Minwax Polyshades Problems: Why Is It Hard and Risky to Use?

Minwax Polyshades is a unique two-in-one product popularly used to add color and protection to wood surfaces. It’s a combination of oil-based wood stain and polyurethane. You can use it to change color and protect your wood in one application. Therefore, you don’t have to apply additional products to protect the wood grain.

However, many people have experienced problems with this product. In this article, we will discuss the common Minwax Polyshades problems. Also, we will discuss why it is challenging and risky to use it.

What is Minwax Polyshades?

Before we dive into the product’s problems, let’s briefly discuss what Minwax Polyshades is. Minwax Polyshades is a type of wood stain and polyurethane finish. The product is a two-in-one product that combines a wood stain with a polyurethane finish. It is designed to provide color and protection to wood surfaces. Mainly, instead of using separate products for each purpose, Minwax Polyshades enables users to save time and effort by providing color and protection all at once.

You can use Minwax Polyshades on bare or stained wood surfaces, including furniture, cabinets, and doors. Notably, when applying the finish on an already stained wood surface, you don’t have to remove the existing stain. You apply the coat of the finish directly over the old varnish.

Benefits of Using Minwax Polyshades

Despite the problems of using Minwax Polyshades, there are several benefits to using the product for finishing wood surfaces. Some of these common benefits include the following.

  • Time-saving.Since Minwax Polyshades is a two-in-one product that combines a wood stain and a polyurethane finish, you apply it once, saving time.
  • Easily change the color of your already stained wood.Without first removing the existing wood stain, you can apply the Minwax Polyshades varnish. The stain provides a beautiful finish.
  • Minwax Polyshades provide robust and long-lasting protection. It helps to extend the life of the wood surface. The product can particularly be beneficial for use on furniture exposed to high levels of wear and tear.
  • Suitable to apply on existing varnish. You can easily apply Minwax Polyshades directly on top of an old varnish. There is no need first to remove the old finish.
  • Enhances the wood grain. Minwax Polyshades make the wood surface look better.
  • You can apply the Minwax Polyshades to various items, including doors, cabinets, and furniture. Notably, you can apply it on all bare or stained wood surfaces. Also, the product comes in various colors, and you can choose the shade that matches your desired finish.
  • Cost-effective. MinwaxPolyshades can be a cost-effective way to achieve a beautiful wood surface. It combines the benefits of a wood stain and a protective finish in a single product.

The Problems with Using Minwax Polyshades and Why it Is Hard to Use it

Minwax Polyshades can be a challenging product to use, especially for beginners or those looking for a specific color. The following are some of the notable problems of using Minwax Polyshades;

1) Difficult to Apply Evenly

One of the most common problems with Minwax Polyshades is that it can be challenging to apply evenly. The Polyshades combine stain and polyurethane in one application, making it difficult to achieve an even stain color.

2) Limited Color Options

While the product is available in various colors, it may be challenging to find the exact shade that matches your desired finish. Usually, the Polyshades have a limited range of colors, which may not be suitable for all projects. This can make it challenging to achieve the desired look. If you cannot find the exact color you are looking for, you may need to settle for a different shade, which can be disappointing.

3) Difficult to Use for Small Touch Ups

Minwax Polyshades can be difficult to use to do small touch-ups. Using Minwax Polyshades to do touch-ups requires careful application and attention to detail to achieve a smooth, even finish. Mainly, when not done carefully, it can leave brush strokes. Notably, if you are a new wood painter, you may find it challenging to achieve good results with this product.

4) Taking Longer to Dry

Although the stain takes 6 to 8 hours to dry, sometimes it may take longer before drying. Usually, many factors may cause the drying time to extend. These factors include high humidity, inadequate ventilation, or low temperatures. Also, the paint may take longer to dry if you apply a thick coat.

Tips for Using Minwax Polyshades

The following are some tips you can apply when applying Minwax Polyshades to minimize the problems and challenges of using it.

  • Ensure the surface is smooth, dry, and dust free. For best results, ensure the surface is clean and dry, free from dust or debris.
  • Test the stain on a small area. Instead of applying the finish on the entire area immediately, always apply it on a small area first. If you are satisfied with the compatibility of the product’s color with the existing one, then you can paint the entire surface as required.
  • Use a suitable and high-quality brush. To apply the stain, use a high-quality natural bristle brush.
  • Apply the stain skillfully.For best results, you need to apply the paint professionally. Mainly ensure you apply a very thin and even coat of the stain using the high-quality brush. Also, apply the coat in the direction of the grain.
  • Use the paint on interior wood and furniture. The product is suitable for use on interior wood surfaces.
  • Wait for at least 6 hours before applying another coat.The product requires up to 6 hours to dry.
  • Apply two coats.Although one coat is sufficient to provide rich color and robust protection, you can apply a second for even better results.
  • Use mineral spirit to clean.The Minwax Polyshades varnished surfaces are easy to clean. Notably, you should use mineral spirits for the best results.

Risks of Using Minwax Polyshades and How to Mitigate the Risks

There are several common risks of using Minwax Polyshades. One common problem of using Minwax Polyshades is the health issues due to exposure and inhaling hazardous fumes and dust. Usually, when applying stain on an already painted surface, you may decide first to scrape off the old paint. Scraping and sanding result in dust, which may contain lead. When one is exposed to this dust in the long run, it may result in brain damage and other harm.

Another risk of using Minwax Polyshades is irritation and dizziness when inhaling fumes. Usually, if you use the stain in an enclosed area, you may inhale high amounts of the fumes, making you feel dizzy or experience eye irritation.

Also, Minwax Polyshades may cause accidental fires and burns when exposed to high heat. The product contains Aliphatic Hydrocarbons that are flammable. Therefore, handling the stain near open fires may result in fire accidents.

Notably, despite the risks of Minwax Polyshades, you can still safely use, store or dispose of the product without any risks. Therefore, you should be careful to mitigate the negative effects of the paint. Some of the ways to properly handle the Minwax Polyshades and avoid the risks include:

  • Proper handling and storage. Carefully handle and store Minwax Polyshades to avoid common risks like fire accidents. Also, avoid transferring the product to different containers for storage to avoid mishandling it.
  • Perform first aid.In the case of skin or eye contact, prompt first aid is crucial. Mainly, wash your eyes with plenty of water. Importantly, if the stain touches your skin, use soap and clean water to clean the area thoroughly. In case the irritation does not stop, you should seek medical assistance.
  • Avoid long-term overexposure. The product contains ingredients that can cause brain damage, cancer, and other health harm due to long-term overexposure. But you can safely use the product while avoiding long-term overexposure. You can use it only when necessary, and ensure to observe all the safety measures.
  • Wear rubber gloves and protective gear to protect your skin. When applying Minwax Polyshades, precautionary safety measures are important. Always wear rubber gloves when handling Minwax Polyshades. Also, use other recommended protective equipment to minimize exposure to these hazardous materials
  • Observe proper disposal procedures. To prevent items you had used together with the stain from catching fire, always discard the items following fire regulations. You can put the waste soaked in the paint in sealed metal containers for disposal. Also, always keep the stain away from open fires or excessive heat.
  • Use the ploy-shades in a ventilated area. Always avoid using the stain in a stuffy room. Ensure you are using the stain in a well-ventilated area. You can ensure proper ventilation by opening the windows and doors.


Despite the problems of using Minwax Polyshades, the short-term and long-term side effects, and the product risks, it is still possible to safely use and enjoy the benefits. Mainly, for best results, always read the label, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and observe the safety measures.