It is necessary to
polish wooden furniture once a year. But it is often
difficult to decide what type of polish to use on
wooden furniture. The chief concern is whether the
polish you use will damage the wooden furniture. Most
often the manufacturers do not reveal the chemical
ingredients of polishes. And these ingredients are
changed without notice. These ingredients may damage
wooden furniture. Polishes are available in the market
in three forms, aerosol or spray, liquid and
semisolid. Given below in a brief description of each
type and its advantages and disadvantages.
Spray Polishes or Aerosols
Though they are the handiest polishes they
are the most damaging. They damage wooden furniture as they
have silicone oils and other contaminants as their
Some sprays damage varnishes and lacquers.
These are easy to use as well. They are
available in two types emulsion polishes and oil type
Emulsion polishes are waxes, oils and organic
solvents in a water solution so that it can be applied easily
on the furniture.
Emulsion polishes clean extremely well and
leaves a nice shine on the wooden surface. But this effect
lasts only till the liquid dries.
Oil polishes come in two types nondrying oils
and drying oils. Oil polishes can be used as the final finish.
Nondrying oils like paraffin, lemon oil and
mineral are less harmful than drying oils. Some oils remain on
the surface it has been used. As a result dust and other
contaminants stick to the wet oil surface.
Drying oils like linseed oil and walnut oil
dry on the wooden surface by oxidation. This is a chemical
reaction and over a period of time is difficult to remove.
These polishes are the best as the damage
done to the wooden surface is minimum.
They are commercially known as "Paste
Waxes" and are very stable and do not cause problems like
the other type of waxes.
Furniture conservators and other furniture
experts use paste waxes.
Applying this polish involves a lot of
physical labor. Buffing wax is a strenuous job and better the
quality of wax, greater the amount of buffing required. The
extra effort is worth it as it is beneficial to the furniture.
As this polish is stable and durable it needs
to be applied infrequently. Wax polish areas that are used
very often once or twice a year and areas like the legs of
tables and chairs, cabinets etc can be polished once in three
or four years.
Wax should not be applied frequently as there
will be a build up of wax that will look unattractive on a
Though it is easy to use liquid polishes they
damage the furniture. It is better to make the extra effort and
apply wax on the furniture, as it will benefit the wood.