I receive many questions about commercial polishes and waxes. Most commercial products simply aide in cleaning your furniture, they do not oil, feed, or protect the finish or wood. The summary below is provided to help you understand the types of products available, what they do, and what they don’t do for your furniture.
These products are petroleum distillate based. They are similar to mineral spirits with a fruit scent added. These products clean solvent-soluble dirt such as grease, and will also remove any paste wax. They will not remove water-soluble dirt such as soft drink spills or finger prints. These clear polishes evaporate within a few hours.
Orange oil products have d-limonene as a component which is distilled from cold pressed orange peels. d-limonene is a solvent that can clean solvent-soluble dirt such as grease. It can be blended with other solvents, oils, or emulsified to make water soluble cleaning products.
End Dust, Liquid Gold, Kleen Guard, OZ, Behold, Pledge, Favor, Old English, Guardsman, Wieman.
These polishes are an emulsion of water and an oily substance. They are a combination of water and petroleum distillates, are usually in aerosol form and come out white. Since they have both a water and petroleum base, they can clean water and grease soluble dirt.
Orange Glo, Pledge, Favor, Old English, Kleen Shine, Behold, Klean Shine
These products can be clear or emulsified. They have a small amount of silicone oil added. Silicone oil is a synthetic product that is slicker than petroleum oil, so it resists scratches. Because silicone is an oil rather than a solvent, it usually remains on the surface for weeks. Although these products can create a longer lasting shine and scratch resistance, they will migrate through worn finishes and create problems for refinishing. The silicone has a lower surface tension than lacquer and will cause the lacquer to crawl away from the silicone areas.
Johnson, Renaissance, Minwax, Briwax
These products are the most permanent of the commercial products, but more difficult to apply. Therefore, consumers avoid them even though they need to be maintained only 2-3 times a year. Paste wax is also readily removed by the petroleum distillate commercial products. Therefore, do not polish your waxed surface with commercial polishes. Paste wax offers scratch resistance, protection of deteriorated finishes, and low maintenance. You can contact me for the best way to apply paste waxes.