Buyer's Guides Furniture Polishes

Best Furniture Polish for Modern & Antique Furniture: 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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The best furniture polish will add plenty of shine and luster to your furniture from armoires and end tables to chairs and dressers. But finding the perfect product for your specific type of wood furniture can be a challenge, especially if you have antiques. Here, you’ll find an in-depth buyer’s guide and product recommendations for the leading polishes on the market that are designed to restore your furniture back to its former glory, safely, and with impressive results.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes four of the best products on the market, what makes them the best and how they rated.

Furniture Polish Comparison Chart

Product Formula Form Scent Rating
Howard Wood Polish

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Silicone Liquid Orange
Pledge Furniture Polish

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Emulsion Aerosol Lemon
Orange Furniture Spray

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Silicone Liquid Orange
Scott's Liquid Gold

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Silicone Aerosol Almond

Howard Products FW0016 Wood Polish & Conditioner


Our Rating: (5/5)

This polish will leave behind a matte finish and provides a protective coating thanks to the beeswax and carnauba wax content. It also includes conditioning oils that will provide your wood furniture with the types of nutrients it needs to keep from fading and drying out. The polish works to enhance the natural grain of the wood and can be used on both unfinished and finished wood furniture. It’s a great choice for antique furniture or any type of furniture that looks weather worn.

Pros

  • Restores natural shine
  • Can be used on finished or unfinished wood
  • Orange scent
  • Contains wax

Cons

  • Does not minimize the appearance of scratches

Conclusion

This liquid and wax polish and conditioner will restore your furniture’s natural beauty, while leaving behind a matte finish and orange scent. The polish can be used on both modern and antique furniture and can easily be buffed out in seconds.

Pledge Furniture Polish


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This aerosol polish protects and shines wood furniture, cabinets, and more. It’s simple to use, just press the button, spray down your furniture and use a microfiber cloth to buff it out. The fresh lemon scent is not overwhelming. This emulsion spray will provide wood with a protective coating and also helps to improve the wood’s resistance to dust. The spray provides a glossy finish and removes fingerprints, dirt, dust, and grime.

Pros

  • Fresh lemon scent
  • Easy to use
  • Removes fingerprints
  • Makes furniture dust-resistant
  • Cannot be used on unfinished wood
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Cons

Conclusion

Pledge is one of those polishing products that most people are familiar with. This polish leaves behind a pleasant lemon scent and helps to prevent future dust buildup, so polishing and dusting your furniture in the future will be a breeze. Additionally, this three-pack of polish is offered at an affordable price, giving you the most bang for your buck.

Orange Glo 2-in-1 Clean & Polish Wood Furniture Spray


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This powerful spray leaves behind a pleasant orange scent and has the power to restore and hydrate old dried out wood furniture. This product can be used on both finished and unfinished wood, and provides a glossy finish, while removing built-up dirt and grime.

Pros

  • Orange scent
  • Three-pack
  • Removes dirt and grime
  • Hydrates old wood

Cons

  • Can attract more dust

Conclusion

This spray takes very little elbow grease to work and does an impressive job of rehydrating old wood furniture. It leaves behind a high gloss, beautiful finish that really brings out the grain and overall beauty of the wood. The only real drawback is that it tends to attract dust, so you may find yourself having to polish your furniture more often.

Scott’s Liquid Gold


Our Rating: (4/5)

This product works all on types of finished and unfinished wood. It can’t be used on laminates or veneers. Keep in mind, using this product can make the wood appear darker until the product has had time to be fully absorbed. The residual oil will leave behind a rich, glossy shine. Unlike many competing polishes that leave behind a type of citrus scent, this polish is almond scented. This product is so versatile it can be used to lubricate hinges, squeaky wheels, and more. It also works well to hydrate leather and can prevent and clean rust on metal hand tools.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Can be used on unfinished and finished wood
  • Almond scented
  • Darkens wood

Cons

  • Cannot be used on laminates

Conclusion

Leaving behind wood that’s richer and darker, this almond scented polish is versatile, easy to use, and features an organic formula that makes it safe to use around small children and pets.

Furniture Polish Buyer’s Guide

Furniture polish can provide beautiful results, if you choose the right product for your furniture. Keep in mind, polishes will not seal the wood the way that a finish will. Instead, a polish will shine and clean your furniture, renewing its appearance and providing some protection to the underlying finish.

Benefits of Furniture Polish

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Polishing your wood furniture offers a variety of benefits, namely it will restore the wood’s natural beauty, while protecting the wood’s finish. But it also offers other benefits that many people aren’t aware of.

  • Polishing your furniture will protect it from regular wear and tear, increasing your furniture’s longevity
  • When the polish is applied, it will give your furniture a type of stain-resistant finish, preventing the wood from absorbing liquid.
  • When old wood furniture is polished it will have it looking brand new and can minimize the appearance of uneven textures and scratches
  • A polish can also make furniture dust-resistant, which will be huge for anyone with a dust allergy.

Now that you know more about the benefits that come with polishing your furniture, let’s learn about the different types of polishes available and how to make the right choice based on the type of furniture you have and its finish.

Other Important Features

Before you hit that buy now button for the first polish you come across, it’s important that you learn what types of polishes are available, how they work, and which type to choose for your particular type of furniture.

Finish Type

A finish is what seals the wood, protecting it from damage. There are many different types of finishes used on both antique and modern wood pieces of furniture. However, some pieces of wood furniture may also be left unfinished, leaving it with a rich natural look.

It’s crucial that you know what type of finish your furniture has since it will dictate the type of polish you buy. If you don’t know what type of finish is on your furniture, then perform the test below.

  • Use linseed oil and rub some on an inconspicuous part of the furniture to help identify the type of finish the furniture has.
  • If the linseed oil is immediately absorbed into the wood then your furniture has an oil finish.
  • If the oil beads up on the furniture’s surface, then the wood has a hard finish. You can further identify the hard finish by rubbing a cotton swab that’s been saturated in acetone over the surface. If the acetone dissolves within half a minute, then it has a hard lacquer finish. If the acetone turns into a gel-like substance within a couple of minutes, then it’s a shellac or varnish finish. If the acetone beads up on the finish, then it’s a polyurethane finish.
  • If your wood furniture is unfinished, then you should finish it prior to using a furniture polish.

Formula Type

Furniture polish is available in four different formula types. The type you choose will be based on the type of wood finish your furniture has.

Silicone

A silicone polish contains cleaning agents, wax, and silicone. As you polish the wood the product will remove any water-soluble dirt. This type of polish produces a slick, hard film, which makes it compatible with furniture with polyurethane, shellac, or varnish finishes. The slickness of this polish also makes the furniture easier to wipe clean of dirt, and makes it dust repellent.

Emulsion

These polishes are also referred to as cream polishes and they consist of cleaning agents, oil, and water. Each of the ingredients will allow the polish to remove any oil-based or water-soluble build-up from the surface of the wood. This type of polish is compatible with furniture that has polyurethane, shellac, or varnish finishes. Emulsion polishes will produce a type of low-gloss sheen that makes furniture more prone to dust and makes the furniture more difficult to wipe down.

Oil-Based

These polishes contain a mineral oil base that includes solvents. This type is best suited for pieces of furniture with an oil finish. These products leave behind an oil film that achieves a rich, high gloss that will accentuate the gain in the wood. Unfortunately, it can also attract dust.

Waxes

Made out of beeswax or carnauba, these products can offer a satin sheen, or a high gloss depending on the consistency of the wax. A thin layer of wax can help to fend off abrasions and stains and works well with furniture that has a lacquered finish. Paste wax works as a type of wood sealant, so it can be used on unfinished furniture.

Application

Each of the formulas I mentioned above is available in different forms that are applied to furniture using different methods.

Aerosol

Aerosol polishes include oil-based, emulsion, and silicone formulas. Aerosol sprays are the most popular option currently because they require very little work in terms of application. All you have to do is press a button and the pressurized polish will shoot out, with minimal buffing required.

Liquid

Oil-based and emulsion formulas are often found in liquid form. They usually come in bottles that allow you to squirt it or pour it onto a cloth and wipe down your furniture.

Semi-Solid

These polishes are wax-based and sold in small tubs. This type of polish requires the most elbow grease to apply, so you’ll need to slather the product on a cloth, then use some arm power to buff out the furniture.

Furniture Type

Your everyday furniture goes through plenty of wear and tear, which is why they require frequent application of polish once a month in order to maintain shine. Liquid and aerosol polishes can be used to remove dirt, while providing a high-gloss or matte finish.

Antique furniture often features beautiful ornate details that can be brought out with a good oil-based polish. Both wax and oil-based polishes will work well for a high gloss sheen. Fortunately, antique furniture doesn’t have to be polished as often as your everyday furniture. For antiques, you’ll want to avoid using any type of all-purpose cleaner unless the furniture has a plastic coating.

Cleaning wood with water should also be avoided if possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Furniture Polish Good for Wood?

Yes, most are. You’ll need to be on the lookout for low quality products that are chemical heavy. These types of polishes can do more harm than good and can even cause the wood to dry out, leaving behind a muddy appearance.

What Oil is Best for Wood Furniture?

Tung oil is a type of plant-based oil that has a reputation for bringing out the grain in wood. Mineral oil is also a popular option and it’s an oil that’s safe to use on both unfinished and finished wood. Walnut oil and Danish oil are also great options, and both are safe for modern and antique furniture.

Should I Wax or Oil Wood?

Many pros recommend both. But this can ultimately depend on the wood’s finish. Wax is a better option if you’re dealing with damaged or unfinished wood. Both types of products can work well to restore a wood’s natural beauty, so it can all boil down to personal preference. However, applying oil often requires less elbow grease compared to wax.

How Often Do I Need to Polish Furniture?

This can depend on the type of wood, the finish, and even the type of polish you use. If you’re not sure how often to polish your furniture, a visual inspection is usually enough to tell you when it’s time for a good polishing again. If your wood looks dusty, grimy, or dull, break out the polish and give your furniture a good wipe down. In most cases, you’ll find that you won’t need to polish your furniture more than a couple of times a week.

Final Thoughts

The best furniture polish will restore the shine and luster back into your everyday furniture and antique furniture. It’s important that you determine the type of finish your furniture has before you purchase a polish, to ensure that the polish is compatible and will work to remove built-up dirt and grime and can also help to protect your wood’s finish, leaving behind a lasting shine that will really bring out the beauty of the wood.