How to Remove Paste Wax from Furniture: Methods & Safety Precautions

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Struggling with persistent paste wax on your wooden furniture, dining table, or floors? You’re not alone. Over time, built-up wax can detract from the beauty of your pieces. 

But don’t fret—I’ve delved deep into the best practices and curated top methods on how to remove paste wax from furniture surfaces. In this guide, I’ll share how you can rejuvenate your wood surfaces, without the expense of professional services. Let’s start!

Why Should You Get Rid of Paste Wax on Your Furniture?

When you’re getting rid of paste wax, you can achieve the following:

dining furniture made of hard maple

So how will you remove paste wax? Simply prepare the tools and materials and follow the methods here:

Removing Paste Wax From Your Furniture: 11 Methods

Tools & Materials You'll Need

Method #1: Mineral Spirits

You can use mineral spirits or white spirits in removing paste furniture wax without harming other finishes like cured polyurethane varnish. 

Using a cotton dry cloth soaked in mineral spirits, you can wipe the paste wax away. The cloth will quickly turn brown as paste wax is piled up into it. 

can of mineral spirits

Method #2: Wax

You can use this method only if the furniture wax has not dried yet. Also, this method is more effective if applied alongside tea.

Wax with Tea

  1. Prepare the clean and lint-free cloth with a thin layer of wax. 
  2. Then, start rubbing the surface to soften the existing wax on it. 
  3. For the second cloth, you have to soak it in a hot water with the tea and continue to rub the surface. 

Method #3: Naphtha

Unlike mineral spirits, naphtha comes with a potent odor and poses a high flammability risk. I wouldn’t recommend using it on polyurethane varnish.


To use it, dampen the cotton cloth with naphtha and gently rub the wood surface to remove the paste wax. You can continue using a paper towel to avoid spreading the removed wax.

Method #4: Acetone

To remove wax using acetone, all you need to do is let it stay on the affected area. If the paste wax is bigger, you need to set the acetone on the area for 5 minutes to penetrate the furniture wax. 

Then get the steel wool or bristled brush to remove the furniture wax from the wood. Make sure it has softened so you can gently brush or scraped it. 

Method #5: Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits is not similar to mineral spirits because it has a stronger solvent than acetone. Pour the right amount of alcohol on the furniture then grab some paper towel to rub on it. You can opt for a scrubbing pad to remove wax. 

denatured alcohol

Method #6: Cream of Tartar/Vinegar

According to studies, these condiments have acidic components which make them natural abrasive cleaners [1]. The ratio for the solution is 1:1 – one cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of tartar cream. 

Method #7: Turpentine

You can also use the mineral turpentine, an industrial solvent, to remove as much wax as possible. This is different from the lacquer thinner.

Soak a clean cloth in turpentine then gently rub the waxed furniture surface. For a quicker removal of old wax, you can use a scrubbing pad or steel wool.  

Method #8: Hairdryer

In removing wax, you can also use hairdryer by itself. You can switch it on to medium heat and heat the old wax. Once it has melted, you can wipe away the accumulated furniture wax using a cloth or paper towel. 

hairdryer to remove stain on wood

Method #9: Spatula

When dealing with excessively thick furniture wax, using a spatula or scraper can be helpful to remove the bulk of it. However, it’s crucial to approach the task with care so you don’t scrape away too much and risk damaging the underlying surface.

Method #10: Soda

To remove paste wax using baking soda solution, here’s what you need to do:

Another option when using soda is to prepare a solution. Mix a cupful of soda and hot water and pour the solution on the waxed surface. Then start removing the paste wax using a steel brush. 

Method #11: Dishwashing Soap

dishwashing soap

Get a fair amount of dishwashing soap and pour it on the paste wax. Add some water but make sure the wood furniture wax will not get too wet. Then you can scrub it with a spatula to remove it. 

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Safety Precautions & Warnings

When working with chemical-based cleaners, it’s essential to wear gloves, masks, and goggles for protection. If you’re in a space that lacks proper ventilation, consider using a respirator to maintain regular breathing.

Ensure there’s no source of ignition nearby, as many of these solvents are highly flammable. And always be cautious to preserve the wood grain of the furniture, ensuring it remains undamaged.


How do you get dried wax off of the furniture?

You can get dried furniture wax off of the furniture by using an ice bag. The latter will keep the wax dry if placed over it after 10 minutes.

You can also use a soft cloth with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water, and gently rub the remaining wax residue. The vinegar helps dissolve the wax without harming the furniture’s finish.

What dissolves hardened paste wax?

Solvents can dissolve hardened paste wax faster than natural wood cleaners. Some solvents that you can use are naphtha, denatured alcohol, turpentine, and acetone among others. 


So, there you have it. Now that you know how to remove paste wax from furniture, you’re guaranteed not to damage any surface. 

From here on, you can restore the natural appearance of wood furniture wax and floorings without needing a professional service. If the wax accumulates, make sure to rid of the stains as soon as possible. 

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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