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Everything You Need to Know About Paste Wax

photo of applying wax paste

For thousands of years, people have been using wax to protect and beautify wooden surfaces. From architectural trim to fine furniture, picture frames, and kitchen implements, paste wax has been front and center when it comes to taking care of those wooden surfaces.

Here is a quick crash course in paste wax – what it is and how and when to use it to protect wooden items.

What is Paste Wax?

Paste wax is a thick, waxy substance, often made from natural materials. Carnauba palm trees from Brazil are the source for some of the best waxes on the market. Beeswax is another natural wax that can be used to protect wood. Waxes often come in different shades, helping you to match the wood you will apply it to.

In many products, a combination of natural and manmade waxes are blended to provide lasting protection for wood. These combination waxes tend to be less expensive than all-natural varieties.

When Should I Use Paste Wax?

Paste wax can be used on most wooden surfaces, but it is not the only protective finish you can use. Wax helps to waterproof wood, sealing the pores and grain of wooden surfaces and protecting them from moisture damage. Wax is not resistant to heat, however. Placing a hot mug of tea on a waxed wood surface can leave marks. Alcohol can also dissolve the wax, leading to unsightly marks and stains in the wood you were trying to protect.

Paste wax is great at hiding scratches and filling in shallow depressions. For furniture and wooden items that look a little beat up, wax is an ideal way to restore the wood’s beauty.

Wax is best on furniture that doesn’t see a lot of use. Wood that is handled regularly or sees drinks or food is better protected by another finish. One of the benefits of wax is that it won’t change the color of the piece it is applied to, unlike other finishes.

How Do I Apply Paste Wax?

With a soft cotton cloth, apply a small amount of wax to the wooden item and rub in a circular motion, one area at a time. Apply more wax to the cloth and continue on the piece until the item has an even coating. Take your time and only use a small amount of wax to prevent buildup.

With another clean cloth, gently remove the hazy surface that appears once the wax dries. With another cloth, you can then buff the item until it has a brilliant shine.


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