Can I Use Car Wax On Wood? Here’s What You Need To Know?

Wax provides more protection on wood than other coatings. It also adds shine similar to stains and varnishes. Paste wax is the common option for this, but we can’t help but wonder: can I use car wax on wood? As much as this product is often used on automobiles, it can also do wonders on wood materials.

In this post, I will discuss the nature of car wax, how it reacts on wood and other information you should know about this matter.

can i use car wax on wood

Is it possible to use car wax on wood?

Technically, it’s possible to use car wax on wood and achieve good results. After all, wax has been in use in woodworking for centuries. It delivers the same protecting effect on the wood, but it still depends on the specific car wax you’re going to use.

Just remember that car wax will not have the same result as traditional paste wax. So before you proceed in using this product on your projects, you should test it on a small area first.

Also, wood is more porous than a car’s exterior material. Absorption levels will vary, and it may not work on all wood types. But since car wax and wood wax share similar ingredients, I don’t see any harm in trying.

However, you should know that some car waxes have silicone, which can damage the wood’s finish. With this, you’re better off using carnauba wax. It’s a natural wax made from the palm leaves of the namesake plant.

Like standard wood wax, carnauba wax has waterproofing properties that will seal the wood. It also leaves a shiny finish, which adds an aesthetic touch to wood in a natural way.

For the best results, you should buff the wood once the wax has dried. You can use a clean piece of cloth or a stiff brush. This will also yield better shine while allowing you to get rid of excess wax.

Overall, carnauba wax is suitable for wooden furniture. However, the jury is still out on how long it will last.

What are the ADVANTAGES of wax on wood?

Like most wood finishes, wax is intended to deliver a protective layer on the wood. Specifically, the following are the benefits of this coating:

  • It hides wood flaws. Minor scratches, tiny splits, and small cracks can be hidden with the use of wax. This is much so if you buff the coating properly. You can also use wax as a filler on tiny crevices as long as it matches the color of the wood.
  • It looks great on the hardwood. Wax shines its beauty best on the hardwood. It accentuates the grain of the wood, which is popular among woodworkers who want to retain the natural beauty of their materials. Wax will also make old timber look fresh and new.
  • It penetrates wood well. Wax has an excellent penetration rate in wood. This means your wood will have topnotch protection against moisture and other elements.
  • It’s easy to apply. Unlike stains, wood wax is extremely easy to apply. It doesn’t require a high level of expertise, which is why it’s popular among newbie woodworkers. You don’t have to worry about the uneven application or the drying process too much.
  • It’s eco-friendly. Many wax products used on wood, including carnauba, are environment-friendly. This also means that the wax is less toxic than other wood finishes.

What are the DISADVANTAGES of wax on wood?

As much as the wax is an excellent wood coating, it does come with some downsides. Here are some of the points to keep in mind:

  • It’s difficult to remove. Since wax penetrates wood deeply, it’s burdensome to remove. It takes a lot of patience and the right method to ensure that you won’t damage the wood in the process.
  • It demands more maintenance. Unlike stains, wax requires more maintenance and fresh application once a year. This is a bummer if you’re aiming for long-lasting protection on your material. However, this is a reasonable trade-off considering that wax is easy to apply.
  • It’s not the most durable finish. Modern polyurethane finishes are obviously more durable than wax. So if your aim is the highest protection level, wax isn’t the best choice.
  • It’s prone to heat damage. Wax easily reacts to heat, which makes the coating prone to heat damage. It’s the reason why wax-treated dining tables have unsightly cup ring marks. With that, it’s best to use wax on interior wood that’s not directly exposed to sunlight or high temperatures.
  • It could make the wood look drab over time. As re-applications pile up one after the other, your wood will start to look dull. It’s best to strip the old wax then apply a fresh one for the best results. This requires added effort, of course, but truly worth it.

Does wax protect wood against scratches?

A layer of wax can protect the wood from scratches. It can also hide previous scratches better than stains. However, you should know that furniture wax still has its limits. Continuous exposure to nicks and bumps will soon result in visible scrapes.

Does wax make wood waterproof?

Wood wax provides a water-resistant characteristic to wood. However, it will not make your wood pieces 100% waterproof. You still need to keep your workpiece away from excessive moisture like rain and spills.

If you want a guaranteed waterproof result, you should consider a marine seal instead. This is the one used on the wood parts of boats.

Can I darken wood with wax?

Wax can darken the wood to some extent, but not as much as tung oil or other stains do. Take note that your wood will look dark right after applying wax. But once it dries up, the color will go back to the original hue of the wood. There would be a slight darkening, but the difference to the pre-waxing condition is negligible.

Nevertheless, there are wood wax products mixed with stains so that you can achieve a darker color. Despite that, the wax remains easy to apply.

Can I paint over waxed wood?

While you can do so, it’s not recommended to paint on top of a wax coating. Wax coatings don’t fully cure, so it remains tacky to some extent. This same characteristic prevents the paint from adhering well to wood. Even if the paint looks as if it dried well, it will peel off fast.

It’s still best to remove the wax coating before you start painting the wood piece. Nevertheless, you can also use paint formulas like Chalk Paint. This is formulated to adhere well on almost every surface, including coated and laminated wood. In addition, it eliminates the need for stripping, sanding, and prepping.

Does white spirit remove wax from wood?

White spirit is used as a solvent and paint thinner. It’s also called mineral spirits and is distilled from petroleum. This is often used to strip the wood of the previous coating, including waxes. You can also use fine steel wool to scrape off the wax layer once it’s soaked with white spirits.

Aside from that, you can use a scraper to lift the wax coating even more. This is helpful, especially if you’re dealing with multiple layers of wax.

Once you’ve removed the wax, you can rinse the surface with warm water. However, you shouldn’t do this if you’re dealing with MDF or any compressed wood material.

However, make sure that you wear a face mask and eye protection because white spirits produce off-gassing. This is much so if you’re working on a large furniture or wood project.


Can I use car wax on wood? The likes of carnauba wax are often used for automotive purposes are an excellent choice for wood. It provides a layer of protection against moisture. It’s also easy to apply, unlike stains and paint products. After thorough buffing, your wood piece will have an aesthetic shine. 

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