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How do I remove wax build-up?

I have an antique buffet which appears to have a wax build up on the finish. I have tried washing it with a wood soap and the finish seems sticky and whitish. Is there a way to remove this build up (maybe it is from spray cleaners like pledge) without disturbing the patina?

Answer :

If the problem is a wax or polish build-up it can be removed with VMP Naphtha. This thinner/solvent will not harm any finish in good condition. Soak a clean lent free cotton rag with the thinner and wash the surface with light pressure. Let the thinner sit on the surface for a few minutes to soften and dissolve the wax. Use a second clean dry rag to pick-up the dissolved wax and thinner mixture. This is usually done several times to remove heavy wax build-up. Let dry an hour then re-wax using a paste wax. This process should only be done in a well ventilates area and with no source of open flame or sparks near. Not a project you should perform in your living room.

If it is the finish itself that is sticky; that means that the finish has softened and is deteriorated. Any time you see a whitish, milking looking splotches or white ring marks, this is an indication that the finish has deteriorated as evidenced by the moisture that has impregnated it. Cleaning a deteriorated finish with a solvent like VMP will also remove some or all of the soft finish with the old wax. Test in a small spot first to see if the finish will wash off with the old wax. A soft sticky finish is not repairable. The item needs refinishing to correct the problem and provide protection to the wood.

Also read:  Wax, Polish, Oil: Which Is Best? 

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