Polish for Lacquered Furniture (Or Not)

Thoughts and reflections on furniture polish, snake oil, and related technologies. March 12, 2006

I've heard about a "Furniture Care Kit" (polish/cream) available with a company logo imprinted for promotional purposes. Any info on such a product would be much appreciated. I want to recommend a product to my customers. I use catalyzed lacquer (Magnamax) and have been advised that no polish/wax, etc. is needed... only cleaning with a damp cloth. What do you think?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
A finish that's in good shape doesn't need a polish. But old pieces with a dull and lifeless finish can be made to look renewed with a coat of paste wax.

From contributor D:
I like Weiman's Furniture Creme (sp?). It does not seem to be as greasy as other emulsion polishes. Most polish information is nothing other than hype. Actually, the info is more than hype - it is unadulterated hogwash. Any polish company that uses the phrase "feeds the wood" is lying and misleading their customers. How can you feed wood which has a film-forming finish on it? You can't. And wood does not need feeding.

Milky-looking polishes are designed to smell nice, pick up dust and leave an oily luster. If wax and/or silicon oils are added to the mix, then the polishes help to prevent or mitigate potential scratching and also to hide or make the scratches more subtle looking in appearance.

Probably the best feature in an emulsion polish is the ability to treat both oil type messes and dirt/food type messes off of the finished film. They do clean off fingerprints. If you want to avoid silicone oils, then don't use Pledge. Stay with Endust or Weiman's or OZ, etc.

Clear polishes are oily messes in and of themselves. They are usually mineral oil or kerosene, both or something in between. They do nothing for food spills and nothing for fingerprints. They should be avoided altogether.

Murphy's Oil Soap has a pH that is too harsh for my tastes. I use it for wetsanding and nothing else. Use a soap like Dove bar soap which is pH neutral. Contact other soap companies and see if their soaps and detergents are pH neutral. If so, good to go; if not, don't give them a shot.

From contributor M:
Ditto on using polishes, waxes, and compounds with silicones. Also, never spray any polishes or cleaners directly on the pieces. Spray them on a soft cloth, and then apply to the piece.

From contributor P:
Mohawk has several that they'll brand for you.