Skip to Content

How to Remove Furniture Wax from Furniture

Are you tired of seeing waxy buildup on your beautiful furniture? Fear not because there’s a solution.

You might be wondering how to remove furniture wax from furniture, and we’ve got answers.

If you think this process is daunting, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Removing furniture wax can be a breeze with the right tools and techniques.

The buildup of wax sealer can make your prized family heirloom look dull and unattractive, but you can restore its natural beauty with a little bit of elbow grease.

Below, you’ll learn how to remove furniture wax from furniture step-by-step. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!

Wooden dresser with shiny wax coating

What is Furniture Wax?

Furniture wax is a product used to add a layer of protection and shine to wooden furniture.

It’s created from a blend of natural waxes, such as beeswax or carnauba wax, and you can find it in clear coats or tinted finishes, such as black, white, or brown.

Furniture wax protects your furniture from scratches, water damage, and other types of wear and tear. Unlike other sealers, you press the substance into the porous surface, creating a filmed protective barrier that soaks into the wood.

You can use it on any type of permeable surface, including raw, stained, or chalk-painted wood, and it leaves a velvety smooth matte finish, or you can buff the wax for a lovely sheen.

Furniture wax is among the only all-natural sealers on the market without harsh chemicals or toxins. While the application process is more arduous, it’s a great eco-friendly option that won’t emit dangerous fumes.

The major downside of furniture wax is that it creates buildup on surfaces over time and becomes difficult to remove. But with this handy guide on how to remove furniture wax from furniture, you’ll learn that this process isn’t as hard as you may think.

How to Remove Furniture Wax from Furniture

Now that you know all about furniture wax, let’s show you how to remove it from your furniture!

There are a handful of different ways to remove furniture wax, and you can often complete this seemingly daunting task with household solutions.

Choose a method that requires materials you already have on hand. After a little bit of elbow grease, your furniture will be looking good as new.

Baking Soda and Water

The first method of removing furniture wax is using baking soda and water.

To start, move your furniture item to an area you don’t mind getting a little messy. Place a tarp on the floor underneath to catch any excess liquid.

jar of baking soda and a spoon

Create a solution using a cup of baking soda and hot water, then pour it over the furniture’s surface. Scour the area with a hard-bristled brush until the wax residue is gone. Leave your furniture to dry completely before resealing the surface.

Mineral Spirits

Using mineral spirits is another DIY method for removing furniture wax. For this method, you’ll want to start with a soft rag and then dampen the fabric with mineral spirits.

Rub the surface of your furniture until the cloth turns brown. Keep turning the cloth around or exchange it for a clean one since the fabric absorbs the waxy residue, and you don’t want to risk transferring it back to the furniture.

Repeat this process until the wax has vanished from the surface. Use a damp cloth with hot soapy water to clean the remaining mineral spirits from the wood. Avoid over-soaking the surface and let it dry completely before resealing.

Note that mineral spirits are flammable, and you’ll want to keep the area well-ventilated when using this method. You may also want to wear a mask and gloves for further protection.


Did you know that tea can help remove furniture wax from furniture? This unlikely method has to be one of the easiest ways to remove that unsightly wax buildup from your beloved furniture. Keep in mind that this method only works with darker furniture since it may slightly tint the wood after application.

You only need a couple of tea bags, some hot water, and a cloth. Start by making approximately 4 cups of tea, letting it over-steep to infuse as many tannins as possible. Let the tea cool down, then dampen a cloth with the solution.

Wipe down the surface of your furniture, trying not to over-soak the wood. When your cloth becomes brown with wax, give it a rinse, then moisten it again in the tea.

Once all the wax is gone, use a clean damp rag to wipe down the surface and let it dry.

Household Soap

If the layers of furniture wax aren’t too thick, you can likely get away with using household soap to remove the sealer.

Find a porous and rough cloth, then soak it in hot soapy water. Use a little elbow grease to scour the wax off your furniture, and rinse the residue off your cloth. Keep repeating the process until there’s no more wax on the surface.

The main downside of this method is that you want to avoid soaking the wood, so try to squeeze all the water from the cloth before wiping the furniture’s surface.

White Vinegar

Vinegar comes in handy for many DIY cleaning projects, and removing furniture wax is no exception. The acidity can help scour your furniture’s surface without emitting any harsh fumes or chemicals.

Create a solution consisting of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Dip your cloth into the mixture and wring it well so there’s no excess moisture.

Wipe the surface of your furniture, and flip over your cloth to a clean spot after the wax transfers. Continue this process until the wax is completely removed from your furniture.

Dish Detergent and White Vinegar

This method is a variation of the previous entry, but it’s a good example of combining different cleaning agents to get the job done.

Start with equal parts white vinegar and water, then add a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent to the solution. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, then swirl it lightly to combine.

how to remove furniture wax with a cloth and soap and vinegar

Spray the solution on the surface of your furniture, then use a soft cloth to remove the wax, rotating the fabric often so you’re always using a clean spot. Use a clean, damp cloth to gently rinse the surface, then let it dry.

How to Prevent Furniture Wax Buildup

Furniture wax buildup is sometimes inevitable over time, but there are a few ways to try and prevent or delay this issue.

This buildup is a pesky combination of dirt, grime, and wax that accumulates on your furniture’s surface, making it look dull and unsightly. The main culprits lie in cleaning practices and products.

Using a furniture polish such as Pledge can create silicone layers that contribute to waxy buildup on furniture surfaces.

As time passes, multiple layers of silicone gather and retain moisture and humidity, which prevents the polish from solidifying. This results in the formation of a tacky residue that causes your furniture to appear grimy and unclean, despite being recently cleaned.

To avoid the process of constantly removing furniture wax, there are a few tips to add longevity to your finish.

Regular dusting can help improve the quality of your wax finish since it prevents airborne particles from building up on the surface. You should also aim to treat your furniture with a silicone-free polish a few times a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know how to remove furniture wax from furniture, learn the answers to this subject’s most frequently asked questions.

Can you sand wax off furniture?

The idea of sanding off wax might make sense at first, but this method is one of the worst ideas out there for removing furniture wax.

You can expect the wax to clog up the sandpaper. Plus, the friction of sanding will heat up the wax, which makes it even harder to remove.

Stick to one of the methods we mentioned above for removing furniture wax to save you time and hassle in the long run.

Will paint thinner remove wax?

Paint thinner uses a base of mineral spirits, so it’s an effective way to remove furniture wax.

Along with the paint thinner, all you need is a cloth and some elbow grease to get the job done.

Just be sure to follow all the protective measures, such as working in a well-ventilated space and wearing a respirator to play it safe.

How do I remove furniture wax from furniture with a varnish?

If you’re trying to preserve your furniture’s varnish while removing wax, you’ll need to be mindful of which method you use.

Removing varnish from furniture with a rag

Using mineral spirits, baking soda, or vinegar may damage the wood varnish. If you’re trying to preserve the illustrious glow of your waxed furniture, stick to a gentler solution like soap or mild detergent.

How to Remove Furniture Wax: Summed Up

Whether you choose to use vinegar and detergent or go down the tea route, there are many ways of removing furniture wax without buying any special cleaners.

Now that you know how to remove furniture wax from furniture, check out our Painting page to learn about resealing your beloved home decor.