Keeping the lint out of wipe on poly

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 11-25-2014 10:16 PM 9875 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2132 days

11-25-2014 10:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

Hey everyone,

I use minwax wipe on poly quite a bit and like it for the most part. I have repeated issues with lint from the application rags getting trapped in the finish. I knock down the nibs between each coat and it works except for the lint. It really gets stuck in there. Any secret weapons to keep the lint out of the finish? I’ve heard pantyhose around the rag?

Thanks everyone

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

34 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2690 days

#1 posted 11-25-2014 10:28 PM

The smart-ass answer would be to use lint free cloth….easier said than done. But very well worn tee shirts are fairly lint free. A better approach (IMHO) is to not use a cloth pad. Instead, get a roll of those blue shop towels sold in the auto dept at Walmart (and pretty much everywhere else) and use them. They are lint free, and disposable, and cheap. I use one towel at a time, folding it into the pad I want. I put it in a sandwich bad between coats, and then use it again. After a set of 3 coats, it gets left out to dry and then tossed. Try it at least once and judge for yourself.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2132 days

#2 posted 11-25-2014 10:48 PM

Cool. I was thinking about the lint free microfiber cloths, but those are too pricey to use and throw away all the time. I wasn’t aware that those blue shop towels were lint free. Good to know.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View DocSavage45's profile


8715 posts in 3039 days

#3 posted 11-25-2014 10:55 PM

You might do brush on with sponge brushes? But paper towels are cheaper.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1621 days

#4 posted 11-26-2014 02:39 PM

Use coffee filters. They are cheap, a good, manageable size, lint free, and did I say cheap?

I use them for everything. No more wasting paper towels.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1989 days

#5 posted 11-26-2014 02:50 PM

Best yet!!!
Grab a pair of you wive’s old nylon stockings, put your cloth inside and tie a knot. No more lint.
Works great!

-- John, New Jersey

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1772 days

#6 posted 11-26-2014 04:55 PM

Take a piece of masking tape,rub it over your cloth before use,picks up the loose lint.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4760 posts in 2506 days

#7 posted 11-27-2014 06:21 AM

Borg blue shop towels.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2709 days

#8 posted 11-27-2014 01:35 PM

Don’t use any sort of rag or cloth, I always use 1” sponge brush with my wipe on poly, it only takes a drop of poly on the tip of the brush and it’s goes a long ways. I sometimes keep a paper towel sitting aside to dab the brush on to take off the access, if you need more then one coat, put your brush in a plastic bag sealed until time for the second / third coat…

My method, I mix my on with 50/50 mineral spirits and minwax poly (preferred sheen ) I pop the lid off of the 1 qt can of poly and mix it with a stirring stick, then using a 1 qt empty can with lid, I use a 1 oz epoxy measuring cup with needle nose pliers making it a ladle dipping it into the poly to pour just enough of both mixtures to do that single project two the three applications into that empty can resealing between each coat, I just pour from the mineral spirits can straight into the measuring cup, I then re-stir both mixtures together in that 1 qt can then dip my foam brush into it, once I’m done, the can should be empty if I mixed it right, I then clean it out with just mineral spirits and a paper towel so it’s ready for the next project add the lid back to the can with just a tad bit of Mineral spirits left in the can and put it away, no fuss and none wasted.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View OSU55's profile


1953 posts in 2186 days

#9 posted 11-27-2014 01:50 PM

Scott’s blue shop towels and about any old cloth that’s been washed many times, but may favorite is golden taklon brushes. The super fine bristles leave tiny brush marks that level out to be invisible. I use a “dry brush” technique: get the poly on fairly thin, tamp the brush “dry” on a blue shop towel, and keep brushing the poly, tamping the brush as needed. With a little practice you learn how much brushing is needed to get a super smooth finish.

BTW, instead of paying more fore the wipe on poly, just buy the regular poly and thin 50%, it’s the same as wipe on.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2132 days

#10 posted 11-30-2014 03:08 PM

Yeah, I know the thinning trick and do it sometimes, depending on how thrifty I feel that day. I think I’ll try out the blue towels and maybe the foam brushes. Thanks for the tips guys

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View yank's profile


57 posts in 4329 days

#11 posted 12-02-2014 02:20 AM

Don’t use a lint cloth. Sorry I couldn’t help it. JK

-- My Father was my mentor for my woodworking hobby and knowledge. Luv ya Dad.

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10906 posts in 3230 days

#12 posted 12-02-2014 04:44 AM

You might want try the everyday Kitchen Sponges that you can buy in Quantity (Cheap). NOT the very Porous ones, the smoother ones.

A little Poly goes a long way. I use a saucer or even a piece of tin foil to DIP it in.

Sponge Brushes and Me don’t get along very well ….LOL.

You probably already know this, but Wipe on Poly is just Regular Poly thinned 50/50 with water or mineral spirits. It’s also a lot cheaper buying the Regular Poly and thinning it yourself.

-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

View Joel_B's profile


349 posts in 1578 days

#13 posted 12-04-2014 05:07 PM

I read in another thread that staining pads from Harbor Freight work well for this.
I might try it myself.
If I was going to mix my own wipe on poly any recommendations on which brand poly to start from?
Preferrably something I can buy at HD, Lowes or Rockler.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View CharlieM1958's profile


16280 posts in 4415 days

#14 posted 12-04-2014 05:22 PM

Best yet!!!
Grab a pair of you wive s old nylon stockings, put your cloth inside and tie a knot. No more lint.
Works great!

- Case101

Just make sure you get her to take them off first.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View BurlyBob's profile


5973 posts in 2462 days

#15 posted 12-04-2014 05:50 PM

What Case said! I’ll also take a piece of polyester cloth fold it over a couple of times, then put it inside the nylon and use it like a squeege. Works great. Be sure to thin the poly down by 50% or more for a glass smooth finish
and 600 wet/dri between coats.

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

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