor String Stretch:

As you shoot your bow regularly, the bow string may experience some stretching. Periodically check the brace height (the distance between the string and the grip) to ensure it remains consistent. Adjust the brace height if needed to maintain optimal performance.

4. Store Your Bow Properly:

When not in use, store your bow in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid leaving it in a strung position for extended periods, as this can cause unnecessary stress on the bow string.

5. Monitor Humidity Levels:

High humidity can cause the bowstring to absorb moisture, potentially leading to performance issues. Be mindful of the humidity levels in your storage area, and consider using moisture-absorbing products to maintain an optimal environment for your bow.

6. Keep Nocking Points and Servings in Good Condition:

Regularly inspect the nocking points and servings (the wrapped areas of the string near the nocking points) for signs of wear. Replace or repair any damaged servings to prevent further deterioration of the bow string.

7. Adjust Nocking Points as Necessary:

As you shoot your bow and apply wax, the position of the nocking points may shift slightly. Check their alignment periodically, and adjust them if needed to maintain proper arrow nocking and consistent shots.

8. Reapply Wax After Extreme Conditions:

If you shoot in challenging weather conditions, such as rain or extreme cold, reapply wax to the bow string afterward. These conditions can wear off the wax faster, so providing an extra layer of protection will help maintain the string’s performance.

How often Should You Rewax the bowstring

To maintain a well-waxed bow string, schedule regular inspections. Depending on usage, it is recommended to wax the bowstring every few weeks or after approximately 100 to 200 shots. Environmental factors, such as humidity and extreme temperatures, can influence the frequency of waxing.

Here is a general guideline:

1. Normal Conditions

If you typically shoot in normal, dry weather conditions and don’t encounter extreme temperatures or humidity, rewaxing your bow string every 2 to 4 weeks or after approximately 100 to 200 shots is generally sufficient. Regular inspections after shooting sessions will help you determine if the string needs rewaxing sooner.

2. Wet or Humid Conditions

In wet or humid conditions, such as shooting in rainy weather or tropical environments, your bowstring may require more frequent rewaxing. Water can wear off the wax more quickly, leaving the bowstring vulnerable to moisture absorption. Consider rewaxing after every shooting session or at least once a week to maintain optimal protection.

3. Extreme Temperatures

If you frequently shoot in extremely cold or hot temperatures, the wax on your bow string may be affected more rapidly. Cold temperatures can make the wax brittle, while hot temperatures can cause it to melt and runoff. To ensure consistent performance, consider rewaxing before and after shooting in extreme temperatures.

4. Heavy Usage

For archers who use their bows heavily, such as competitive shooters or those practicing daily, the bow string may experience more wear and friction. In such cases, it is advisable to rewax the string more frequently, approximately every 1 to 2 weeks or after 50 to 100 shots, to maintain its smoothness and protection.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake is over-waxing the string, leading to a gummy and sticky mess. Follow the recommended amount of wax for your specific bowstring. Additionally, avoid using household lubricants like WD-40, as they can damage the bow string’s fibers and material.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

Wax flakes off quickly after application.

Ensure proper cleaning and curing of the string before waxing. Buff the string thoroughly to eliminate excess wax.

The string appears fuzzy after waxing.

Check for worn or damaged fibers. If the string is old or damaged, consider replacing it.

The dirt won’t come off by microfiber cloth.

If your bow string is particularly dirty or has stubborn residue, prepare a mild soap solution by mixing a small amount of mild soap with warm water. Dampen the soft cloth with the soap solution and carefully clean the bowstring, ensuring not to saturate it with water. After cleaning, wipe off any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth, and then pat the string dry with a separate cloth.


In conclusion, waxing a bow string is a fundamental aspect of maintaining your bow. Through regular cleaning, proper wax selection, and careful application, archers can ensure their bow strings remain in top condition. Following the steps and tips provided in this guide will not only enhance accuracy and precision but also extend the life of your beloved bow. So, don’t hesitate to implement a regular waxing routine and take your archery skills to new heights!

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