Lacquered furniture can become dirty, dull, discoloured or crazed (i.e., a network of fine cracks appears in the surface) over time. However, do not throw out that old sentimental piece or pass by that appealing piece at a tag sale simply because they are lacquered. Even finished pieces can be cleaned, restained, and refinished.
Apply white spirit to a very fine 0 or 00 grade steel wool.
Gently rub the surface of the lacquered piece with the steel wool to remove wax residue, spoiled lacquer, and dirt.
Use a clean, dry, soft cloth to remove any excess white spirit from the surface of your lacquered piece.
Mix equal parts of lacquer thinner and thinner retardant in a plastic paint tray. Drip a clean, dry cloth into this mixture and apply it to any crazing or wrinkling areas of the lacquer. Once these areas are thinned, quickly remove the solution with a slightly damp, clean cloth.
Fill any areas that are faded with a new coat of wax-based stain. Rub a clean cloth into the stain and rub it carefully onto the bare areas. Pat excess stain from the surface with another clean cloth. Allow the stain to dry completely.
Apply a coat of fine paste finishing wax over the entire piece with a soft cloth, rubbing it in as your did the wax stain.
If your lacquered piece needs to be completely stripped and refinished, it is best to take it to a professional refinisher. You can apply a new coat of lacquer, rather than the finishing wax, but it is not advisable.