Magic Wash Redux – Johnson’s Klear Renamed

Mar 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Painting and Basing

Johnson's Klear floor polish makes excellent Magic Dip base liquidSome people, including wargamers and even “Pro-painters” may never have heard of Johnson’s Klear, or even of Magic Wash, but to hundreds of thousands of figure painters worldwide, it’s been a godsend that has allowed them to significantly improve their finished painting quality.

Here in Thailand, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some for at least five years, without success, and my search has taken me into some far-flung locations, such has been my dedication to the quest. I’ve hunted for it under all its known guises, including both Johnson’s and Pledge Future Polish – the US names for it.

Today, I spent a fruitless two hours with the non-English-speaking staff of our Tesco-Lotus superstore’s Customer Service and Household Goods departments, trying to communicate exactly what SC Johnson’s Klear is.  Want to know the annoying bit?  They have all the “partner” products for cleaning things prior to applying the finishing coat using Klear, but no Klear itself.

For those not in the know, Johnson’s Klear is/was a water-based, soluble acrylic varnish / polish, which could be mixed with a partial content of either acrylic paint or inks, to “wash” over a flatly-painted figure.  The wash-solution would flow into all the nooks and crannies of detail, running off and away from high points, to leave a gradiated shadowing into the recesses.  A three-year-old could block paint a figure, then dip it into a magic wash (often called a magic dip) and leave it to dry, getting moderately good “basic wargames standard” finish on the figures.

“Wow, great, that’s for me” I hear you say.  Sadly, in their ultimate corporate wisdom, SC Johnson decided some time ago to retire the Klear product, and I’ve read a number of reports, ranging from one to three years old, that it could not be obtained any more.  However, a “throwaway” comment on a railway modelling forum that I found just an hour ago, has re-opened hope.  And not just because it seems it was only in the last months of 2008 that Klear was retired, implying there may still be stocks cached away on dusty shelves in back-street hardware shops.

Pledge Multi Surface Wax - the new name for KlearGiven the clue in the forum, I jumped onto the SC Johnson’s website and tracked down Klear in it’s new guise as Pledge Multi-Surface Wax.  Now given that it’s a water-soluble acrylic varnish, there’s no way I would have even contemplated searching for it, on or off line, as a polishing wax.  However, the company that makes it, insists this new product is the rebranded magic wash/dip base “formerly known as Klear” – yes, it actually uses that phrase on the product page.

That’ll explain why I’ve not been able to find anything called Klear in the shops.

I’ve been able to catch a few notices that the new Multi Surface Wax performs just as well as the old Klear for model and wargames painters, but sometimes leaves a slightly uneven surface – this won’t hurt most wargames models, but large scale aero modellers might not be so impressed with mole-hills appearing on their wing surfaces?  Rail Modellers are swearing by it as a cheap method of glueing ballast to the track layouts.  If I can find some and get to test it out, I’ll let you see photos, and read about my results with it.

So now, armed with the new name for it, I have to begin the shop-to-shop treks all over again, and learn a whole new bunch of Thai-language versions of product names and to identify logofied brand names … sigh !!!

Still, at least this time around I have a picture of the (UK) packaging for it, which should make things a lot easier … perhaps … maybe … if they haven’t ….



[wordbay]acrylic varnish (matt, gloss)[/wordbay]


UPDATE – 3 March 2010

I’ve spent a lot of the last 24 hours looking both on and offline for the new product, without success for here in Thailand.  I’ve also been put in touch with SC Johnson’s Thai sales manager (I’m waiting for his reply).

But I’ve also dug up a lot of online test results for the new Pledge Multi-Surface Wax from within the aero and railway modelling fraternities, and the results are not good.

It seems the UK replacement (the multi-surface wax) product is most certainly a different formula to the old Klear branded solution – it contains both a cleaner and a scent, and has increased portions of wax.  Cumulatively, these changes mean it no longer has the scratch hiding, and levelling properties of the old formula.  It also apparently yellows over white paint, and fogs in the vicinity of cyano-acrylate super glue.  None of which the old Klear was causing.

Pledge with Future Shine is identical to the old Future Floor Finish, and the original KlearThe US rebranding of Future Floor Finish, to Pledge with Future Shine, apparently has been a genuine re-branding only, with no formula change, and the renamed product performs exactly as the old named product did, which was an identical product to Klear.  It has also retained both the clear, colourless bottle type, and the water-clear liquid of the product, as opposed to the UK’s new formula, which is a milky liquid in a white opaque bottle.

Therefore, I am now in the process of trying to locate the renamed USA version, rather than the UK version, here in Thailand – wish me luck.

I’ve found several online retailers selling the new Pledge Future product, with prices averaging around the US $8.50 mark.  I’ve also found online resellers claiming to have the older Future Floor Finish in stock at prices around the US $ 6.50 mark – but NONE of them are willing to ship outside of the US’s 48 mainland states.

I also found one UK online store advertising the old Johnson’s Klear – both in the product title and in the photo, but reading the description revealed it was actually the new Multi-Surface Wax – shall we talk about false advertising?

Several sellers on Amazon seem to be trying to cash in on the demand for this stuff from the modelling world, but again, none of them are willing to ship outside of Amazon’s core three countries (US, UK, & DE).

I can see this is going to be a right royal tilt at the windmill trying to get my hands on some of this stuff.


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  1. Another quick update

    I’ve been harrassing both the UK and the Thai offices of SC Johnson, trying to locate stockists. So far, everyone they’ve told me is a stockist is not carrying the product (old or new versions).

    However, I did get a concession (by email) from the UK product team, that if there’s enough interest in the original Klear, or the US version of the new Pledge with Future Shine, that they would consider relaunching it in the UK.

    Over to you – if everyone writes to them asking where they can get it, they might just consider making it available again.


  2. Check some info there:

    and there:

  3. I found some but it was on ebay,
    the seller wanted £20.00 for it so, sorry no sale from this lady

  4. I have found some KlarPolish which I have been told is the same as the original Klear but the ingredients are in Scandinavian, so I can’t tell..
    Does anyone know for sure if it is the same.

  5. Old “Klear” is simply Polynonylmethacryalate.
    It is valuable as a primer-sealer in varnishing paintings. Oil paintings often require a finish varnish in acrylic to fully ‘saturate’ their colours. Ordinary acrylic artist’s varnish will often not ‘stick’ to oil paint! The “Klear” acted as a good sealer for the acrylic varnish. As a picture restorer, I have always used it in getting my final varnish. I have also shown professional artist how to use it!
    However, suppliers don’t even know what the product is – no wonder they mix it up with the new stuff which is totally different. Modern education!!!

  6. […] 0 Times in 0 Posts punchy's Gallery I found this on the web hope its ok to post a link. What happened to Johnson's Klear for Magic Dip and Wash | Long Range Logistics Reply With […]

  7. Hi I’ve been using the klear shine for a few years now on my wood floor etc and love it, I was buying it from homebargains for about £2.39. They seem to have stopped selling it for some reason and have been trying to find somewhere that sells it.
    A gutted customer,

  8. Good news my local asda (prob. knowen as wallmart whier you live) stocks the new klear in its new branding of pledge floor wax it eaven says klear on the bottle this stuff is fantastic for sticking the clear plastic on cockpits as it do’s not leave any fogging and looks bright when dry. hope you find a stock soon.

  9. Hey did you find any of the future floor polish or whatever its called now here in thailand? I’ve been wanting to get some to dip some clear resin cast pieces into to get a nice clear gloss top coat??

  10. 😉 Hi I think i just spotted the pledge type on a web site called;
    clear-floor-polish priced at £4.70
    hope this helps

  11. Hi and thanks for the nudge – I checked it and it is definitely the new version Pledge Multi Surface Wax – the search results page shows the old Klear version of the bottle, but when going to the individual product listing, it was the new white bottle and the description showed it to be the new product. Another dead end.

  12. 😉 I now have found bottles of the orginal…….
    its on ebay item number3706 3521 7960, selles I/D is ellis1702, hope this helps.
    Alison 😉

  13. Hi Garry,

    I’m also living in Thailand and looking for a way to seal my models. Can you have some Pledge with Future Shine shipped from the USA? What’s stopping this? Thai postal laws or the fact that most people simply just don’t want to deal with the international shipping? I’m from California and was just going to ask my mother to mail some over here.


  14. 😈 I got the Pledge new Klear – ruined two floors nightmare. The old klear was great, new one rubbish..


  15. I got the new Pledge Klear its utter rubbish its ruened two of our floors Hall & Livingroom nightmare so angry. Been using the old klear for years great results now 🙁 Grrr!

  16. : Desoerate to find Klear floor polish can you help me I am 85 Years of age andf need to know where in the Bay of Plenty I can get it. I( have used this product for many many years. Why have you taken it off the market

  17. Really sad soldiers have been using old Klear as a final wash over their beautifully bulled boots. I gave that really deep deep gloss finish to protect hours of finger bulling with Kiwi polish. So sad. Why have they ruined a great product?

  18. Trying to find it in Thailand? I’ve been trying in Taiwan. Have had some unpleasant reminders it is worth doing a test. ;-(

  19. 😥 Please put klear floor polish back on the market.. I miss it and my floors look terrible.

  20. its back BUT its absolutly rubbish

    i tried some and never again, got a different one by a company called astonish £1 for 500ml, worked brilliantly, 10 x better

  21. Hi Tony,
    Reading around, I can only find 2 versions of this – one is called a straight “Wood Floor Polish”, the other is named “Flawless Wood Floor Polish” – they both seem to be the same product with Cinnamon and Tangerine scenting. Which one did you try?


  23. Like Tony I got the “Astonish Wood Floor Polish Cinnamon and Tangerine” from a local “pound shop” and it works great for me (could do without the perfume scent though).


  24. i have been looking for klear floor shine for my karndean flooring to give shine to , but i cant find any, & cant find anything else to give a shine to floor .why have they stopped doing it?

  25. i cant find any either used it for years , is there anything else that gives a shine its for my karndean flooring

  26. There is a better alternative.

    Diamond acrylic floor varnish.

    Amazon sell it, also if you type it into Google you will find other suppliers.

    It is much more cost effective as well as being longer lasting

  27. Actually, the last Klear equivalent that SC Johnson made was called “Johnson’s One Step No Buff Wax” and it was advertised by the Jonson wax company as the original Klear Formula. It was in the Johnson’s Professional line of products and was pulled off the shelves in 2015. It contained a lot of solvents, and petroleum/paraffin ingredients, which is why it went away. If you examine the MSDS on the product, you can see that it is almost equivalent to a product that can be purchased at Home Depot called Eagle gloss coat, make sure you get the Clear version, not the colorized version. It is advertised as a concrete sealant, but is fantastic on the Kitchen Floor too.

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