Removing Wax Coats from Finished Wood

      Advice on solvents and pads to scrub wax off of finishes. October 1, 2010

I have cherry solid wood panels lacquer top coated and waxed. The surface looks milky and dusty after waxing 2-3 weeks. How can I eliminate this problem? My plan is to remove the wax and spray a clear coat of MLC Magnamax.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Mineral Spirits will remove the wax. Before coating with Magnamax, I would prep the surface thoroughly with a wipe-down of acetone. But, be forewarned, getting all the wax off is labor intensive!

From contributor B:
I'd borrow a page from body shops when removing wax. Prep-sol from Dupont, not exactly sure of the spelling, will take wax off as well as silicone and it won't hurt the lacquer underneath. This is what they wipe cars down with before repainting. I've used it on furniture before and have no complaints.

From contributor W:
What kind of wax do you have? I agree with Contributor R, you can wipe the wax with mineral spirits. I did it many times with good results. You may need to use brush or steel wool to clean up the wax.

From contributor Y:
I agree with Contributor R and W. I would add one thing though. Use a piece of steel wool that is soaked in mineral spirits. It will pick up the wax instead of just spreading it around. I've never heard of Prep-Sol but it sounds like itís worth looking into. Mineral Spirits doesn't seem to get all the wax off.

From contributor H:
It is a better bet to use Naphtha. It is far cleaner that paint thinner and dries faster. It is a few ticks up from minerals spirits on the distillation process. Also I would not use regular steel wool, it is cut with machine oil and could cause reaction problems with you finish. Use a non-woven pad if you have a heavy build. You will know if you have any wax remaining when you sand the lacquer finish out, it will ball up on the paper.

From contributor K:
I also use Naptha. If you want to use steel wool then use Liberonís, as it is oil free and better graded than others out there. Donít use steel wool if you are finishing with H2O based finishes. Otherwise use 3M pads.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: Refinishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article