Asked on Nov 21, 2017

How to remove SC Johnson Paste Wax from table top

by Lou
Two to three weeks ago I waxed our new dining room table with SC Johnson Paste Wax. I had thought the wax would harden and provide a smooth protective finish. The wax did provide a pleasing finish but the wax smears easily. I rebuff by hand then when touched on something is placed on the waxed surface new smears appear.

How can I safely remove SC Johnston Paste wax from the table?

  • I have no idea what clear coating finish was applied to the table top during manufacture.

Thanks for your help.

  3 answers
  • William William on Nov 21, 2017

    Dampen a soft rag with mineral spirits and rub the surface. Mineral spirits dissolves paste wax but won't harm cured polyurethane varnish.

    Keep the surface of the rag fresh by turning the rag around or exchanging it for a clean one. The rag will quickly turn brown as wax accumulates on it; if you keep using that part of the rag, you'll simply transfer the wax to another part of the surface.

    Use rubbing alcohol for problem areas. It's a stronger solvent, but it's also safe for reactive finishes like polyurethane varnish.

    Mineral spirits is usually also safe for lacquer finishes, but you should test an inconspicuous area before using any of these solvents.

    Use auto paste wax in the future.

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 22, 2017

    You can use a rag dampened with mineral spirits to remove wax, go with the grain. When doing a wax finish, its usually done over a shellac finish buffed off with 0000 steel wool, then a little goes a long way.

  • Lou Lou on Nov 23, 2017

    Based upon a suggestion I used VM&P Naphtha instead of mineral spirits. It perfectly removed the wax without any harm to the tabletops finish. Supposedly, VM&P Naphtha is somewhat safer than mineral spirits. Thanks to everyone for your help.