How to remove polish from wood

Wood furniture looks beautiful with a high-gloss shine, and the furniture polish used to create that shine also provides a protective coat. But if the polish builds up over time, it can give wood furniture a dull finish or yellowed appearance. Remove old furniture polish from wood furniture as a part of regular furniture care. Use supplies from home to keep your high-quality wood furniture looking its best.

Place a plastic dust sheet on the floor beneath your wood furniture. This will help you keep the mess to a minimum.

Boil two cups of water in a small to medium pot. Add two tea bags and allow them to steep in the hot water for five minutes.

Allow the tea solution to cool until it is slightly warmer than room temperature.

Dip a clean cloth in the tea solution and wring out. Use the tea-soaked cloth to wipe off the polish on your furniture. Tea contains tannic acid, which will remove the polish and help restore the wood's shine.

Fill a bucket with warm water and some oil-based soap. Soak a clean towel in the solution, then wring out the excess liquid.

Wash the tea solution off your wood furniture using the soapy solution. Follow by wiping with a cloth dampened in plain water. Dry with a clean towel.


Use a lemon oil cleaner to clean your wood furniture and polish only occasionally.


Silicone wax wash, found in automotive departments, also removes furniture polish but can be very messy and requires ventilation.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic dust sheet (optional)
  • Medium cooking pot
  • Measuring cups
  • 2 tea bags
  • Clean towels or rags
  • Oil-based soap
  • Bucket
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.