Furniture polish adds a shine to dull surfaces, provides scratch protection and helps remove dust and stains from wood.
A good quality polish will restore your furniture’s shine without damaging the finish or changing its colour.
When you are shopping for furniture polish, make sure you choose the right one for the type of wood your furniture is made from as well as the type of finish on it.
Generally, polishes with natural ingredients are the best. The restore and protect your furniture without causing any damage to the finish or wood.
In this buying guide, we review the best furniture polishes available on the UK market, and give you some tips on how to shop for the right polish.
What To Consider When Choosing Furniture Polish
a) Furniture Suitability
Check if the polish is suitable for your type of furniture.
Spray polishes are the most versatile. They can be used on many types of wood finishes including oil, varnish and paint.
Some polishes are formulated for use on specific types of wood such as oak and mahogany or certain types of finishes. Others work best for dark coloured wood while others are great for antique furniture.
Read the product description to find out what type of furniture you should use the polish on.
b) Type of Polish
Here are the most common types of furniture polishes.
- Clear polish: Clear polishes consist of mineral spirits, which are made from petroleum. Use a clear polish when you want to remove grease marks and stains. It’s also great for removing wax and oil build-up on the furniture.
- Emulsion polish: An emulsion polish consists of a petroleum solvent and water. It usually comes in form of a spray polish and is great for occasional furniture dusting. It also removes grease, wax and oil build-up.
- Waxes: The most popular wax polish is beeswax. But there are other types as well. A wax polish is best if you want a more permanent finish on your furniture.
- Silicone polish: Silicone polishes consist of mineral spirits (clear polish) or emulsion polish with silicone oil added. The oil prevents the solvent from evaporating too quickly, allowing the polish to settle deeper into the furniture.
The slick silicone oil also provides better protection against scratches and leaves furniture with a shinier and richer look.
The main downside of silicone polishes is that they can leave smears on the wood if not applied correctly. They also attract more dust than other types of polishes, requiring frequent dusting and re-polishing.
c) Spray vs. Wax Polishes
Spray polish: This is the most versatile type of furniture polish. It is also the easiest to apply. You don’t need to spend a lot of time buffing it into the wood, unlike a wax polish. It’s also easier to apply it on harder-to-reach areas such as under the furniture and in corners.
The main downside of spray polish is that you need to apply it more often, usually every month or so.
Wax polish: Wax polish is ideal for wood with a wax finishing. Wax polish takes more time to apply but it provides the best shine and protection. Wax polishing also lasts longer. Applying wax polish twice a year is enough to keep your furniture looking great.
Try not to mix these two types of polishes since a spray polish can strip off the wax.
d) Scented Polishes
The last thing to consider when shopping for furniture polish is whether you want one that’s scented.
A good polish does not have to smell nice so this is not an essential factor. It depends on your personal preferences.
If the polish you’ve chosen doesn’t have a scent, you can use essential oils. Apply a dilute (to avoid stripping the polish) mixture of your favourite essential oil and water after you’ve applied wood polish.
But wait a couple hours between the two applications to ensure the polish as completely dried.
The Best Furniture Polish Reviews
1. Furniture Clinic Beeswax Polish for Wood & Furniture, 200ml
Beeswax polish is a good choice if you don’t want to take any risk damaging your furniture. It’s especially ideal for antique pieces with a delicate wax finish.
This 200ml tin of Furniture Clinic beeswax is not just good for antique furniture; you can also use it on most types of modern wood furniture including oak, teak and mahogany.
The natural beeswax is mixed with mineral spirits that allow the wax to penetrate the surface of the furniture to provide better protection. There are no other ingredients – no oils or silicone.
The wax shields the wood from scratches and scuffs and makes it harder for stains and dirt to settle on the wood.
It also has a moisturizing effect that keeps the wood from drying out and getting dull.
The wax is easy to apply but the process takes time. You’ll need to give it time to dry before you buff it. Use a soft piece of cloth such as microfiber to buff the wax onto the wood surface until you get a good shine.
Depending on how worn your furniture had gotten, you may need to apply more than one layer.
The only downside is that the polish comes in a small tin that empties quickly. Thankfully, you won’t need to apply the polish again for several months.
At most, you’ll probably need just 2-3 tins a year. I recommend ordering multiple tins at the same time so you always have some on hand for future use instead of buying another brand (I don’t like mixing different polishes as I can’t be sure how they’ll react).
What we like about it:
- Long lasting protection.
- Safe for most types of furniture.
- No oils to attract dust.
2. Lakeland Orange Oil Wood Polish, 500ml
This is the best polish for restoring old, dull and dry furniture.
It works great on dressers, tables, chairs and whatever wooden piece you have that needs a lift. You can also use it on wooden flooring, banisters, doors, frames and skirting boards.
Because it is an oil polish, it leaves a more visible shine than wax. It is also much easier to apply. Apply a little on a soft piece of cloth and rub it onto the wooden surface until it absorbs into the wood.
The oil spreads easily on furniture and doesn’t take long to sink under the surface. It leaves a nice orange scent.
Note that the polish can leave a slightly slippery texture on surfaces for a few days. If you use it on the floor or stairs, tell everyone to be careful.
The polish holds up for a surprisingly long time. You don’t need to keep reapplying it every few weeks.
The Lakeland orange oil polish has no solvents so don’t worry that it will eat away your paint or finish.
A little spreads a long way so this 500ml bottle will last you for quite some time. If you don’t like the results, the manufacturer says you can return it for up to three years after purchase.
What we like about it:
- Spreads easily and absorbs fast.
- Makes old and dull furniture look like new.
- Leaves a nice orange scent.
- Three year guarantee.
3. Orange Glo Wood Furniture 2 in 1 Clean and Polish Spray, 473ml
Orange Glo is a good choice if you are looking for a mild spray polish that you can use frequently on your furniture when dusting.
Even if you apply it often, the oil-based spray doesn’t leave a sticky build-up. Instead, it removes whatever wax or oil build-up is there to expose the wood’s original finish.
It also does a great job picking up dust from furniture. Using just a cloth usually pushes the dust around. Using this spray ensures you actually pick it up.
The spray is safe for use on different types of wood furniture as well as the floor, on doors and other wooden surfaces.
This is an oil spray so a little goes a long way. Be especially careful when you are using it on laminates. It’s easy to apply too much and leave the floor wet and slippery.
Apply it on a piece of cloth instead of directly on the wood. You can then rub the cloth onto the wood until you get a nice shine.
The shine holds well for several weeks. Frequently used furniture may require more frequent polishing. Many customers have found that applying it once a month is perfect for keeping furniture looking great.
What we like about it:
- Comes with a plush microfiber cloth.
- Large spray bottle that lasts long.
- Provides an instant and long lasting shine.
- Safe for most wooden furniture and surfaces.
4. HG Furniture Polish, 300ml
If you are on a budget, we recommend this 300ml spray polish from HG. The oil-based spray provides a deep shine and helps get rid of grease marks and build-ups of waxes and oils.
It also removes dust, stains and buffs out scratches and scuffs.
The spray is ideal for use on all types of furniture including solid wood and veneers. It’s also safe for different types of finishes including varnish, oils, paints and stains. It doesn’t contain any solvents or silicones that can affect your furniture.
Application is very easy. The oil spreads easily on furniture and absorbs quickly into the wood. You just need a little to polish a large area. So even though the bottle is a bit smaller than the other spray polishes, it’ll still last a long time.
The HG polish doesn’t have a scent like Orange Glo or Lakeland Orange. Those smell nice but the scent can be a bit too much for people who are sensitive to smells. If you are looking for a scent-free furniture polish, get the HG polish.
Like other spray polishes, you’ll need to apply this one at least once a month to maintain a shiny look on furniture.
What we like about it:
- Mild scent.
- Highly effective at removing dust, stains and grease.
- Provides a bright shine on old and dull furniture.
- No solvents or silicones.
5. Gilboys ‘Antique’ Dark Beeswax Polish, 125ml
If you have some antique furniture, we recommend the Gilboys ‘Antique’ Dark Beeswax Polish. It is formulated specifically for dark coloured antique and vintage pieces made with elm, mahogany, oak or walnut.
It is expensive, especially considering the amount, but it’s the best way to protect your most precious furniture.
The polish is made from natural wax that is gotten from organically farmed sources. It’s environmental-friendliness doesn’t end there.
It comes packaged in a plastic-free box that’s recyclable. In addition to the polish, you get some sweet-pea seeds that the manufacturer encourages customers to plant to provide nectar for honeybees.
The natural formulation of the polish not only makes it safer for your antique furniture but also for your family’s health.
Like other waxes, applying Gilboys beeswax polish requires some elbow grease. Take your time to properly buff it into the wood.
When correctly applied, it should produce a deep and rich shine that last for years.
What we like about it:
- Shines and protects antique furniture.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Lasts for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to French polish furniture?
The first step to a really good French polish is to remove any imperfections or old varnish. You can do this using a polish remover and some really fine sandpaper. You should make sure the wood to be polished is as clean as it can be, and wipe away any dust or debris from the sanding.
- Take your French polish in your chosen colour.
- Make a French polishing rubber by wrapping some lint free cloth around some cotton wadding, and making the whole mass into a flat bottomed pad.
- Pour the French polish directly onto the inside of the rubber, and squeeze out any excess product to prevent ridges forming on the finished polish.
- You are looking for the rubber to move freely over the surface, but not to leave lots of visible polish on the surface of the furniture.
- Working with the grain of the wood, run the rubber along the surface of the furniture. Do this in straight lines if you can, and overlap each previous line slightly so that you don’t miss anything.
- Leave the first coat to dry for a few hours.
- Next, repeat the process but use figure of eight and circular motions rather than straight lines.
- Leave this to dry for a few hours.
- It is recommended that you lightly rub down the surface of the furniture in between coat with fine grit sandpaper, to ensure there are no blemishes and a smooth surface.
- For the final layer, make a new rubber. Soak this one in a mixture of half French polish and half Methylated sprits, and apply this in circular and figure of eight motions to achieve the desired high gloss finish.
- Leave the furniture to harden off for a few days then either gently rub the surface with fine grade wire wool and finish with a gentle wood polish, or rub with the fine wire wool and then apply a burnishing cream.
2. How to clean and polish teak furniture?
Teak is a glorious hard wood that is perfect for furniture as it is incredibly durable. It is also surprisingly easy to clean! All you need to do is wipe it down with some mild soap and warm water, with a cloth dipped in the solution and squeezed until it is almost fully dry.
If you have a teak item of furniture that is badly stained and faded, you can easily restore it by rubbing it with fine sandpaper, then cleaning off the dust and applying a sealant.
Work the sealant deep into the grain using a soft cloth, and don’t be tempted to use oils – this wood is naturally oily, so adding any more to it will not improve it.
Using a sealer rather than oils will also help your teak furniture retain its attractive colour – if your wood has completely dried out and desperately needs a drop of oil, make sure you use Danish Oil, as this will penetrate the wood rather than sitting on the surface.
3. How to remove furniture polish build up on wood?
One again, as in so many cleaning scenarios, white vinegar is the hero of the hour. The acidity of the vinegar cuts through the heavy, sticky consistency of the polish, and using it won’t damage the wood in any way.
- Using a dry cloth, brush any dust and dirt residue of the furniture you are cleaning, to prevent any damage to the wood.
- Combine one part vinegar with one part water in a small bowl.
- Dip a clean soft cloth into the liquid, and wring it out until it is barely damp.
- Rub the surface of the wood with the cloth, following the direction of the grain.
- Wipe the surface straight after you have done this, as the water contained in the mixture can cause the wood to swell.
- You can use a cotton bud dipped in this same solution to clean out any small cracks and crevices that the cloth cannot reach.
If the vinegar solution does not remove the build up, you can also use paint thinner in the same way – but do take care to do a “patch test” before you use this over the surface of your treasured furniture.