Cleaning - mineral spirits making finish foggy
I have posted this question to a different website, but thought I'd try here as well. Sorry if this sounds redundant to anyone.
I am trying to clean a used buffet to see how it looks before I decide what to do with the top finish. It is a dark wood - maybe either cherry or mahogany (I'm not sure how to tell the difference).
When wiping it with mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool, the surface turns foggy for a while, then clears up. I noticed in a couple spots where I applied some elbow grease (to remove paint spatters), it cut through the foggy finish down to what looks like a nice base finish. I used some more elbow grease in a corner with the steel wool, and the wiping cloth comes back black.
Is the foggy layer wax? Maybe Pledge? It sure seems to take a LOT of work to remove, and I don't want to accidentally damage the real finish by scrubbing too hard. Wondering if I should let the mineral spirits sit for a minute before using the steel wool. I'm not sure what the underlying finish is; could letting the mineral spirits sit a minute damage it? I dabbed a back corner with a Q-tip dipped in denatured alcohol; it didn't seem to do much but did come back a bit yellow after some rubbing.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I just figured I'll start by cleaning before I did anything dramatic.