Wood treated with wax.

Furniture Wax – Use Wax Wood Finish to Add a Layer of Protection to Furniture


The purpose of furniture wax is to add a thin coating to wood that provides a layer of protection against moisture and dirt. Wax, however, should not be used as the only finish on a piece of furniture. Most people use wax on wood furniture to add sheen, tone and beauty to the look of a piece, and not to provide the piece with a strong outer coating.

How to Apply Furniture Wax

Applying wax to furniture is a simple process and depending on the size of the furniture, should only take a couple of hours. The process begins with using a cotton cloth to rub the wax over the entire piece of furniture – making sure to apply an even layer. Once the wax is applied, it must be allowed to dry. Once dry, a clean cloth is used to remove the wax. Finally, another clean cloth is used to the furniture until it shines.

Helpful Hints and Tips

Although applying, removing and buffing furniture wax is a simple process, there are a couple of tips that should be followed in order to produce the best results. First, the use of excessive wax will not cause the furniture to shine brighter. Too much wax can actually cause the furniture’s surface to appear dull. Second, periodically re-buffing furniture without adding an additional layer is often all that is necessary to restore a shiny surface. Buffing without waxing (and only adding more wax when absolutely necessary) can help prevent wax build-up.

Wax is Primarily for Shine – Not Protection

While furniture wax is a great choice for adding a thin layer of protection and a shiny appearance to furniture, it is not nearly as strong as an oil finish or a coating of varnish or lacquer. A piece of wood furniture that has been waxed will probably fare better than a non-waxed piece in case of an accidental liquid spill, but furniture wax does not protect against excessive heat, large spills that are not noticed immediately, or any type of exposure to chemicals. The primary reason for the inferior protection is largely due to the fact that furniture wax is soft and it is not capable of drying to a rock-hard finish. Therefore, wax should be applied on furniture in conjunction with another more durable type of finish.

Paste Wax

The type of furniture wax that is most highly recommended is paste wax. Paste wax can be applied over other types of finishes, such as oil: polyurethane, lacquer and varnish. Not only will the wax provide a small amount of additional protection from very basic scratches, but it will also cause the furniture to shine. In some cases, you will want to use colored wax, which will allow the tone of the furniture’s wood to appear deeper and darker.

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