Mistakes to Avoid When Waxing Your Furniture

Maintaining the shine and keeping your furniture in top condition is a task that confuses many. With so many products and approaches to choose from, waxing may seem easy, but it is more complicated than …

» Polishing Techniques » Waxing » Mistakes to Avoid When Waxing Your Furniture

Maintaining the shine and keeping your furniture in top condition is a task that confuses many. With so many products and approaches to choose from, waxing may seem easy, but it is more complicated than it appears. The wrong method can lead to poor results, which can be annoying to fix, and in the worst case, irreversible damage. So, before you start waxing your furniture make sure that you understand the process and learn from experts. This article is designed to identify and explain ten common mistakes that one must avoid when waxing furniture. By avoiding these pitfalls, your furniture will look great and last longer.


Proper preparation is key to achieving great results when waxing your furniture. Before you begin, it’s important to make sure the surface of your furniture is clean, smooth, and free from any dust, debris or imperfections. This will ensure that the wax adheres evenly and creates a beautiful finish. If you’re unsure how to prepare your furniture for waxing, check out our article on preparing your furniture for waxing for some helpful tips and tricks.

1. Not Cleaning the Surface

When it comes to waxing furniture, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not cleaning the surface properly before applying wax. This is a crucial step in the process, as any dirt or debris left on the surface can be sealed in by the wax, leaving behind unsightly blemishes. To avoid this, it is important to take the time to thoroughly clean the furniture before applying wax.

One way to clean the surface is to use a mild soap and warm water. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as these can damage the finish of the furniture. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge to gently remove any dirt or grime.

Another option is to use a wax remover or mineral spirits to clean the surface. This is particularly useful if there is already wax buildup on the furniture. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product carefully and use gloves and proper ventilation when working with these chemicals.

After cleaning, make sure the surface is completely dry before proceeding with waxing. Any moisture left on the surface can also affect the finished result.

By properly cleaning the surface before waxing, you can ensure that the wax adheres to the furniture evenly and creates a beautiful finish that will last. For more information on waxing furniture, check out our DIY furniture waxing tips and tricks article.

2. Not Sanding the Surface

Sanding the surface is an essential step that should not be skipped when waxing your furniture. Many people make the mistake of thinking that just applying wax directly onto their furniture would suffice. However, this is not the case as the surface of the furniture needs to be adequately prepped before the wax can be applied.

Why is sanding necessary?

Sanding is necessary to remove any existing wax or finish that might be present on the furniture. Sanding will remove the top layer, revealing the bare wood, and creating a clean and smooth surface on which the wax can adhere.

How to sand the surface?

When sanding, start from the rough grit sandpaper and then move onto a fine grit until the surface is smooth. The rough grit will remove any finish or wax from the furniture, while the fine grit will provide a smooth surface for the wax to adhere better. It is essential to sand with the grain to avoid scratches on the surface of the furniture.

What happens if you don’t sand the surface?

If the surface is not sanded before waxing, the wax will not adhere well to the furniture, and the result will be patchy and uneven. Not sanding the surface can also lead to a buildup of wax, which can attract dirt and dust, making your furniture appear dull and unclean.

To learn more about the benefits of waxing your furniture and how frequently you should do it, check out our article on wax furniture benefits. For more information on the different types of household wax available, check out our article on types of household wax. If you’re new to waxing and looking for the best application techniques, read our guide to the best application techniques for waxing.

3. Not Using Tack Cloth

Applying wax to your furniture without cleaning the surface and sanding it could lead to particles and debris getting trapped under the wax. This mistake will lead to a rough and uneven surface, leaving your furniture looking patchy and unrefined. Thus, cleaning and sanding go without saying when it comes to preparing your furniture for waxing.

Another commonly overlooked step for beginners when it comes to waxing furniture is not using a tack cloth to remove any remaining dust or debris from sanding. A tack cloth is a sticky cloth that attracts and holds onto any leftover particles, so they don’t get trapped in the wax, resulting in a smooth and even surface.

Not using a tack cloth can also lead to the wax spreading unevenly and leaving an unprofessional look. These cloths are easily accessible from your local hardware store or online and are relatively inexpensive. Tack cloths should always be used, especially when you are working with porous woods like oak or mahogany.

To use a tack cloth, simply unfold it and run it over the surface of the furniture, starting from one end to the other. Avoid rubbing too hard, or you may damage the surface. Use more than one tack cloth, as these cloths become less effective the more they are used, and ensure that you dispose of the used tack cloth after each use.

Using a tack cloth is one of the most crucial steps when it comes to waxing furniture, and it’s something that you should never skip. This step will help you achieve a professional and high-quality finish, leaving your furniture looking beautiful and as good as new.

If you’re new to waxing furniture, you may find our beginners’ guide to waxing furniture helpful. You can also learn about the difference between waxing and polishing by checking out our guide to waxing vs. polishing. Remember, waxing your furniture is an art that requires patience and practice, and it’s something that should be done with care and attention. You can also read our articles on how often to wax your furniture and how to revive your furniture using colored wax.


Once you have properly prepared your furniture for waxing, it’s time to move on to the application stage. This is where attention to detail is key, as making mistakes during this step can result in an uneven finish. It’s important to keep in mind a few common errors to avoid and best practices to follow when applying wax to your furniture. Read on to discover these tips and ensure a flawless waxing process.

4. Using Too Much Wax

Using too much wax is a common mistake people often make when waxing their furniture. While it may seem like a good idea to apply a lot of wax to ensure that the surface is fully covered, this can actually do more harm than good. When you use too much wax, it can create a build-up on the surface that is not only unsightly but can also attract dust and dirt, making maintenance of the furniture more difficult.

To avoid using too much wax, simply apply a thin layer of wax using a clean, lint-free cloth. Apply the wax in the direction of the wood grain, covering one small area at a time. Don’t be tempted to go back over the same area repeatedly, as this can cause too much wax to build up in one spot.

If you find that the wax is difficult to buff out, you’ve probably used too much. Reducing the amount of wax on the surface will usually solve this problem. Remember that you can always apply additional layers of wax if needed, but removing excess wax can be difficult and time-consuming.

Tips to avoid using too much wax:

  • Use a thin layer of wax, covering one small area at a time
  • Apply the wax in the direction of the wood grain
  • Don’t go back over the same spot repeatedly
  • Buff out any excess wax to avoid a build-up on the surface
  • Don’t be tempted to use too much wax in the hopes of achieving a richer color or shine. It won’t work and may cause more harm than good.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to use just the right amount of wax to keep your furniture looking beautiful and well-maintained. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to furniture waxing.

5. Not Buffing Properly

One of the most crucial steps in waxing your furniture is buffing it properly. Failure to do so will result in a dull, hazy appearance on your waxed furniture.

To avoid this mistake, you need to follow the proper techniques for buffing. First, use a clean, dry, lint-free cloth to gently remove any excess wax from the surface. Then, using another clean, dry, lint-free cloth, buff the surface using small circular motions until you achieve a smooth, glossy finish.

It’s essential to note that buffing requires some elbow grease, and you need to be patient to get it right. Don’t rush the process or use too much pressure as it may damage the wax coating.

For large or intricate pieces of furniture, consider using an electric buffer or a polishing tool to make the job easier and faster. When using these tools, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid any damage to your furniture.

Proper buffing is the key to a flawless finish on your furniture, and it’s worth investing the time and effort to achieve the best results. Remember to use a gentle touch, plenty of elbow grease, and the right tools for the job to avoid the mistake of not buffing properly.

Mistake: Not buffing properly
Why it’s a mistake: It results in a dull, hazy appearance on waxed furniture
How to avoid it: Use the proper buffing techniques, including using a clean, dry, lint-free cloth, small circular motions, and avoiding too much pressure. For large or intricate pieces, consider using an electric buffer or polishing tool, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

6. Applying Wax Too Often

It is natural to want to keep your furniture looking shiny and new, but be careful not to overdo it when it comes to applying wax. Applying wax too often can actually do more harm than good, and lead to a buildup of product.

When you apply a new coat of wax over an old one, it can create a layer of buildup that doesn’t allow the surface to breathe. This can cause the finish to crack or become cloudy, and can also make it difficult to remove wax in the future.

Here are some tips for avoiding mistakes when it comes to applying wax:

Tip #1 Make sure to remove any old wax buildup before applying a new coat.
Tip #2 Only apply wax when the surface looks dull or scratched, and avoid doing it too frequently.
Tip #3 Be sure to buff the surface well after applying wax, to remove any excess and to work it into the wood.
Tip #4 Use a high-quality wax that is specifically designed for your type of wood, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and frequency.
Tip #5 Consider using an alternative to wax, such as a natural oil or polish, which can achieve a similar shine without the risk of buildup.

Remember, when it comes to waxing your furniture, less is often more. By avoiding the mistake of applying wax too often, you can maintain the beauty and durability of your furniture for years to come.


Just like any other piece of furniture in your home, regular maintenance is necessary to keep it looking its best. Proper maintenance not only helps to ensure that your furniture stays looking beautiful for years to come, but it can also help to protect it from damage or wear and tear. However, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of furniture maintenance, as some common mistakes could actually cause more harm than good. Let’s explore some important maintenance tips that will help you avoid common mistakes and keep your furniture in top shape.

7. Not Dusting Regularly

Regular dusting is crucial when it comes to maintaining the beauty of your waxed furniture. Neglecting it can lead to a buildup of dust and dirt, which can scratch and damage the surface. Here are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to dusting your waxed furniture:

What to avoid What to do instead
Don’t use feather dusters or dry cloths. Use a soft, lint-free cloth, such as microfiber or cotton.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners or polishes. Use a cleaner specifically designed for waxed furniture, or simply dampen the cloth with water.
Don’t forget to dust the nooks and crannies. Be thorough and dust all areas of the furniture, including any carvings and crevices.
Don’t wait too long between dustings. Dust your furniture at least once a week, or more often if you live in a dusty environment.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your waxed furniture stays looking beautiful for years to come. Don’t neglect this important task – dusting regularly is crucial for maintaining the health and appearance of your furniture.

8. Using Harsh Cleaners

Cleaning your waxed furniture is essential to maintaining its beautiful finish, but using harsh cleaners can actually do more harm than good. It’s important to choose the right type of cleaners and avoid any that contain chemicals or ingredients that can damage the wax or wood. Here are some tips to help you avoid this common mistake:

Do: Don’t:
– Use a damp cloth or sponge with mild soap and water
– Dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning
– Use a soft-bristled brush for hard-to-reach areas
– Use abrasive scrubbers or steel wool
– Use cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals
– Use too much water or allow water to sit on the surface for too long

By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your waxed furniture looking its best without damaging the finish. Remember to always read the label of any cleaning products you use and test on a small, inconspicuous area first before cleaning the entire surface. And if you’re unsure about a particular cleaner, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it altogether.

9. Not Reapplying Wax

One common mistake people make after waxing their furniture is failing to reapply wax periodically. This can lead to a buildup of grime, dirt, and debris that can ruin the finish of your furniture. Additionally, if you don’t reapply wax on a regular basis, your furniture can become susceptible to water damage, stains, and scratches.

To avoid this mistake, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a high-quality wax that is specifically designed for use on your type of furniture.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how often you should reapply the wax. This can vary depending on the type of wax and the level of use your furniture gets.
  3. Take note of any areas that may need extra attention, such as high-traffic areas or areas that are prone to spills or wear and tear.
  4. Use a clean, dry cloth to apply a thin layer of wax to the surface of your furniture, paying special attention to the areas you identified in step 3.
  5. Allow the wax to fully dry, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the type of wax you are using.
  6. Buff the surface of your furniture with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess wax and to give it a beautiful shine.
  7. Repeat this process on a regular basis to keep your furniture looking clean and well-maintained.

Remember that applying wax is an essential step in protecting your furniture and keeping it looking beautiful for years to come. Don’t forget to set reminders or create a schedule for when to reapply wax, as it can be easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of daily life.


As you come to the end of your waxing journey, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on the effort you’ve put into your furniture. You’ve taken the time to prepare the surface, apply the wax, and maintain the shine. However, there is one final mistake to avoid that can undo all your hard work. Protecting your furniture from direct sunlight is crucial in order to ensure the longevity of the finish. Allowing your furniture to be exposed to the harsh rays of the sun can cause fading and damage to the finish over time. Don’t let this mistake be the cause of premature wear and tear on your beloved pieces. Remember to take the necessary precautions to protect your furniture and enjoy the benefits of a well-cared-for home.

10. Not Protecting Your Furniture from Direct Sunlight

Strong direct sunlight can be harmful to your furniture, causing it to fade and lose its luster over time. This is why it’s important to protect your furniture from direct sunlight. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Place your furniture away from windows: The best way to protect your furniture from direct sunlight is by positioning it away from windows or other sources of direct sunlight.
  • Use curtains or blinds: If you can’t move your furniture away from windows, consider using curtains or blinds to shield it from the sun’s rays. This will help minimize the amount of direct sunlight that hits your furniture.
  • Apply a UV protectant: Consider applying a UV protectant to your furniture to prevent it from fading due to direct sunlight. This will create a barrier between your furniture and harmful UV rays, helping to maintain its original color and finish. Just make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using a UV protectant.
  • Rotate your furniture: Another way to protect your furniture from direct sunlight is to rotate it periodically. This will ensure that all parts of your furniture receive equal amounts of sunlight and prevent fading and discoloration caused by prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays.

Not protecting your furniture from direct sunlight can have a lasting impact on its appearance and overall value. So make sure to take the necessary steps to keep your furniture looking great for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I wax my furniture without cleaning it first?

No, cleaning the furniture first is essential to remove any dirt, dust, or oils that may interfere with the wax’s ability to adhere to the surface.

2. Do I really need to sand my furniture before waxing it?

Yes, sanding is necessary to get rid of any existing wax or finish and to create a surface that can absorb the new wax adequately.

3. What is a tack cloth, and why do I need to use it?

A tack cloth is a sticky piece of fabric that is used to remove any dust or debris left on the furniture after sanding. It is essential to use a tack cloth to ensure the wax adheres to the surface properly.

4. How much wax should I apply to my furniture?

You should only apply a thin layer of wax to the surface. Applying too much wax can leave a streaky and uneven finish on the furniture.

5. Can I skip buffing the wax after applying it?

No, buffing the wax is crucial to achieving a smooth and polished finish. Skipping this step can leave the surface looking dull and uneven.

6. How often should I be applying wax to my furniture?

You should only need to reapply wax every six months to a year, depending on the amount of use your furniture receives.

7. What is the best way to dust my furniture after waxing it?

Use a soft cloth or feather duster to gently remove any dust from the surface of the furniture.

8. Can I use any cleaner on my waxed furniture?

No, harsh cleaners can damage the wax finish. Use a gentle cleaner specifically designed for use on waxed furniture.

9. What should I do if my waxed furniture starts to look dull or faded?

You may need to reapply a thin layer of wax to the surface to restore its shine and protect it from further damage.

10. How do I protect my furniture from direct sunlight?

Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight, or use shades or curtains to block the UV rays that can fade the furniture’s finish.


Leave a Comment