Removing Wax Coats from Finished Wood

Advice on solvents and pads to scrub wax off of finishes. October 1, 2010

Question
I have cherry solid wood panels lacquer top coated and waxed. The surface looks milky and dusty after waxing 2-3 weeks. How can I eliminate this problem? My plan is to remove the wax and spray a clear coat of MLC Magnamax.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Mineral Spirits will remove the wax. Before coating with Magnamax, I would prep the surface thoroughly with a wipe-down of acetone. But, be forewarned, getting all the wax off is labor intensive!



From contributor B:
I'd borrow a page from body shops when removing wax. Prep-sol from Dupont, not exactly sure of the spelling, will take wax off as well as silicone and it won't hurt the lacquer underneath. This is what they wipe cars down with before repainting. I've used it on furniture before and have no complaints.


From contributor W:
What kind of wax do you have? I agree with Contributor R, you can wipe the wax with mineral spirits. I did it many times with good results. You may need to use brush or steel wool to clean up the wax.


From contributor Y:
I agree with Contributor R and W. I would add one thing though. Use a piece of steel wool that is soaked in mineral spirits. It will pick up the wax instead of just spreading it around. I've never heard of Prep-Sol but it sounds like itís worth looking into. Mineral Spirits doesn't seem to get all the wax off.


From contributor H:
It is a better bet to use Naphtha. It is far cleaner that paint thinner and dries faster. It is a few ticks up from minerals spirits on the distillation process. Also I would not use regular steel wool, it is cut with machine oil and could cause reaction problems with you finish. Use a non-woven pad if you have a heavy build. You will know if you have any wax remaining when you sand the lacquer finish out, it will ball up on the paper.


From contributor K:
I also use Naptha. If you want to use steel wool then use Liberonís, as it is oil free and better graded than others out there. Donít use steel wool if you are finishing with H2O based finishes. Otherwise use 3M pads.