Best Wood Waxes 2021 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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Top pick

Howard Citrus Shield Paste Wax

 

Best Wood Wax

 

Howard Wax is a versatile wax that can be used on different types of wood projects. It protects and enhances the color of your wood. It features 5 colors so you can choose your favorite.

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wood-waxWhen you want to retain the beauty of wood surface, turn to the method craftsmen have been using for centuries: wood wax.
It’s critical to select the correct wood wax for furniture, woodwork, tools, and kitchen accessories for optimal results. That’s why I reviewed the best wood waxes on the market to assist you when making your purchasing decision.

Best Wood Waxes in January, 2021

Still not sure which wood wax is best for your needs? Read the reviews below for more details about the best wood waxes for use on all types of wood furniture and home decor.

1. Howard Citrus Shield Paste Wax – Best Multi-Use Option

Not only is Howard Citrus Shield a superb multi-use paste wax, but it also contains real Brazilian Carnauba which is nature’s hardest wax. This wax will give all your furniture, woodwork, and other surfaces premier protection as well as a long-lasting sheen. The addition of orange oil helps the wax penetrate the wood grain for a rich, deep final finish.

What makes this wood wax special?

The Howard Citrus Shield paste wax features a UV shield, so even delicate antique furniture is safe from fading from sunlight. The silicone, toluene, and linseed oil-free formula will recondition worn, dried wood grain and buff it into brilliant perfection.

This product is available in many shades to enhance any wood species and also works as a protective layer for metal, concrete, and marble. The carnauba wax adds a barrier to the wood surface that resists water penetration. Howard Citrus Shield is multi-purpose and can work as a wood reconditioner, a furniture wax, a floor wax, or buff into a gorgeous final finish sheen.

Pros
  • No silicone or linseed oil additives
  • Buffs to a beautiful shine
  • UV inhibitor
  • Creates waterproof barrier
  • Works on an array of surfaces (great over chalk paint)
Cons
  • Not food safe

2. Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – Great Wax for Antique Wood Furniture

Minwax paste formula finishing wax allows you to achieve a beautiful luster on any wood surface that doesn’t require the need for a thick polyurethane topcoat. The natural color of this wax goes on clear and for use on light to medium tone stains and paints for best results.

Features that set this wax apart?

Highlight the natural grain of any wood material with a lustrous finish that’s the perfect balance between glossy and matte. The Minwax paste finishing wax maintains the integrity of your wood furniture, paneling, antiques, doors, and woodwork.

The large quantity inside this can of wood wax will last through a multitude of projects. For the best protection and finish you should put on at least one layer over a painted surface and two over a stain, oil, or raw wood. Recoat all your wood pieces once a year to maintain luster and prevent scratches.

Pros
  • Drip-free
  • Smooth to the touch finish
  • Great for chalk paint projects
  • Affordable
  • Quick buff off/dries fast
Cons
  • Not food safe
  • Use on bright white colors forms slight yellow/tan color
  • Slight aroma

3. STAPLES Carnauba Paste Wax – Great Paste Wax for Wood Floors

The high content of carnauba in this wax formula makes it superb for achieving a high level of durability and rich, glossy shine no matter what shade of stain, oil or paint is on your wood piece.

This wax is also safe for use on many other surfaces like marble, tile, or leather that need protection from water and dirt. The addition of carnauba wax makes it suitable for use as a durable floor wax.

What makes this brand different?

The clear finish will leave any surface, even white paint, glossy without altering the original color during application or yellowing over time. Chalk paint enthusiasts approve of the easy to work wax that leaves a crystal clear finish on every project.

The wax dries quickly, so be ready to buff out the wax at the optimal moment for best results. You can apply this wax with a cloth, brush, or mop head for a fast, professional-looking finish.

Pros
  • Ability to build up to a durable, high-shine finish
  • Easy to spread
  • Clear finish perfect over any paint or stain color
  • Large quantity
Cons
  • Dries fast/must buff quickly
  • Mild odor until dry
  • Not food safe

4. Watco Finishing Wax –  Soft Satin Finish

Watco (Rustoleum) Natural Satin Finishing Wax leads the way when it comes to a reliable, smooth-to-apply liquid wax from a company that specializes in wood treatments.

This wood wax comes in a large size that will give all your interior woods from cabinets to chairs an incredibly soft, satin luster without the need for hours of hand rubbing.

What makes this wax stand out?

The thick liquid wax formula takes on a clear tone during application and leaves the wood surface with a very durable finish that is resistant to water. The completely clear wax is perfect for use over wood with lighter stains or white or light colors of paint to hide scratches and maintain a beautiful, soft sheen.

The linseed-oil-free wax is super easy to apply with a brush or cloth, then buff to create a soft shine — the formula aids in reducing the appearance of scratches and imperfections in the wood. You can maintain a protective layer on your interior wood decor with regular applications.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy application/short wait for wipe on/buff
  • Satiny and soft sheen
  • Durable finish
  • Non-sticky
  • Clear/won’t yellow or change paint colors
  • No linseed oil
Cons
  • More of a paste wax consistency
  • Not for use on butcher blocks

5. Ultra Lines 33 Floor Finish – Best Wax For Wood Floors

The Ultra High Gloss Floor Finish & Sealer can create a scratch and scuff-resistant, durable, reflective surface due to the formula’s 33-percent high-solid acrylic ingredients and patented polymer technology.

Achieve a super glossy shine in only half the time because this floor finish wax requires fewer coats than other brands. The quick-drying formula allows you to add another layer without downtime.

What makes this product stand out?

The mop-on type application means this wood wax goes on fast. While you can choose to burnish the finish after curing, this formula does not require any buffing at all to achieve a high shine. As you add layers, the sheen becomes more dramatic.

The Ultra High Gloss Floor Finish can also protect and enhance Terrazzo tile, concrete, vinyl tile, rubber flooring, stone, sealed wood, and linoleum sheeting. This wax floor finish is an economical way to enhance all your home or office flooring by giving it a brilliant shine.

Pros
  • No need to buff
  • Dries quickly
  • Quick and easy to spread
  • Non-slip product finish
  • Large economy-size container
Cons
  • Water marks may form
  • Not food safe

Wood Wax Buyer’s Guide

You can find many products on the market to protect and finish wood surfaces. Wood wax is a top choice to accomplish this task, but it’s important to know what makes one wood wax product different than another.

Why is wax the go-to favorite to protect and polish all types of wood? Because it provides a natural barrier that also absorbs partially into the wood grain to seal the surface and keep moisture, dust, and scratches at bay.

The best wood waxes buff out into a sheen from soft satin to a high gloss finish. The result is an authentic, rich patina that you can never achieve from a polyurethane top coat.

Do all wood waxes have the same formula?

No. While all wood wax products utilize wax as the main ingredient, the type of wax may vary. Many formulations of wood wax add in other ingredients like linseed, mineral, or citrus oils which may alter the way the finish looks on the wood surface and its durability.

What’s the difference between a wood wax that uses beeswax versus Carnauba wax?

The durability of the final finish depends on which type of wax is in the formula.

Beeswax

Beeswax is an edible material honey bees produce in the hive to make the honeycomb. Beeswax has protective qualities like resistance to water and dirt which lends itself to providing a natural way to protect wood surfaces. Beeswax in a wood wax formula is easier to spread and creates a softer finish more susceptible to damage.

Carnauba wax

Pure Carnauba wax is harder than concrete. The ability of this 100-percent-natural wax to protect surfaces, even during exposure to high heat, makes it a prized ingredient in wood wax formulas. Expect a very durable, scratch-resistant finish when you buy a wood wax featuring Carnauba as an ingredient.

The difference between wood wax and oil

Wood oil soaks into the wood grain and creates a thin layer of protection. While to the eye a wood surface may look the same when using an oil or a wax, a wood wax is made as a topcoat over wood oil because it helps to repel water and dust. Some wood waxes incorporate oil (usually citrus), to enhance the shine in the final finish.

Can you apply wood wax to other surfaces?

Maybe. Some wood waxes are for use on multiple surfaces like concrete, stone, tile, linoleum, marble, leather, and fabric. Like on wood, the wax can protect against water, UV rays, dirt, and scratches. Some wood waxes are made only for wood surfaces. Each brand will note in the product details the types of material application is safe.

Different colors of wood wax

The type of wood wax you purchase depends on the color of the surface you want to protect. A light wood tone or white paint finish should opt for a clear wood wax so the resulting finish won’t turn yellow. There are many colors of wood wax from clear, to natural, to shades of brown, even nearly black. Find the shade closest to your wood piece, so the ultimate result doesn’t alter the look of the color underneath.

How to apply wood wax products

Applying wood wax can be a time-consuming, hands-and-knees application, or as quick and as easy as pushing a mop so let’s look at the process for different methods.

Cleaning

The first step before waxing is to always clean and dust the surface making sure grease and dirt are gone so the wax can adhere properly. If the wax does not adhere, you’ll remove the wax during the buffing process and waste your time and money!

Rag application

Apply paste wax with a rag made of soft cotton. Moisten the cloth and wring it as dry as possible. Pour a quarter-size dollop of wax into the center of the fabric and apply the wax in circular motions to small areas at a time. Add more wax as you continue this process over the entire piece. The surface takes on a dull appearance as the wax dries. Once this happens, use another clean rag to remove excess wax, then buff the surface until it shines.

Mop application

To apply, lightly dampen a clean cloth mop head with water. Pour some wax onto the mop head and some directly on the floor. Push the mop to spread the wax evenly across the surface taking caution to avoid leaving bubbles in the liquid or splashing walls. Let the wax dry. Most liquid wood wax formulations dry to a high sheen, while others may require buffing with a dry, clean mop head to bring out the most shine.

How to maintain your wood wax finish

A wood wax finish is not as durable as a polyurethane topcoat so expect to invest time to keep the wood looking its best. Every time you wipe down a wax-finished piece you remove a bit of the protective wax layer. A feather duster is a gentle option for dust removal. When you notice your pieces starting to appear dull or scratchy, reapply the wood wax.

Conclusion

Protecting your wood furniture from scratches, watermarks, and fading can seem daunting, but with regular use of any of these best wood wax products, you’ll keep your furniture looking fabulous.

Woodworkers and furniture restorers swear by the lovely surface sheen only a wood wax can accomplish. Not only do they use wood wax on finished furniture and cabinetry, but also on the wood handles of their tools to keep them slip-free and in excellent condition.

So choose any one of these best wood waxes from this guide and rest to assure you’ll get a quality product that delivers fantastic results.

Leave a Comment

36 thoughts on “Best Wood Waxes 2021 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Thank you for the article. When you list “not food safe” as a con do you mean the wax should not be applied to any surface where food will be SERVED from like a dining room table or do you mean it should not be applied to a surface where food will be PREPARED but fine for serving?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Carlos,

      ‘Not food safe’ means it should not be applied to a surface where food will be prepared but fine for serving.

      Reply
  2. Thanks for providing this. I have just installed Sapele (African Mohagany) kitchen drawer faces. I love the unfinished look. I tried a product that uses a citrus oil and wax mixture but it significantly alters the look of the wood. It brings out the natural red tones in the wood. Beautiful, but not what I am looking for. I had some raw bees wax on hand which I melted and applied to a small section and it is hardly noticeable while at the same time providing moister and stain resistance. I think it may be a bit soft though and not practical to apply though. So I think I am looking for a Carnuba based product. Can you recommend one that is clear and has a matte low lustre finish? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Sam.

      I can remember only OSMO Wood Wax Finish Transparent which is transparent and satin-matte if applied 1 coat. I haven’t stumbled upon waxes that are 100% matte, sorry.

      Reply
    • Hi Susan.

      Howards Wax should work. But I recommend using it on some unremarkable area of your chair to make sure it will give you results you expect.

      Reply
  3. I have a large bay window and have sanded it down as it had a very dark stain on it. I want to use a wax so it’s more natural which would you suggest as it will get a lot of sunlight. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi, I am making some coasters for some friends and I am having a very hard time selecting a finish.

      Obviously I am looking for water protection so I thought about oil first then wax once dry. I did 2 tests, one BLO and my mineral oil/beeswax mix; and the other was just like my cutting board, mineral oil and then mineral oil/beeswax mix.

      After both finished and waxes dried I left a cold cup on the coasters and left the water to dry. When i checked in the morning the grain was raised. There was minimal water staining, but the pieces felt rough.

      Would it help with more coats of waxes? Or do I need to look for a different product all together?

      Last point, maybe I am just expecting too much and I just need to tell my friends to wipe off their damned coasters when water builds up on them lol.

      Reply
      • Hi David,
        Your friends are lucky, there is nothing better than a product made with love especially for you.
        First, it is good to imagine the whole concept and know what you want to get as a final result.
        Mineral oil and wax give a softer and more natural finish, so if that’s what you want to get for the finish, use it boldly. You are right that a thicker layer will protect better, and it is never a good idea to keep a tree in water for too long.
        If you just want a protective matte finish you can use polyacrylic varnish like this one by Minwax, it has good protection against water, is easy to apply and is harmless when dry.
        The better he takes care of his belongings, the longer they will make us happy.

        Reply
  4. Do any products work on tables that I have what I feel is wax build -up? Im not sure if that is what it is but like the top of the table leaves streaks when polished. The legs are like unable to even polish. Very dull.

    Reply
    • If it is wax buildup on your table you can remove it with a solution of 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar. I would use a soft cotton cloth and dampen it with the solution and gently wipe in the direction of the wood grain. If the cloth isn’t working you can use something like an old toothbrush or soft or medium bristle brush as well to try and get the wax off.

      Reply
  5. Hello William, Stumbled across your marvelous posting – learned sooooo much just from reading your comparisons. Thank you.

    For the products that you can you use a mop to apply, can what applicator can you use for a vertical wood wall ?

    Thank you. Regards, Mary

    Reply
    • You can use a lot of things including a mop to apply to a vertical wall, some applicators will just be more work than others. For example, a paintbrush will be more time and effort than using a mop but either one will work. If you decide to use a brush, there are brushes made specifically for this type of work, such as this one on Amazon.

      Reply
  6. Hello William,
    Thank you for your excellent article, I learned a great deal. We have natural gumwood trim in our 1920s house and we want to preserve it. Much of it is in good condition, but the window sills are sun faded. Can you recommend a path to restoring them?

    Many thanks,

    Margaret

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret, I’m glad I was helpful 🙂

      To keep the old wood paneling, it is good to know what the coating is at the moment or at least get a general idea.
      It can be with oil, wax, or clear varnish if you can see the wood pattern, or painted with paint.
      It is essential to use a coating on the same base; for example, if it is covered with oil, you cannot cover it with varnish because the varnish will peel off.
      In another case, if the coating is with chemical-based paint, you can’t use water-based paint again because it will peel off.
      You can tell if it’s oil or paint by looking closely at the coating. The paint and varnish are on the wood, and the oil absorbs inside.

      Reply
    • Hi Vic.
      Most waxes are designed for interior use and I do not recommend using them outdoors. You can lose a lot of time and money.
      This wax by Howard is for outdoor wood, it will preserve the natural appearance of the tree (there is a slight yellowing).
      Keep in mind that you will have to apply a new coat every year or more often depending on how much sunlight the door has. You have to try harder for beautiful things :).
      Another option for your cedar door is a wood sealant on the outside, this one specializes in cedar.
      If applied correctly and in good conditions (atmospheric) it can last 10 years before applying the icing coat.

      Reply
  7. Hello! I have a black laquered, high gloss dining room table that is full of tiny scratches and swirls. Can you please recommend a wax to hide the scratches and to protect it? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Sarah.
      Black gloss is the color of which every speck of dust and small scratches is visible, beautiful but capricious.
      To keep the shine on the table you need a wax with a glossy finish and high hardness. These are floor waxes like this one by Minwax.
      Once applied well, you will restore shine and protection.
      Keep in mind that small scratches will be erased but if they are too big they will be visible again.
      However, remember that this type of wax is not intended for contact with food.
      Another method for removing scratches is by polishing with a polishing paste (this is a kind of removing the surface layer to a strong and glossy finish)
      It is applied if you want to have the original coating and the scratches to be small.

      Reply
  8. I bought a wood frame chair made of a very light color wood. I would like to bring the color to a butterscotch/caramel shade. I’m in an apt. bldg., so I need a wax type product. This is an indoor piece of living room chair. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy, you can use wax with a color like this one by Liberon.
      There are a variety of colors so you can choose the right color for you. Your chair is like a white canvas for painting 🙂
      In the beginning, apply on a small surface that is a little visible to check if you like the color (the wood also gives color and therefore for each tree species will get a different color).
      The thicker the layer of wax, the darker the color.

      Reply
  9. Have you included in your review of products Touch of oranges Beeswax? I’ve used it and liked it- ready to order when I saw your review. Considering other options you’ve recommended

    Reply
    • Hi Diane, I don’t have a review of this product but definitely will add one in the upcoming weeks.
      Many waxes contain beeswax and orange oil and they work really well.
      On the one hand, I would advise you if you are happy with a product to use it again. It has already been tested and you will not waste time and money.
      On the other hand, if you want something more than your wax, then you can experiment with a new product.

      Reply
  10. I have a “tear drop” recreational trailer which has several coats of Varathene water based spar varnish that I want to wax. What works best? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Paul.
      This wax by Howard is suitable for external and internal use, nourishes the coating and erases some imperfections on the wood.
      Apply at least once a year or at the first signs of wear. Keep in mind that if you want to apply a new coat of varnish, you must first remove the wax.

      Reply
  11. VERY INTERESTING & INFORMATIVE INFORMATION.
    I’M PLANNING ON MAKING A COUPLE OF MUGS OUT OF POPLAR & WALNUT. I’VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING TO FINISH THE INSIDE SO THEY CAN BE USED FOR COLD DRINKS PLUS A FINISH FOR THE OUTSIDE OF THE MUGS.
    I’M NEW TO THIS TYPE OF PROJECTS SO I’M HOPING YOU CAN GIVE ME SOME SUGGESTIONS. I’M 77 SO I’VE TURNED TO SMALL PROJECTS USING A TABLE SAW, ROUTER TABLE, BANDSAW & SCROLLSAW FOR MY PROJECTS.
    I THANK YOU FOR ANY SUGGESTIONS YOU CAN GIVE ME, THEY WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

    Reply
    • Hi Richard, it’s great that you found a new hobby 🙂
      To protect the mug from which you will drink, it is good that the coating is safe in contact with food and liquids.
      A good option is crude linseed oil (not boiled) which gives good protection against liquids and is safe.
      The downside is that it dries slowly and you will have to renew the coating at least once a year (depending on usage).
      Most varnishes once dried are harmless (unless you take a bite of them :)) they will last a long time, but still, if the varnish starts to peel off it will be really unpleasant.
      When you have the desire, you can achieve miracles! Woodworking develops a person’s creativity and imagination, so go ahead!

      Reply
  12. I am restoring an old singer sewing machine. It has been stripped to it’s natural wood. I like the natural wood. However, I would like for it to have a lil shine to it. What do you recommend.

    Reply
    • Hi Janet.
      This wax will do a great job for you and I have a nice fine shine. Polish well and you will have a nice natural finish to the wood, it will give a slightly yellow and warm tone and the wood will look wet.
      For raw wood, it is good to apply 2-3 coats for a good shine. Keep in mind there will be no 100% gloss. for more gloss, you should use varnish.

      Reply
  13. Thank you for this fantastic helpful article! I’ve done a lot of woodworking, but I’m not the strongest with clear finishes, so this and your Best Finishes for Wood Tables articles have been extremely helpful.

    My wife purchased an outdoor table online that is made from Eucalyptus and has been semi-white washed with a color (best way I can explain it). The surface is intentionally roughly sanded and there is a finish on it, but there are spots on the table which were not properly covered. As a result, the wood will leave small splinters. I wanted to sand those areas down, but while testing it in an unnoticeable area, it was removing the color. Also, my wife likes the rough look. I’ve made several attempts at duplicating the color (Watco Danish Oil, whitewash glaze, and a combination of those) and just apply it heavily to cover the rough areas, but I’m not getting it right and it is soaking into the wood. I’m thinking the Watco Satin Finishing Wax might work. Will it cover and seal the rough spots and not just soak into the wood?

    Reply
    • Hi Aaron.
      Yes, wax is thicker than wood oil and has a better chance of filling rough surfaces, but don’t expect miracles, however, coatings are measured in microns and sanding rough surfaces in millimeters.
      You can try sanding with really fine sandpaper P 400 and more – or this option, this way you will smooth the surface without taking much of the coating and change the rough look. The border is really thin, we’re talking about microns 🙂

      Reply

We recommend choosing a different product from the ones we mentioned in the article