DIY Wood Preservatives

Updated April 17, 2017

Wood preservatives are substances used for timber treatment and preservation. They preserve the wood, preventing deterioration from atmospheric conditions, insects and fungi. Wood preservatives also enhance the strength and durability of a wooden structure and make it more resistant and resilient. There are many different kinds of wood preservatives, from chemicals to various lumber treatments. If you want to make your own wood preservative, note that in many cases, homemade solutions are as efficient and functional as the commercial ones.

Boil 3.7 litres (130 fl oz) of propylene glycol and add 1.81 kg (64 oz) of borax-based laundry soap and 1.6 kg (56 oz) of boric acid. Let the mixture sit on the stove while you stir it constantly. Make sure the room where you are boiling is properly ventilated. Keep stirring and boiling until you notice that the mixture is getting thicker and homogeneous. Note that propylene glycol is sold in stores as a basis for environmentally friendly antifreeze.

Turn the stove to a medium temperature when the mixture starts to thicken. Stir it for a couple of minutes more, then set it aside to cool off. Before the next step, the liquid has to be no warmer than lukewarm.

Pour the mixture into a plastic container carefully, so you don't spill anything. Wear disposable latex gloves for your protection, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Place a plastic lid on the plastic container, checking to ensure it's completely tight and secure. This container is now your homemade wood preservative concentrate. Make sure to use the concentrate within a matter of weeks so it is as effective as possible. Always remember to put back the lid after using the mixture.

Stir the concentrate before using it and always mix it with the same amount of water. Remember that it is a concentrate, so it has to be diluted in order to have the right consistency.

Apply the wood preservative onto the piece of wood or lumber. Dip a paintbrush into the wood preservative and apply it onto the wood. Brush the preservative on the wood surface, making sure that you don't miss any areas. The whole surface should be treated with preservative.


Check the label on the propylene glycol to assure that you didn't purchase ethylene-glycol-based antifreeze. Always make sure to wear disposable latex gloves when dealing with chemicals, even if you are making an environmentally friendly and ecological homemade wood preservative.

Things You'll Need

  • Propylene glycol
  • Borax-based laundry soap
  • Boric acid
  • Plastic gallon container
  • Paintbrush
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Robert Raphael has been writing health and technology articles since 1993. His work has appeared in “Natural Living” magazine and “Extreme PC” magazine. Raphael received the Jonathan Melman Literary Award in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brandeis University.