How To Keep Polyurethane From Yellowing – Try these effective ways

Yellowing makes furniture look old-fashioned and tacky. It is a common issue, and many people struggle to find out how to keep polyurethane from yellowing

This post will provide you with the most effective ways to work out the proper solution to yellowing. Moreover, you will acquire a complete understanding of polyurethane which helps you have a wise choice when buying furniture made from this material.

Characteristics Of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane (PUR or PU) is one of the most flexible and easily adaptable materials. Accordingly, polyurethane has many applications, including the manufacture of high-resilience foam upholstery, spray foam, durable elastomeric wheels, and tires.

Do you wonder what makes polyurethane so versatile?  Well, polyurethane is an economical and safe material. 

What’s more, its sustainability is highly valued, which provides great comfort and protection to every product. This material is not easy to catch fire, enhancing the safety level of wood furniture.

How To Keep Polyurethane From Yellowing Must know Methods


What Causes Polyurethane To Yellow? 

Before finding out how to keep polyurethane from yellowing, let’s have a look at the possible causes of yellowing. 


Light is often the main culprit which causes polyurethane to turn yellow. Frequent exposure to UV rays can damage its chemical bonds and cause the color to fade.

It has been commonly recognized that except for yellowing, sunlight has little impact on the features of polyurethane.

However, it has been proved that exposing polyurethane to sunlight can influence the instability of some physical property test results. The UV radiation from the sun can stimulate chemical reactions in polyurethane and cause the color of items made from it fader. 

Badly Sun Damage To Hardwood Floor Coated By Polyurethane


Oil-Based Polyurethane

It is generally accepted that oil-based polyurethane stands out due to its excellent gloss blocking durability and toughness property, so it is applied in many items.

However, oil-based polyurethane can be the possible reason that contributes to the yellowing process. Oil-based texture contains some natural components, such as vegetable oil.
The curing reaction of the oil exposed to oxygen from the atmosphere results in yellowing. 


Heat can boost the yellowing process. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, the outer propriety of your items will change and affect their white color.  Polyurethane is quite sensitive to moisture or heat and can be easily damaged in an inappropriate environment. 

How To Keep Polyurethane From Yellowing

 Now, let’s find out how to keep polyurethane from yellowing.

Avoiding UV Rays 

Avoiding ultraviolet rays to expose polyurethane so it will not cause any damages to your furniture. For instance, one option is to close the door and use curtains to prevent sunlight from entering your house.
Another approach is choosing the right place for your furniture. Make sure that all polyurethane coating items should be located far from the door or window to stay away from UV rays.
Avoiding ultraviolet radiation can prevent polyurethane from yellowing and protect your skin as well.

Modifying The Temperature

Avoid cigarette smoke and excessive heat when cooking because it can heat the polyurethane and change its properties. Remember to check and fix leaks that can cause moisture.
Before applying polyurethane, make certain that all the moisture problems are sorted out. Using an air system like ventilation seems to be a great option to regulate humidity.
If the above solution does not work out, you can even buy a dehumidifier to reduce moisture. However, this should not be a long-term method as it will negatively affect polyurethane finish.

Sanding Polyurethane 

You had better use sandpaper or steel wool to rub and sand the polyurethane, which will help to remain the identical surface.
Many people favor steel wool over sandpaper since steel wool will give polyurethane a glossy and smooth appearance. However, if you want to mitigate the roughness, go for sandpaper. To make the rubbing easier, we offer using lubricant. 

Before sanding, keep in mind to clean the polyurethane surface carefully. Remained debris can cause nasty scratches on the glossy surface.

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Stop Using Oil-Based Polyurethane

If you are searching for a method to avoid yellowing, use waterborne polyurethane. Although water-based polyurethane is more expensive and less durable than oil-based polyurethane, it is less likely to yellow after a long period of use on dark-stained hardwood floors. 

Moreover, waterborne polyurethane will offer a quick drying time, giving you great convenience and saving a lot of time and hassle. If you want the surface of your wood products to appear natural and remain hue over time, waterborne polyurethane is the best choice. 

Water Based Vs Oil Based



Yellowing negatively threatens the appearance of polyurethane, especially the bright-painted product. So how to keep polyurethane from yellowing?  

At the beginning of using furniture made of polyurethane, you should adopt protection methods, as I mentioned above, to optimize your experience and retain the fresh appearance of the polyurethane.

Hope that you will find our post helpful! Don’t hesitate to try out our methods. 

Reference source: Anyone know of a TRULY non-yellowing polyurethane to put over white paint?

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