How to Remove Sticky Furniture Polish


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

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Small container
  • Soft cloths
  • Bucket
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Gum turpentine
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mineral spirits
  • #0000 steel wool

Furniture Polish Buildup Removal 1

  • Mix equal parts 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 buildup is gone.

Furniture Polish Buildup Removal 2

  • Pour 1 gallon of hot water into a bucket. Add 2 tbsp. of gum turpentine and 4 tbsp. of boiled linseed oil.

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

  • Buff the furniture dry with a clean cloth.

Softened Finish Removal

  • Saturate a soft cloth in mineral spirits and wring out the excess. The cloth should be damp not soggy. Alternatively, use #0000 steel wool dipped in the mineral spirits.

  • 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.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you ventilate your work area well.

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  • Photo Credit Warm wood from old furniture image by giacomo scandroglio from
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