How to Clean & Preserve a Recurve Bow

by Don Kress
Old recurve bows require very little maintenance for proper care and preservation.

Old recurve bows require very little maintenance for proper care and preservation.

Recurve bows are primarily constructed of wood veneers for strength, durability and appearance. The veneers are covered with protective coatings to make the wood nearly impervious to moisture and humidity. A recurve bow might incur damage if it is not properly cared for.

Remove the string from the recurve bow. It is always advisable to store your recurve bow without the string. Failure to do so eventually leads to a loss of tension or draw strength.

Apply a small amount of automotive polishing compound to a clean rag. Thoroughly scrub the bow to remove any dried dirt or mildew. The polishing compound helps remove scuff marks that might have appeared on the bow over the course of its storage or use.

Wipe away the polishing compound with a clean rag. Buff the bow with furniture polish and another clean rag.

Preserve the recurve bow by storing it in a dry, humidity-free area. Place it in a recurve-bow sleeve. Avoid storing the recurve bow in a basement, attic, garage or any other area subject to temperature extremes or humidity.

Apply beeswax to the recurve bow's string to help prevent it from fraying. Do this while the bow is strung. Apply beeswax to the end-loops and middle of the bowstring.

Items you will need

  • Automotive polishing compound
  • Clean rags
  • Furniture polish
  • Beeswax
  • Recurve bow storage sleeve


  • "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2"; Jim Hamm; 2000
  • "Beginner's Guide to Traditional Archery"; Brian Sorrells; 2004
  • "Archery Fundamentals (Sports Fundamentals Series)"; Douglas Engh; 2004

About the Author

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images