How to Fix a Cloudy Polyurethane Finish on Wood Furniture

The polyurethane finish may turn cloudy over time. Many factors can cause cloudy conditions. The first factor is moisture which is trapped in finishing.

The moisture Does not have enough time to evaporate when the finishing hardens. The second factor can be caused by the emulsion agent used to manufacture finishing.

In some cases, polyurethane that is still wet can give the appearance of a little milkiness. You have to wait for it to dry naturally for a few hours.

When the polyurethane hardens, the milkiness will disappear. Don’t add another layer of finish before the polyurethane dries, as it won’t remove the cloudiness.

Using several other types of finishing will worsen the appearance of furniture that currently has a cloudy appearance.

A cloudy finish on polyurethane furniture can be a real pain. Learn how to fix this problem quickly and effectively.

Why does my wood look cloudy when it’s done?

There are many reasons why wood might blush after a finish has been put on it. Among them are:

Working in High Humidity

When wood finishes are put on on a humid or cold day, they often soak up water.

Water will stay inside when the finish gets hard because it won’t evaporate all the way.

Because of this, the finished wood often has a cloudy or milky look to it.

Not stirring enough before using

Polyurethane varnishes, both water and oil-based, dry to a glossy surface.

Manufacturers typically add flattening agents like zinc oxide to create matte finishes. These substances diffuse reflected light and remove shine.

As a result, the material settles in the bottom of the container, which is why it’s critical to agitate it before using it properly. It is likely to blush if not properly combined.

Using too much polyurethane

Evaporation is more difficult when a clear coating is applied in an excessively thick layer, resulting in prolonged process times and blushing.

As a result, an average thickness is the optimum coating technique.

Applying one or two coats of paint, allowing them to dry, and then sanding them is safer and produces a nicer finish than applying multiple wet layers at once.

Rushing the finish application

Undoubtedly, the wood would blush if the finish was applied too rapidly. It is preferable if you use a certain amount within a certain time.

Using an old product

You should consider how old the finish is since an older can is more likely to cause you problems than a newer one.

Fixing a Cloudy Polyurethane Finish

If you feel very disturbed by the cloudy appearance of the furniture, then you need to know how to Fix the Cloudy Polyurethane Finish.

You can use several methods to eliminate the cloudy appearance of wood furniture.

Use mayonnaise

The easiest way is to use mayonnaise ingredients usually found in the kitchen. Pour mayonnaise onto the top of the furniture that has a cloudy appearance.

Wait until overnight, and the next day you can start cleaning the surface of the furniture that was given the mayonnaise.

Clean with a rag and watch the results. The cloudy appearance should have been reduced.

This is because the oil in the mayonnaise is capable of causing a leak which allows moisture to escape from the polyurethane finish.

Repeat this step if you find another cloudy look on the furniture. This method is affordable and doesn’t require much effort to eliminate the cloudy appearance.

You can also use other oils in the kitchen to clean the cloudy look on the furniture.

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)

Another ingredient that you can find at home to get rid of this problem is petroleum jelly.

Petroleum jelly also contains oil that can cause leaks in the finishing layer of the furniture. Leakage of the finish layer allows the evaporated moisture to escape from the finish layer.

Of course, when the moisture evaporates successfully, the cloudy appearance will disappear even more.

If you eliminate all the fastest evaporation, you will no longer have milkiness-colored furniture.

If you are successful, use petroleum jelly to eliminate other cloudy looks on your desk or cupboard. But if you don’t succeed using this method, you can use other ways to get rid of the cloudy appearance.

Who knows, you will succeed in making the furniture look the way it should.

However, this case is very rare because the use of petroleum jelly has been proven to be able to eliminate milkiness in furniture.

Vinegar & Olive oil

Make an equal mixture of vinegar and olive oil, and then use a soft cloth to rub the mixture into the damaged area toward the wood grain.

This will remove any white rings from wet glasses on wooden furniture. To restore its luster, polish it with an additional piece of a clean, soft cloth.

If you only use vinegar on polyurethane-finished wood, the acid in the vinegar will wear away the surface and cause pitting because it breaks down the finish as it works.

Sand becomes trapped in these holes, and the acid eats away at the polyurethane in the long run.

Peel off the Polyurethane Coating with Sandpaper

You feel very disturbed by the slightly cloudy appearance of the furniture. You can peel off the polyurethane layer by using sandpaper. Very lightly sand the dry coat

Use sandpaper with a high grit and apply light pressure only. The recommended grit size is around 240 to 340 grit.

After the polyurethane layer is slightly peeled off usually, the cloudy appearance will gradually disappear.

If the display has completely disappeared, then you can stop this step.

But still, you need to add other finishing so that the furniture’s surface is not easily damaged.

You can choose from many types of finishing and do not cause cloudy colors. We recommend that you use a non-water-based finishing.

Why finishing with water space is easy to cause moisture to get trapped. The trapped moisture will quickly make the furniture look cloudy again.

Clean with Denatured Alcohol

You can also remove the cloudy look on your furniture by using denatured alcohol. Apply this chemical slowly, and don’t apply too much pressure.

Denatured alcohol itself can dissolve dry polyurethane. Dissolving a little polyurethane can free trapped moisture.

Unfortunately, you must do this carefully, or the entire polyurethane layer will dissolve in the denatured alcohol.

After smeared with this alcohol then, you can leave it overnight. Note that there must be a significant change so that the surface is no longer cloudy.

Purchases of this material itself are freely available at many chemical stores.

When carrying out the process, it should be reliable to use a special mask so that alcohol is not inhaled into the respiratory tract.

Also, always wear gloves because alcohol can dry out your hands. Also, remember that you should never work near a flaming place because alcohol is highly volatile and flammable.

Related: How To Get Polyurethane Off Hands

Steel Wool

In addition to using send paper, you can also use steel wool to reduce the cloudy appearance. Use steel wool with soft fibers so it does not cause stretch on the furniture’s surface.

Gently rub on the cloudy surface of the polyurethane finish. Then leave overnight to let the fastest moisture out slowly. Try to do this process in a place where the air tends to be dry.

You can use a dehumidifier to absorb moisture in the air. Dehumidifier kits are available in abundance in online stores.

The drying process is also practical, so there is no need to dry under the sun. You remove the water from the water moisture in the air into the drains at home.

Self-drying rooms are also known to produce well for re-coating polyurethane. You can do this if you want to make furniture more durable.

Mineral Spirit

You can buy Mineral Spirits at chemical stores. The material is often used to clean polyurethane accidentally exposed to hands.

It turns out that you can use mineral spirit to remove cloudy polyurethane. Just rub gently on the part that looks cloudy. Then wait overnight to allow evaporation to escape from the finish.

Repeat this method if there is still moisture trapped in the polyurethane layer. Always wear gloves when using these chemicals. Manufacturers often use Mineral Spirit itself to clean machines.

Sandpaper and Coat with Fresh Lacquer

You can also re-coat polyurethane finishing using fresh lacquer. But before being coated with fresh lacquer, you can slightly remove the polyurethane layer with sandpaper.

Use 220 grit and work slowly. Wait for the cloudy color to disappear overnight. The next day you can start applying a fresh coat of lacquer.

Fresh lacquer dries more slowly than polyurethane coating. This allows the evaporated moisture to escape before the lacquer dries.

This method is guaranteed to eliminate cloudy furniture.

Related: Apply Polyurethane without Bubbles

How To Apply Polyurethane Correctly – A Comprehensive Guide

  • Stir polyurethane using a stick to prevent air bubbles. No can-tossing! Pour the tin carefully.
  • Apply polyurethane with a short-napped roller. Choose lambswool for oil-based polyurethane and microfiber for water-based.
  • Always use a fine-bristled brush when painting. Use natural bristles for water-based polyurethane and manufactured for oil-based.
  • Apply polyurethane using only the first half-inch of the brush’s tip at a 10-degree slant. Lightly push.
  • Dip the brush into the can of polyurethane, but don’t wipe it against the side of the can to get rid of excess. You’ll catch air, which will make its way to your end. Let the extra go back into the tin on its own before using the brush on the wood.
  • Don’t keep covering the same spot with polyurethane. As the film solidifies, brush marks will appear. Apply the coat, then let it dry and flow before moving on.
  • Before applying polyurethane, clean the wood. Vacuum and wipe the surface with a painter’s tack cloth to remove dust.
  • Oil-based polyurethane doesn’t attach to itself; therefore, you must sand it. Always lightly sand between polyurethane layers to create a keying surface. Vacuum and wipe up sanding dust.
  • Avoid overlapping wet and dry edges with water-based polyurethane. You’ll end up with an uneven, double-thick finish. Wet-edge-to-wet-edge is better, but be accurate.
  • Thin oil-based polyurethane. It prevents bubbles and brush marks.
  • When the temperature is high, try to apply polyurethane made with oil. It evens out the surface before it dries.

Related: How to apply water-based polyurethane

Tips To Prevent Cloudy Water-Based Polyurethane

  • Go for a quality water-based polyurethane product and avoid the cheapest products.
  • When applying, use slow strokes with light pressure and work in small areas of about two square feet at a time. The more coats applied, the less likely bubbles will develop during application or curing.
  • Use an inexpensive paintbrush like one from Walmart because brushes made specifically for water-based primer are expensive and can be difficult to clean off properly when finished painting.
  • Keep your surface cool by using indoor projects on warm days, painting in the evening, or painting outside where there’s ample breeze.
  • To avoid brush strokes or leave a distressed look, use an inexpensive sponge roller with the same water-based primer product and apply long, smooth strokes for even coverage.
  • At least 24 hours should pass between coats of paint.

Related: Applying a brush on polyurethane

Fixing Cloudy Polyurethane Finish FAQs

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