Typically during manufacture, varnish, polyurethane, or shellac is applied to wood to protect the surface. Applying wax or polish protects the manufacturer's finish and helps to reduce surface scratches.
Wax provides a hard finish and long-lasting protection, doesn't smear, and is more durable than sprays or polishes.
Use paste wax or liquid wax made specifically for furniture. Depending on use, paste wax finishes may last as long as two years. Liquid wax is easier to apply but leaves a thinner coating; it may need to be applied more frequently than paste wax.
Learn how to properly apply waxes to eliminate streaks or a cloudy appearance. Always apply wax in light coats, rubbing into the surface with the grain. Allow to dry and buff to a clear shine with a soft cloth.
See more tips on waxing below.
Put a spoonful of wax, about the size of a golf ball, in a square of 100-percent-cotton fabric. Wrap the fabric around the wax ball and knead it until soft.
Rub in a circular motion, one small area at a time, until the waxing is complete.
When the surface dulls, wipe off the excess wax. Use a clean, soft cotton cloth and turn it frequently.
Repeat waxing and wiping until the entire piece is waxed. If you notice a streak, keep wiping to remove excess wax.
Polish the wood, with a soft cloth or lamb's-wool pad attached to an electric drill or power buffer. If the wax smears, wipe with a soft cloth and continue buffing.
For a deep shine, apply a second coat of wax in the same manner; to maintain waxed furniture, dust with a lamb's-wool duster. Never use liquid or aerosol furniture polishes because they can dissolve the wax and leave a hazy film.