Have you ever applied paste wax on a surface and ended up regretting it? I have. If you only want to remove paste wax from your wood because it is worn out, then you are on the right page. Stay here.
Paste wax can be applied to wood furniture to protect it from water vapors and extreme heat here and there. It also gives the wood a rejuvenated, shiny appearance.
We’ll cover several tried-and-tested ways you can use to remove paste wax from your wood furniture.
How to Remove Paste Wax from Wood Furniture
Saturate a clean cloth in mineral spirits, then use it to wipe off paste wax from your wood furniture. Next, apply more mineral spirits to the waxy surface, then use a fresh cloth or steel wool to scrub off the loosened wax. Finally, rinse the surface using a damp rag. Naphtha and turpentine are good alternatives for mineral spirits.
How to Remove Paste Wax from Furniture – The Methods
This section has all the details you will need to help you maintain and repair your wooden furniture.
They can also help you remove old wax from wood furniture such as the dining room table and kitchen tables.
You can purchase the items you don’t have from a local hardware store. Always test each method on an inconspicuous area first and only proceed if it works for you.
Tools and materials
- Mineral spirits
- Denatured alcohol
- Mask or respirator
- Steel wool
- Clean rags
- Soft cotton cloths
How to remove paste wax from furniture using mineral spirits
Mineral spirits (also known as white spirits) are an all-around solvent for almost everything. It is effective at dissolving old wax from waxed furniture but will not harm cured polyurethane varnish.
Soak a soft cotton cloth in mineral spirits and then wipe away paste wax from the surface. Use more mineral spirits and a cleaner side of the cloth as the wax accumulates and turn the cloth brown.
This helps you remove the most wax from the surface. You can also use a scrubbing pad or fine steel wool in place of a cloth.
Apply some mineral spirits on the waxed surface, then scrub it off. These abrasive options alongside white spirits will help break down the wax and detach it from the wood.
Lightly dampen a fresh cloth with plain water, then wipe the surface clean.
How to remove paste wax from furniture using wax
Use this method on a surface that was recently waxed and hasn’t dried. It works better this way.
Apply a thin layer of wax polish over the wax you want to remove. The fresh layer of wax will soften the pre-existing one on your furniture, making it easy to remove.
Use a clean cloth to wipe away the softened wax from your wooden surface before it has a chance to dry up.
Remember not to let the wax dry before you remove it: because then you will be dealing with a thicker and more complex layer of paste wax on your furniture.
Related: Beeswax wood finish pros and cons
How to remove paste wax from furniture using naphtha
Naphtha has a strong odor that can get overwhelming if inhaled. Therefore, ensure you are working in a well-ventilated space, wearing a respirator and safety gloves.
Wet a soft cotton cloth with naphtha and use it to rub on the waxed wooden furniture lightly. Saturate the cloth if necessary and continue rubbing it on the entire piece of furniture.
Change the cloth from time to time or use paper towels; so you don’t end up re-spreading the removed wax back to the furniture.
Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the outcome. Finally, buff the wood using a soft dry cloth to remove any remaining residue.
How to remove paste wax from furniture using acetone
Acetone will help you remove paste wax from your wooden furniture. But before you begin, ensure proper ventilation in your workspace. Wear gloves and a mask. Proceed.
Apply a generous coat of acetone on the waxy surface, especially if it’s a large flat surface. Allow the wax to soften in the presence of acetone for about five minutes.
Use a plastic paint scraper or a firm bristled brush to remove the softened wax from the wood. You can also use fine steel wool to achieve the same results.
You can also sand away the loose wax using sandpaper, then wipe the wood dust with a damp rag.
Repeat the previous steps until no wax is left standing. Then give your wood surface a final wipe using a damp cloth. This practice ensures no more acetone and the waxy residue is lingering on the wood.
How to remove paste wax from furniture using denatured alcohol
Denatured alcohol, also referred to as methylated spirits, is a more potent solvent that is effective at removing paste wax from wood furniture.
However, they also have a pretty strong odor and, therefore, are best handled with caution. First, apply the alcohol on the waxy surface using a paper towel.
You can also use a scrubbing pad to apply the alcohol and scrub away the wax from the wood. This combination quickly breaks down the tight hold of the wax and letting it lose.
Use more alcohol and clean scrubbing pads to get the job done. Finally, wipe the surface with a damp cloth once you have erased the existence of paste wax from your furniture.
Related Post: Is denatured alcohol the same as mineral spirits?
How to remove paste wax from furniture using vinegar and cream of tartar
Vinegar can remove paint as well as wood furniture wax. Since it’s acidic, it makes a strong natural wood cleaner.
Make a solution by mixing a cup of regular white vinegar and one tablespoon of cream of tartar. Mix well. This is a natural abrasive cleaner.
Dip a clean cloth into the solution and use the soaked part to wipe off paste wax from the surface. Then, wipe along the direction of the wood grain.
Once you have removed all the wax, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Finally, buff the wood dry using a clean, lint-free cloth.
How to remove paste wax from furniture using turpentine
Turpentine is another commonly used industrial solvent. It is an option you can use to remove paste wax from your furniture. But, again, exercise caution while using it since it can be lethal.
Saturate a clean cloth in turpentine and use it to rub on the waxy surface. Rub gently but with firm strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
Reapply and use a clean cloth or scrubbing pad or brush to help remove the wax faster. Give the wood furniture a final wipe using a damp rag once all the wax has been removed.
Then buff the wood using a clean, dry cloth.
How to remove paste wax from furniture using hairdryer
Sometimes a simple hot air blown on the wax is all it takes to remove it. Switch on medium heat setting on your hairdryer and heat the paste waxed surface.
Use a cloth or paper towel to continue wiping away the melted wax from your surface.
Repeat the process on every inch of the wood you want to get rid of the wax: if it’s giving you the desired results. Finally, buff the wood using a soft rag, and voila!
How to remove paste wax from furniture using spatula
If you face layers of paste wax on your wood, you can try removing it using a paint scraper or a spatula. You might not get it all out using this method, but it is an excellent place to begin.
Scrape off as much wax as you can. Then, when you can no longer get any out, use any of the solvents discussed above, and you can finish that project within no time.
Wear gloves, respirator, and goggles when using chemical-based cleaners—for example, mineral spirits, acetone, denatured alcohol, naphtha, and turpentine.
Also, work in a well-ventilated space to avoid intense exposure to chemical fumes that can cause serious health problems when inhaled. These products are also quite flammable, so exercise caution.
Frequently Asked Questions About Paste Wax
What dissolves paste wax?
Mineral spirits dissolve paste wax without posing any harm to the varnish underneath. Dampen a clean cloth with mineral spirits, then use it to rub the waxy surface. Try to maintain a fresh surface of the rag sitting on the wax by turning it around or using paper towels. You can use either naphtha or turpentine to dissolve paste wax.
How do you strip wax off furniture?
Prepare a naturally abrasive cleaner by mixing a cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of cream of tartar. Soak a clean cloth in the solution and use it to rub the paste wax off the furniture. Work in the direction of the wood grain. Finally, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to get rid of any debris.
Do mineral spirits remove wax?
Mineral spirits are a widely used solvent that you can use to remove wax. First, saturate a clean cloth in mineral spirits and wipe away the wax from a wood surface. You can also use a scrubbing pad or sandpaper along with mineral spirits to scrub off wax. Finish by rinsing the surface with a damp cloth.
Does vinegar dissolve wax?
Vinegar dissolves wax. Therefore, avoid using it on waxed surfaces unless you intend to strip the wax. Vinegar is a reliable, natural cleaner you can use to remove build-up wax and grime from a particular surface. Use a wax cleaner suitable for waxed surfaces to avoid irreversible damage.
After learning how to remove paste wax from wood furniture, it is time for you to utilize this knowledge and get to work. Paste wax is an easy-to-handle substance when you know how to approach it.
Remember to adhere to safety precautions when handling chemical-based solvents. Then, plan and apply a quality wood waxing to give your wood another coat of shine and protection.
Knowledge is power. Feel free to empower others by sharing this article with them.
9 thoughts on “How to Remove Paste Wax from Furniture Like a Pro”
I refinished two pieces of furniture. I stained them, applied three coats of polyurethane… they looked great, then I applied Minwax paste wax… I should have stopped with the poly. The wax feels great and has a nice sheen, but I can’t get the swirl marks to disappear. Can I take off the paste wax with mineral spirits without damaging the poly? Is there something else I can do to remove the swirl marks? Thanks for your help.
I’m trying to remove Tried and True Original, a wax product, that was applied to bare mahogany, including plywood with a very thin veneer. I’m hoping to stain the wood after removing the wax, then finish with polyurethane.
Do you think any of your methods here might work?
Old wax is the worst thing to remove. You can start with what you have;
Hot soapy water to start? (dawn) then maybe hot water with TSP, wear gloves.
The second option
Mineral spirits and scrub with Scotchbrite pad. Wipe with a saturated cotton cloth until the wax is gone.
And lastly – Naphtha and steelwool
Good luck with that, and let me know which solution worked for you. Removing wax is a nightmare.
The wax I new not old. Won’t water bring up the grain pretty significantly? Part of this is plywood with a very thin veneer. Worried about sanding through it.
Try a small spot first and wipe and don’t let water sit on it. You are just trying to clean the wax off before you sand
Seems like the mineral spirits will work if I just can find enough time and patience. I think I’m going to use Zinsser Sealcoat before putting on polyurethane to make sure the poly will stick.
Thanks for help and encouragement.
Thanks so much for such an informative post, Goodell.
In Australia, I’ve not heard the term mineral spirits, nor can I find any to buy.
We have mineral turpentine (which we call turps). Is this what you mean?
And we also have white spirit
The user guides for each one gives what they are composed of.
I want to strip old wax off a table and then put fresh wax on. Maybe metho (methylated spirit/denatured alcohol) will be my best bet, with some fine steel wool?
Thanks for stopping by – Sure, you can use mineral spirit and Turps works the same way.
thanks for that.