How To Restore and Polish Wood Furniture

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How To  Restore and Polish Wood Furniture

Detailed steps on how to polish or restore the shine to your wooden furniture and artifacts.

Has your wooden cabinet in the kitchen lost its sheen?

Do the wardrobes in the bedroom wear a outdated look?

Does the prized artifact, which you proudly show off to your visitors, retain its original shine?

Restoring the look of wooden furniture, art work, and cabinets is easy. You don’t need to hire a painter or the polishing person, or worry about spending thousands on restoration. Unless you want the furniture to sport a distressed, aged look, you can give them a new lease of life with some polish.

All you need are some old clothes, a stack of newspapers, and a few hours to spare. Game? Let’s get started then:

If it’s your first project, then start off with something small. I polished this Ganesha statue we had picked up at an exhibition years ago.

how to polish and restore shine on wood

What you’ll need:

1. 1 bottle of Sheenlac wood finish. Available at all hardware stores in different sizes.  Suggest buying the 200 ml bottle initially.

2. Old newspapers to spread on the floor.

3. Emery sheet – P150

4. Clean cotton cloth

5. A old bottle

6. A face mask to protect yourself from dust.

Preparation: How to prepare the surface:

  1. Before you begin, I’d suggest change your clothes
  2. Wear the face mask.
  3. Spread newspapers on the surface where you intend to work. The smell is overpowering so choose an outdoor space like a balcony, terrace, or veranda.

The Process: How to clean wood:

How to polish wood

Image credit: Ashley Poskin

  1. Tear the emery sheet into two halves or about the size of your palm.
  2. Sand the surface to be polished with the emery sheet. This ensures all the surface dirt is removed and is clean. The higher the number of the emery sheet, it ensures a smoother/fine surface. In other words, it is not as abrasive as the ones with lower numbers.
  3. Clean the dry powder off the surface with a cloth.

The Process: How to polish wood:

  1. Pour a little of the polish from the Sheenlac bottle into a waste empty bottle.
  2. Use the clean cotton cloth to apply the polishing lacquer on to the cleaned surface.
  3. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Apply one more coat if necessary.

Estimated time for polishing a 2*2 sq ft area : 10 minutes

If you are satisfied with the results, extend it to larger areas.



  1. We have old teak bed. Thinking of changing color to rosewood or walnut color. Which polish should I buy to apply to change color. The carpenters are rating absurdly high rates. Wishing to do it on my own. Please help

  2. laksh

    Hi Jyothi,

    I understand what you are saying. But, this is something that is best left to carpenters or trained hands. Unless you have practice, it is difficult to get the kind of finish you want. Having said that, if you are still keen, almost every brand has a range of wood polishes. Walk into any Asian Paints store in your neighborhood, and go through the finishes they have. My understanding is Asian Paints painters does wood polish as well. You may have to check their pricing compared to individual contractors.

  3. I had the same question, what about teak wood Stains, is it recommended and is it available in Asian paint stores?

  4. i am thinking to give new look to my teak wood furniture. painter suggested to wash it with surf . is it correct will it nnot spoil the furniture

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