How to remove sticky furniture polish

Written by amanda flanigan | 13/05/2017
How to remove sticky furniture polish
A sticky residue can develop on your wood funriture over time. (leungchopan/iStock/Getty Images)

A sticky film on your wood furniture is typically either the result of a softened, deteriorated finish or a build-up of waxy furniture polish. A sticky finish will leave your furniture susceptible to dirt, dust and grime. Remove the sticky residue with a furniture polish build-up removal method first. If that doesn't do the job, then try the softened finish removal method.

Cleaning method

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a small container.

Saturate a soft cloth in the mixture. Wring out the excess liquid so the cloth is damp but not soggy.

Rub the furniture with the cloth in a circular motion while applying light pressure. Continue rubbing until the sticky build-up is gone.

Linseed oil method

Pour 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of hot water into a bucket. Add 30 ml (2 tbsp) of turpentine and 60 ml (4 tbsp) of boiled linseed oil.

Wear a pair of rubber gloves and submerge a cloth in the mixture. Wring out the excess liquid and rub the furniture in a circular motion until the polish residue is removed.

Buff the furniture dry with a clean cloth.

Softened finish method

Saturate a soft cloth in white spirit and wring out the excess. The cloth should be damp not soggy. Alternatively, use fine-grade steel wool dipped in the white spirit.

Scrub the wood furniture with the cloth or steel wool in a gentle circular motion until all softened finish is gone.

Wipe the furniture dry with a soft cloth. Depending on how much finish has been removed, you may need to strip and refinish the wood.


Make sure you ventilate your work area well.

Things you need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Small container
  • Soft cloths
  • Bucket
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Turpentine
  • Rubber gloves
  • White spirit
  • Fine-grade steel wool

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