How to Polish Wood Professionally

How to Polish Wood Professionally

Maintaining the aesthetic appearance of your wooden furniture is very important. Proper cleaning and maintenance tips can help your wood shine and look just as new.

When you polish wood, even the oldest piece can look like a brand new product. That’s the relevance of wood polishing.

As we know, wood furniture is a timeless brand of furniture and does not go out of date. And this is the major reason we maintain it by using various types of wood polishes, varying from wax, sprays, and other natural polishes.

How to Polish Wood Professionally

Many times, we don’t even know the relevance of polishing wood. We ignore this activity as it doesn’t call for much attention. But that shouldn’t be.

Here, we’ll take a brief look at the relevance of polishing our wood.

Why You Need to Polish Your Wood

Polishing your wood and furniture has various benefits and advantages. They are:

  1. When you polish an old wood, it gives it a brand new look and appearance; they appear more beautiful, acceptable, and presentable.
  2. It helps in reducing and removing uneven textures like scratches and cracks. For patients with asthma, it is advised that they polish their wood and furniture because wood captures dust.
  3. It protects your wood from wear and tear, thereby increasing and elongating your wood’s life span.
  4. It gives your wood stain-resistant feature because the polish you applied on doesn’t absorb any liquid.

Types of Wood Polish

It is one thing for you to have a desire to polish your wood and another to know the type of polish you could use. It is compulsory to polish wood annually, so it’s important to know the kinds of wood polish to use.

The types of wood polish are;

Natural Polish

When you use this type of polish, it leaves the natural color of the wood beneath. This means it doesn’t blend with the laminated color. Moreover, it is the cheapest to afford.

Color polish

Color polish, unlike the natural polish, matches and blends with the laminate color. It is a little bit more expensive than natural polish.

Melamine Polish

Melamine polish is the most expensive type of polish. This kind of polish is normally used after the color polish. It is sprayed on the surface of the wood for the purpose of giving it a long-lasting feature.

It usually gives the wood a glossy, shiny, or dry finish. Use melamine polish on furniture found in the living room. You can also use it on furniture like drawers, cupboards, doors, shelves, etc.

Materials Used in Polishing Wood

The following are the materials you need when polishing wood.

  1. Clean and dry cloth rags
  2. Your rubber rags
  3. Steel wool
  4. Paste wax
  5. Wax remover and cleaner
  6. Polish
  7. Stain

How to Polish Wood

Polishing wood like a pro is a very simple DIY task that helps retain the moisture of wood and protects it from weather elements. This will help the wood stand the test of time.

These are two main ways which you can use to achieve a smooth and attractive finish. They are waxing and polishing.

Follow these steps when polishing wood.

  1.  Decode on which kind of wood polish you want to use.
  2. Visit a store to get this polish that you have decided on.
  3. Take your wood or furniture to an open space to get adequate ventilation and air.
  4. Ensure that this area you have chosen doesn’t have any disturbing objects and activities in it or around it. For example, animals or children playing around.
  5. Now, clean your wood or furniture with your dry clean rag. Make sure there are no dust particles on your wood as this could give you a rough surface finish.
  6. Test your polish on your wood, but do this on the part of the wood that is not easily noticeable or conspicuous.
  7. Get your dry microfiber cloth damp with your wax remover.
  8. Now, gently wipe your wood or furniture in an up-down motion.
  9. Apply the polish little by little along the grain of the wood; you can do this until you get your desired shining effect or appearance.
  10. Repeat your polishing process where need be.
  11. Apply stain to have a long-lasting effect on your wood.

Do’s and Don’ts of Polishing Wood

Oil and Wax Don’t Mix

When oil and wax are placed together, the wax tends to become opaque and will attract dirt and dust easily. This happens because of a chemical reaction that occurs between them, resulting in degrading and devaluing.

Use Oil and Oil Only

Some oils are very volatile and can evaporate. This oil may include linseed oil and Tung. So, therefore, oil can be applied on wood but not on all kinds of wood.

Avoid and Don’t Use Silicone Polish

Silicone polish is usually very shiny and glossy. It is impossible and hard to get rid of. It has to be mechanically removed. Also, it is difficult to remove stains over silicone. It does not nourish the wood in any way.

Never use vegetable oil or olive oil.

Do not use cooking oil to polish your wood or furniture as they can’t do a good job. Some oil smells bad, like rancid oil. When they come in contact with your wood it permeates, causing the wood to smell bad, too.

I will give you simple wood polish recipes that yield good results on furniture and wood.

Mineral oil and vinegar wood polish

Mineral oil helps to protect your wood from stains and spills while vinegar acts as the cleansing agent.

Mineral oil and lemon extract

All you have to do is mix them together, and then store the mixture in a container.

Differences between Wax and Polish

There are many misconceptions about the difference between wax and wood polishers, and these misconceptions need correcting.

When you use polish, it will always leave a thin liquid film on the wood surface, usually when you wipe down your wood or furniture while a wax will leave a thin film of solid wax on the wood surface. This liquid is usually volatile and can evaporate while the solid from the wax cannot and will not evaporate.

Wax is used for coating wood and furniture while polish is used or done after waxing to give a shiny appearance. Polish also is way much easier to apply than wood wax. There are lots of steps involved when waxing furniture that is not generally needed when you polish.

Some Tips On Wax

  1. Wax contains beeswax
  2. Wax is used to create a protective seal on wood
  3. Wax does not give a glossy feel
  4. Wax has two types – colored or pigmented wax and clear wax
  5. Waxing using the pigmented wax will leave a glossy shine
  6. When applying wax, the key step is buffing, buffing and buffing
  7. When you wax, ensure you leave it to sit for about an hour.

Care of your Polished Wood or Furniture

Always Dust Your Wood

Make sure to dust wood often with a clean, dry rag as dust particles could have settled and created layers on the wood surfaces leading to scratches on the wood.

Keep Your Wood Clean

Dusting your wood sometimes is not just enough to remove dust particles. You could just use a neat, dry cloth, dip it in clean water, and then gently wipe the surface that needs more attention. Afterwards, use a dry rag to wipe the wood surface to give it a perfect look.

Protect The Wood

Make sure you don’t use so many products on your wood because most products contain petroleum distillates or even silicone oil, which gives a shiny finish and protection to your wood. Too much product usage causes build-up dirt that creates a dull, sticky film.

Re-Oil Dry Wood

If the wood has become dry over time, don’t hesitate to re-oil it. You could start by cleaning the wood with a cleaner. Then apply your wood oil and then allow it to soak into the wood for some minutes.

Re-Wax As Needed

As your wood ages, you may need to re-wax it. Apply a coat of wax using light pressure; gently spread it on the wax to set for more than 25 minutes. Now, gently remove excess wax with a clean, dry pad.

Remove Tough Stains

When your wood gets stained, quickly and immediately remove such stains because the longer the stain sits, the harder it will be to get rid of. You could use vinegar, mayonnaise, baking soda, toothpaste etc. depending on the kind of stain to be removed.

Keep Wood Smelling Fresh

Sometimes, old wood pieces could start giving off a bad smell. You can use baking soda to freshen it up, just sprinkle it on the wood surface, and then take the wood outside for ventilation.

Avoid Environmental Damage

Harsh environmental conditions could wreak havoc on your fine wood. Do not place your wood in front of an open window, fireplace as too much intensity of heat could destroy your wood.

Don’t Mistreat Wood

Never place hot food directly on wood, as heat damage could occur on your wood.

Treat Wear And Tear

Wood tends to sustain injury. Use liquid polish to hide abrasions, or re-oil and re-wax to give the wood its beauty again.

How to Polish Wood Professionally

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you polish wood?

Well, how often you clean your wood depends on some factors. One of the factors; the factor is very crucial, and it is how regular do you use that wood or furniture. If it is a furniture or wood that is always in use or in an inconspicuous part of the house, then there is a need to polish your wood regularly.

Another factor is that; each time you clean, scrub, wipe, dust the wood surface, does some of the polish come off? If this happens regularly, there is a need to polish the furniture and wood again to replace removed polish or wiped away polish.

When will you know it is time to polish your wood and furniture again?

When buffing, the furniture tends to no longer give off this unique shine that you might love or always loved. Now, this could be as a result of insufficient polish left on the wood to reflect a clean surface.

When you notice this, it is a sign that you need to polish your wood or furniture again.

What does wood polish do?

Wood polish protects wood from abrasions, cracks, wear and tear, and helps in giving the wood a shiny, glossy, beautiful appearance and look.

How can I make my wooden furniture shine?

To achieve shiny wooden furniture, you will need these materials;

  1. 1 cup of olive oil
  2. ½ cup white vinegar
  3. Your polish
  4. A soft cloth

These are the steps to follow;

  1. Mix your olive oil and white vinegar
  2. Now pour your polish into the mixture
  3. Get your soft cloth damp with this mixture


Polishing and waxing can go hand in hand. They can be used interchangeably or together as the case demands.

Polishing your wood regularly is a must-do if you want to have long-lasting, long-wearing and timeless piece of furniture.

I hope this guide on how to polish wood like a pro has given you the technical knowledge on how to carry out this DIY adventure (even without having to pay a professional for it! Ha-ha!) without stress.

Try it out and see for yourself. It saves costs and gives you a sense of confidence.