Wood Polishing Explained: Types, How to-do, Top Tips and More

What is Wood Polishing

Think about your antique wooden table in your home; isn’t it the most lovable thing among other modern, sleek furniture? Now, if you love your antique wooden table so much, then you must keep it maintained and always intact like you bought it yesterday. But how? 

The answer is Wood Polishing. It is a simple yet transformative process that revives the natural aesthetic beauty of wood and protects it from further damage. At its core, wood polishing aims to safeguard the appearance and integrity of wooden furniture, architectural elements, or decorative pieces through routine cleaning, restoring, and sealing the porous surface.

This article is your ultimate guide to wood polishing, and it will reveal everything about it. Get ready to celebrate the timeless beauty of wood and read the secrets of wood polishing to keep your wooden treasures safe for a long time. 

Understanding Wood Polishing

Wood polishing is the process of smoothing and sealing the surface of wooden furniture or other objects to enhance their appearance and protect them. It involves using abrasives like sandpaper to gently remove imperfections, followed by finishers that fill pores and create a protective coating.

There are different levels of wood polishing – from basic cleaning and waxing to extensive sanding and finishing. The level chosen depends on the current condition of the wood and the desired final look.

Polishing brings out the natural color and grain pattern of wood. It also makes the wood more stain and water-resistant. Regular polishing is important for maintenance.

Types of Wood Polishes

There are majorly two categories of wood polishes:

1. Surface Wood Polish

Surface wood polish is about creating a thick layer on the wood to protect it from moisture or the environment.  

Types of Surface Wood Polish


This popular choice dries quickly and creates a hard, durable finish with a high shine. It’s ideal for furniture, cabinets, and doors. However, lacquer can be sensitive to Heat and chemicals, requiring careful application and maintenance.


Another classic option, varnish, offers excellent protection against moisture and scratches. It provides a warm, natural-looking finish that can be matte, satin, or glossy. Varnish takes longer to dry than lacquer but is generally easier to apply and repair.

Derived from a resin produced by lac insects, shellac dries rapidly and creates a hard, protective finish. It’s known for its excellent clarity and ability to enhance wood grain. However, shellac is water-sensitive and can be easily scratched.

Polyurethane (PU)

A versatile and durable option, PU polishes offer excellent protection against moisture, scratches, and chemicals. They come in various sheen levels and are relatively easy to apply. However, PU can be challenging to repair and may emit strong fumes during application.


A traditional choice, wax polishes provide a soft, natural-looking shine and offer good moisture resistance. They’re relatively easy to apply and buff, making them ideal for antiques and delicate furniture. However, wax polishes require frequent reapplication and offer less protection than other options.

2. Penetrating Wood Polish

Penetrating wood polish is an oil-based polish that penetrates the wood. 

Types of Penetrating Wood Polishes

Oil-based polishes

These natural oils, like tung oil or linseed oil, penetrate deep into the wood, enriching its color and grain. They offer excellent moisture resistance and protection against rot and insects. However, oil-based polishes can take a long time to dry and require regular reapplication.

Wax-based penetrating polishes

Combining the benefits of oils and waxes, these polishes offer deep nourishment and a subtle sheen. They’re a good choice for furniture and antiques that need both protection and a natural look.

Water-based penetrating polishes

A more eco-friendly option, these polishes are easy to apply and dry quickly. They offer moderate protection against moisture and scratches but may not be as durable as oil-based options.

How to Prepare for Wood Polishing?

If you are not hiring any interior design company in Gurgaon for the wood polishing, then you can prepare yourself for the same by following the below process:

Gather Supplies

Preparation for the wood polishing starts from gathering the necessary supplies like fine-grit sandpaper, dust rags, soft polishing cloths, brushes for apertures, and, of course, your chosen polish. A spray bottle filled with water can also come in handy for dampening dust.

Prepare the Surface

Before applying the polish to the wood, you should prepare the surface. You are preparing, including dust removal and previous polish removal, with a damp rag. You can use fine-grit sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain for stubborn dust/grime. Remove the dust & grime gently.

Take Safety Precautions

While applying the wood polish, you must ensure your safety. Gloves and a mask are crucial to protect you from dust, chemicals, and splinters. If your chosen polish has strong fumes, ensure good ventilation. Open windows, turn on fans or work outdoors if possible. And remember, keep sparks and flames away from flammable polishes.

The Wood Polishing Process

Here’s the step-by-step wood polishing guide for you:

Step 1: Choose your wood polish. There are multiple types of wood polishes; you must choose your polish according to your furniture.

Step 2: Remove the dust/previous polish and prepare the surface for the new wood polish.

Step 3: Apply the new wood polish patiently by following the grain. If needed, you can apply multiple coats of the polish and allow each coat to dry completely before moving on to the next.

Step 4: Understand your wood maintenance & plan occasional reapplication of the polish.

Step 5: It’s ready; now, enjoy your work.

How to maintain Polished Wood?

Here are some tips to keep your wood vibes fresh always:

1. Clean it regularly

From dusting frequently to cleaning with water-based spills and occasional deep cleaning, you must clean your recently polished furniture for a lively vibe.

2. Repolish or touch-up

If you feel the vibes of your wood are getting dull, you can give it a touch-up or think about repolishing it. Remember to understand when to re polish and not overdo it.

3. Protect from direct sunlight

Excessive UV exposure can fade and damage the wood. Reposition furniture if needed and consider UV-protective blinds or curtains.

4. Humidity balance

Avoid extremes in humidity, as it can cause wood to warp or crack. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier if needed.

5. Keep away from the Heat

Keep furniture away from radiators and fireplaces to prevent cracking or drying.

6. Avoid harsh chemicals

Never use aggressive cleaners, bleach, or ammonia on polished wood. Stick to gentle options!

Tips for Picking the Right Wood Polish

Here are some tips to ensure your prized furniture and treasures gleam with health and happiness:

Know Your Wood

First things first, you must know which wood you are dealing with, if it is an oak wood or a teakwood. Different wood types have different needs. Some polishes, like oil-based ones, penetrate deeply, while others, like water-based options, provide a light protective layer. Choose the polish that caters to your wood’s specific grain, porosity, and temperament.

Desired Finish

Talk with yourself about which sort of appeal you want from your wood. A high-gloss mirror finish or a soft, natural glow? This ultimately depends on your taste and the piece’s style. Oil-based polishes tend to offer a deeper shine, while waxes provide a matte, warm look. Remember, you can always layer for a customized finish!

Protection Priorities

Think of your wood if it faces sunlight in a brightly lit room. Or moisture in a humid room? Choose a polish based on the threats your wood might encounter. Oil-based polishes offer excellent water resistance, while waxes excel at repelling dust and fingerprints.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

Consider the maintenance of the wood polishes as some polishes, like water-based options, are quick and easy to apply but require more frequent reapplication. Oil-based polishes offer long-lasting protection but might require more elbow grease during application. Choose a polish that fits your lifestyle and cleaning rhythm.

Safety First

Always check the polish’s ingredients and ensure it’s suitable for your family and pets. Opt for natural, eco-friendly options whenever possible. Remember, safety is the shiniest polish of all!

Cost of Wood Polish

See, it’s quite simple: if you hire some professional and the best interior designers in Gurgaon, then you will get the finest quality of service delivered for your lovable wooden furniture. The cost of wood polish depends on the type of polish, furniture & the company you are hiring. But the water-based polishes are the most cost-effective and start from 30/35 per sqft.  

Wood Polishing? It is Just a Matter Of Space

Just like you iron your clothes to make them look fresher, you need wood polish to give the vibrant shine back to your wooden furniture. At Matter Of Space (A professional interior design company in Gurgaon), we understand the unique needs of wood, and our team of skilled technicians has the expertise to handle any type of wood, from delicate antiques to sturdy modern furniture. Whether you desire a dazzling high-gloss finish or a soft, natural glow, we offer a range of polishes and techniques to achieve your desired look.

So, ditch the DIY struggles and let Matter of Space handle the magic. We’ll bring back the warmth and beauty of your wood and transform your space into a haven of gleaming elegance.


We hope this article helped you with wood polishing. Now, if you have any antique wooden furniture in your home/office and you need to revamp that, then you can research the best interior designers in Gurgaon and get the magic done effortlessly.

Additional Read: Everything You Need To Know about Wallpaper Designs in 2024

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