“Restore It – Don’t Strip It!”

For over 50 years, Howard's Restor-A-Finish has been a standard in the antique industry. Because Restor-A-Finish preserves and restores beauty to the original wood finish, it helps preserve the antiques’ authenticity and value, whereas stripping the finish may literally strip the piece of its value. Restor-A-Finish helps faded lacquer, shellac, varnish, polyurethane, and most other wood finishes by bringing back the original color and luster. It restores the depth of grain in wood finishes, going much deeper than temporary “scratch cover” products. Restor-A-Finish penetrates and permanently restores most wood finishes without removing any of the existing finish - this is why it is very popular for antiques. Restor-A-Finish maintains the original "patina" of an antique finish, maintaining its character and value as an antique. To protect the newly restored finish Feed-N-Wax is recommended as a follow-up to Restor-A-Finish.

“Restore It – Don’t Strip It!”

Permanently revive and restore the original color and luster in one step, without removing any of the existing finish. Most wood finishes that seem to need a complete refinishing job can be completely restored in a few minutes with this simple wipe-on, wipe-off process. White heat rings and watermarks, sun fade, oxidation, smoke damage, and most other blemishes can be quickly blended away. Before you go to the extreme of stripping it, try restoring it!

Almost any existing wood tone, from a light Birdseye Maple to a dark Jacobean, can be closely matched using one of the nine available finish colors. Restor-A-Finish should be used in a color that best matches your finish. If you are uncertain about which color to use, then choose a color slightly lighter than your finish. It’s recommended that you test Restor-A-Finish in an inconspicuous spot to make sure you like what it does and how it matches the finish. 


Restor-A-Finish is a unique finish-penetrating formula that contains a small amount of stain combined with just the right amount of solvent and restoring oils, giving it the unique ability to penetrate and permanently restore most existing finishes without removing any of the existing finish.


Choose the color of Restor-A-Finish that best matches the finish of your wood. Test on an inconspicuous area. Apply with a small pad of cloth, cover a small area at a time and immediately wipe dry. Do not pour directly on finish. To remove stubborn white rings, oxidation, or light scratches, apply Restor-A-Finish with a pad of super fine (0000) steel wool. Finishes vary in hardness, so test pressure to be used with (0000) steel wool on an inconspicuous spot. Rub lightly in the direction of the wood grain until blemish is blended away. Cover a small area at a time and wipe dry. To protect and maintain the newly restored finish, follow up with Howard Feed-N-Wax.


When using a soft cloth or steel wool, rub with light pressure but hard enough to blend away the damage. As you restore the finish be sure to periodically check your progress. Always rub with the grain of the wood. Some dry faded finishes will only require a quick wipe-on, wipe-off application and will quickly absorb Restor-A-Finish. Other finishes will require a little more work. Still other finishes may require leaving the Restor-A-Finish on longer so it can penetrate into the finish and restore color and depth of grain deep into the wood.  All finishes are different, so testing first may be required. Always wipe off excess Restor-A-Finish.

After wiping Restor-A-Finish dry, wait at least 30 minutes and then apply a coat of Howard Feed-N-Wax to protect and maintain the newly restored finish. Then re-apply Feed-N-Wax as needed, or when the finish starts to look dry.

Treating carved woods: Restor-A-Finish has saved many hours of labor by quickly restoring color and depth of grain on carved wooden furniture, clocks and picture frames. Simply apply Restor-A-Finish with a small paintbrush or soft toothbrush and wipe dry.


** If a high gloss finish should appear dull due to the use of steel wool, polish it out with Restor-A-Shine Polishing Compound. Restore-A-Shine is perfect for the final step in restoring high gloss finishes by buffing away fine scratches only seen in the light.  These super fine lines in the finish from a distance creating the look of “dullness” on high gloss finishes and can be easily buffed away with Restor-A-Shine Polishing Compound.



First test Restor-A-Finish on a small inconspicuous area to check results, penetration into the finish, correct color, and if to use (0000) super fine steel wool or a soft cloth. Apply Restor-A-Finish to a small area at a time and always wipe dry. Be careful to protect fabric, carpets, or linoleum when applying Restor-A-Finish, as it may leave a permanent stain. If spilling does occur, immediately scrub area with soap and water or a stain remover and wipe dry.

Use caution when using clear coat finishes over Restor-A-Finish. Keep in mind that the purpose of Restor-A-Finish is to restore an existing finish. So there is no need to put another finish on top, just Feed-N-Wax to help protect and maintain the newly restored finish. If you must use polyurethane or other clear coat finishes on top of Restor-A-Finish, wait 30 days for Restor-A-Finish to fully dry. Test the new finish in an inconspicuous area to make sure it dries correctly. Do not use wax under the new finish. Wait until the new finish fully cures before waxing. Also, Restor-A-Finish may not be able to penetrate harder “plastic” finishes, imitation simulated wood finishes, or some hard polyurethane finishes.  Not recommended for floors or exterior surfaces. May not work well on “one step stain and poly” finishes. 


CAUTIONS: DANGER. CONTENTS MAY CATCH FIRE. FUMES MAY CATCH FIRE. CONTENTS HARMFUL. MAY IRRITATE EYES. MAY IRRITATE SKIN. Do not mix with other chemicals. Do not smoke. Do not swallow. Do not get in eyes, on skin or clothing.

Keep out of reach of children. Keep away from flames, such as a pilot light, and any object that sparks, such as an electric motor.

FIRST AID: If swallowed, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING, Call Physician immediately. If breathed in, move person into fresh air. EYE CONTACT: Immediately flush with water for at least 15 minutes. SKIN CONTACT: Wash with soap and water. Contains Hydrogenated Mineral Oil, Isopropanol, Acetone. Store in a cool place. Keep container closed.


USE WITH ADEQUATE VENTILATION. To avoid breathing vapors, open windows and doors or use other means to ensure a cross ventilation of fresh air through work area. If you experience eye watering, headaches or dizziness, increase fresh air or wear respiratory protection (NIOSH/MSHA approved with organic vapor filter) or leave the area. Avoid prolonged contact with skin. Close container after each use. Do not transfer contents to bottles or unlabeled containers. Before using this product in the workplace, read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) available online. This product is intended for occasional use only. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents may be harmful or fatal. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage.

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Ethylbenzene, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, and Toluene, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to

This product is made from the finest raw materials available and manufactured to proven formulation under strict quality control for its intended use on natural wood finishes. However, results obtained with the use of this product under a variety of conditions may depend on circumstances beyond our control. Howard Products, Inc. and the  seller therefore disclaim  any responsibility for expense or consequential damage of any kind. The only warranty extended, expressed or implied, is for defective workmanship or materials.