Standard furniture polish often contains a high concentration of silicone lubricant or oils which, despite giving your furniture a good shine, could permanently stain your wood. Left unresolved, this could ultimately mean that your furniture will need to be stripped back to bare wood and become a longer, more difficult job which could devalue antique pieces. To avoid this happening, remove the build-up of silicone lubricant and polish back to a shine with a wood-friendly product.
Step 1 - Preparing Your Furniture
Before you remove the wax, it is important to ensure the woodwork is free from dirt. To do this, wipe furniture gently with a damp lint-free cloth over the entire surface making sure all of it is cleaned. Once the dirt is removed, wipe again with another clean and dry lint-free cloth to remove any residue.
Step 2 - Removing the Silicone Lubricant
Using steel wool, apply a small amount of furniture wax remover to the surface of the furniture. If this product is unavailable, a good alternative can be made using the following combination of 1 part water to 1 part of vinegar.
Apply the chosen cleaning agent to the wood using the steel wool. Make circular motions on the woodwork and apply pressure on stubborn areas of heavy build-up. You should see the waxy residue begin to loosen and stick to the wool. When the wool becomes caked with polish, simply take another clean piece of wool with a small amount of fresh cleaning agent and continue rubbing using the aforementioned circular motion.
Repeat this process until the wool has very little polish build-up showing while making sure you cover the entire surface area of the wood without missing any spaces to help shift the silicone lubricant. Once this removal process is complete, wipe the wood surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any trace of the cleaning agent. Dry with a clean cloth and leave for a few minutes to ensure the wood dries completely.
Step 3 - Reapplying Polish
To protect your cleaned wood and to avoid the problem of residue build-up, use either a good quality furniture makers polish, such as renaissance wax, or a simple application of natural beeswax. Apply either product using steel wool or a lint-free cloth using the same circular motion that was employed to remove the silicone lubricant residue. Be sure to provide an even coverage across the surface area of the wood and finish by wiping the wax in the direction of the grain. This helps to preserve the natural appearance of the wood.
Step 4 - Ongoing Care
Now that your wood is replenished, you shouldn’t need to reapply the wax any more than twice a year. Cleaning should consist of wiping any dirt or dust from the furniture with a damp cloth, drying it and buffing the existing wax to a shine with a clean cloth. If you’re unsure about whether or not your furniture needs a new coat of polish, the general rule of thumb is that if you can still buff it to a good shine, there is no need for any more wax.