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Caring for Wood Floors and Furniture: Shellac

Senior Editor
shellac wood dresser
Photography by: Courtesy of 1stdibs

What to know

Also known as French polish, this common coating for antique furniture is made from the secretions of the lac bug. Hundreds of thin layers are applied by hand to build up the finish.“You can really see the wood grain,” says Fairtlough.


How to care for it

Follow the dusting, waxing, and buffing recommendations for oil/wax. Use a clean, soft white cloth, dampened with a solution of mild dish-washing liquid and luke-warm water, to wipe spills or residue; dry with a new cloth immediately.


Troubleshooting tricks

White rings occur when moisture or heat upsets the wax atop the finish. Rub the area gently using a cloth dampened with mineral spirits, then wax and buff. “That works 90 percent of the time,” says Rios. (It also will remove persistent food residue.)