Restoration Tips and Tricks

Why I Don’t Use Wax On Furniture!

Hello friends and followers. Here I am again with my insight on wax. I keep seeing a huge movement towards using wax used as a top coat. My guess is because some paint manufactures say you don’t need to top coat their paint. So waxing has become the alternative to achieve a sheen, or desired look.

History of Wax 

Wax was commonly used in the middle of the 1700s to early 1800s because it was easily available and cost of other finishes where high. They would actually buff it out to a high gloss sheen. Since then we have come a long way in the world of wood finishes. 

Wax then was commonly used over the top of a finish, or on a low traffic item such as this carved or gesso mirror. (pictured below) This mirror had been waxed originally I knew this from the build up of wax I had picked out of the crevices. After restoring the paint and top coating I did apply a new wax over the top to get the original desired look.


Why I don’t use wax 

Today the movement of painting furniture is spectacular and the artistic pieces I see are just amazing! All of you up-cyclers and DIYers are playing a huge part in keeping all of that furniture from going into a landfill. However the idea is to have these up-cycles last another few generations right? If you wax a high used dresser (and that wax and paint break down) its going to take a whole lot more work to get it back to its original state. Once wax is on something stripping will be required to remove it. Sometimes you can use mineral spirits or naptha but that is not always a guarantee. 

I would never recommend painting over the top of a wax. Think of a bees wax bar you can get at a local farmers market, if you put  paint on it, whats going to happen? It will definitely not stick to that for long.

Wax can also be somewhat sticky, and finger prints can stand out. Dirt can easily adhere to it making it harder to clean. Also, wax is suggested to be reapplied about every year. Which does not make it a low-maintenance option. Wax is used typically more for looks rather than as a durable protectant.

What you can do instead

Waterbase finishes are definitely what we recommend for a durable top coat. They have low VOCS and can be easily applied using a brush. Most waterborne finishes come in many different sheens. General finishes has a flat out flat that is an excellent matte seal coat. I also spray with ML Campbell Aguaiente PLUS clear. Some of my favorite perks of the ML Campbell is its sprays out similar to a lacquer dries fairly quick.

Just a little funny!

I understand the appeal of the look a product finished with wax has. However I personally am not a fan of the high-maintence, low durability qualities I have mentioned. General Finishes and ML Campbell are great options for achieving the same look without sacrificing quality.

I hope this has been educational for you!

Thanks for Reading

Tara Lou

Suggested Flat Finish Product

If you want to learn more about finishes check out my other blog. I also have a blog on achieving a flat finish (without wax)

* This blog contains affiliate links. Please see our disclaimer page. 

Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Use Wax On Furniture!

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