How Furniture Polish Works
Three types of furniture polish are generally found in stores: aerosol spray polish, emulsion cleaners and solvents. They all work under the same principle, which is to use chemicals to apply wax or oil to wooden surfaces to produce a lasting shine. Because many of these chemicals are both flammable and dangerous, they should be kept away from both children and flame. Care should also be taken when applying these polishes: Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after application.
Aerosol Furniture Polish
Aerosol furniture polish has taken over as the No. One form of polish sold in the country. This is based entirely on its convenience, but most people overlook--or do not know about--some of the hidden dangers of using these products on their furniture. Many of these aerosol polishes use silicon oils in their formulas. These oils are contaminants to many types of wooden furniture, and over time, can begin to eat away at the finish. This is even stated on the product labels (in a roundabout way), but has not adversely affected the popularity of the polish. Aerosols are also known to contain many solvents that attack certain lacquers that clearcoat furniture. Many people assume their furniture simply "goes bad" after a few years, when it truth, much of the decay can be attributed to their furniture polish. The lightweight dusting aerosols are fairly innocent when it comes to damaging furniture, but there is little to recommend them over a damp washcloth.
Liquid Furniture Polish
Liquid furniture polish can be broken down into two categories: emulsion cleaners and oil-based polishes. Emulsion cleaners have a water base, within which the wax or oils are suspended. These polishes are usually the strongest of the three types, though their sheen lasts the shortest amount of time, due to the quick-drying effect of the water base.
Oil-based polishes are also made up of waxes and artificial perfumes, and generally do a better job of leaving a long-lasting sheen on the surface of the furniture. On the other hand, consumers often complain of polish buildup when they have used these products for a long time. To remove this buildup, you concoct use a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water and clean the surface with a soft cloth.