Paste wax can be applied to wood for a number of different reasons. The wax can add a finish to wood that gives it the appearance of a fresh shine, all the time. Paste wax also protects wood from water vapor, and heat trauma. Like any material, paste wax can be applied by accident, or may need to be removed and replaced. There are a number of methods for removing paste wax from a wood surface.
Rub a thin layer of paste wax over the surface of the wax you want to remove. This method will be especially useful if the paste wax is still wet or only recently dried. The new layer of paste wax will soften the pre-existing layer. Before the new layer has the chance to dry, wipe away all of the wax with a cloth or with an abrasive pad, such as steel wool.
Be careful not to let the new layer of wax dry, or else you will be facing an even thicker layer of wax that will be even harder to remove.
Mineral spirits is a general term used for industrial-grade solvents. They are often used as equipment degreasers and can remove oil, carbon and grease from metal equipment. Also called “white spirits,” mineral spirits have a cleaning power that is rivaled by few products. Mineral spirits are available at most hardware stores.
Pour a small amount of the mineral spirit cleaner onto a steel wool pad and scrub the paste wax surface. You can also use sandpaper to scrub the surface; abrasive scrubbing pads such as steel wool and sandpaper will help to detach the wax from the surface.
The acidic nature of household ammonia and vinegar can help to break down the bond paste wax forms with the surface to which it is applied. Try rubbing one of these products onto the surface with a rag or a steel wool pad.
Many companies that produce wood finishers will also produce specialty cleaners, such as Mohawk’s Wax Wash or Minwax’s Furniture Refinisher. These products can also be applied using abrasive scrubbers such as steel wool or sandpaper for added wax-removing power.
For all chemical-based cleaners, including mineral spirits, wash wax and ammonia, wear gloves and avoid breathing in the fumes of the cleaners. Work in a well-ventilated area outside, or open windows and doors. Consider wearing a respirator mask if you are unable to ventilate your workspace. Chemical fumes can be extremely dangerous if inhaled in large quantities.