How to Properly Clean Wooden Furniture

How to Properly Clean Wooden Furniture

Cleaning wooden furniture isn’t as simple as you think. If not done right, wood can lose its original artistic elegance and even shorten its lifespan.

Unless you have hired a cleaning service to dust your wooden furniture periodically, dirt will build up over time and dull wood polish. Keep in mind that shiny wood doesn’t always mean clean wood. To maintain your furniture’s best look, here’s how you can clean it correctly without harming its finish:

  1. Prepare your cleaning supplies

You will need the right cleaning equipment and materials for the job. This may include:

  • Clean microfiber cloths
  • Sturdy brush or vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Non-gel toothpaste
  • Two tea bags
  1. Remove accessories

Clear wood table tops and counters. If it’s a sofa set or bed, strip off the mattress, bed sheet, and pillows. If your wooden furniture has accessories like knobs, make sure to remove them as well except if they’re holding the furniture together.

The goal here is to create more space for you to work on when cleaning.

Skip this step if you think there’s a small chance you won’t be able to reattach the hardware back on. Also, if you have to, pull away the furniture from the wall so that you can get around the entire piece.

  1. Begin cleaning in earnest

Before you apply anything, dust your furniture to remove any surface dirt. You can either use a soft manual brush or the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. When dusting, also include the pillows, mattresses, and cushions so as not to transfer dust back on a just-cleaned wooden furniture.

Depending on what type of dirt or grime you’re dealing with, here’s what you should do:

Simple cleanup

  • In a bucket, mix half a gallon of warm water and ½ cup of white vinegar. Double this mixture if you’re dealing with large wooden surfaces.
  • Spray the vinegar mixture or dip a clean rag into the bucket and wring it out.
  • Be cautious about using excessive water on wood as it can cause damage if it seeps into the finish.
  • Using your moistened cloth, wipe the surface in a circular motion.
  • Rinse your cloth once it becomes dirty or switch to another clean rag.
  • Continue the wiping process until you can visibly see that the furniture is clean.

Ink marks cleanup

  • Mix 1 teaspoon water and 1 tablespoon baking soda into a thin paste.
  • Apply the paste to the stained area and rub gently using a soft cloth until the stain fades.
  • Wipe the paste off with a clean damp cloth, then dry thoroughly.

Water stains cleanup

  • Place some non-gel toothpaste on the affected area and rub it using a microfiber cloth until the stain is gone.
  • For stubborn stains, create a mixture of equal parts toothpaste and baking soda.
  • Then, wipe the toothpaste off using a clean damp cloth and dry.

Old polish revival

  • In boiling water, soak two tea bags.
  • Allow the tea to cool down then dip and wring out your microfiber cloth in it.
  • Use the damp cloth to wipe your furniture as tannic acid of the tea is wonderful for maintaining wood.

Moisture removal

  • Take a clean dry cloth and buff the surface.
  • Use a circular motion for a brighter finish.

Wood preservation

To maintain the brilliance of your furniture, make sure to polish it 1 to 2 times a year.

  • Use a quarter cup of olive or vegetable oil and mix it with white vinegar of similar quantity.
  • Moisten your microfiber cloth with the mixture and use it to polish the wood.
  • Make sure to test first in a small area to ensure the mixture won’t damage your furniture.

Maintaining wooden furniture

The first part of wood maintenance is to determine your wooden furniture finish. Is it a special wood like bamboo or a polished hardwood? For antique pieces, you may need to consult with a professional wood installer or woodworker regarding the type of finish and the right method of cleaning.

To extend the life of your wooden furniture, keep it out of direct sunlight and avoid storing it in overly moist areas to avoid cracks.

Over time, the build-up of dust, dirt, oil and grime can harm not just your furniture but your home in general. Make sure to have regular property maintenance especially when it comes to your plumbing system as they can involve the most costly of repairs.


Rania Bellos launched Dust Busters Cleaning Services with the help and support of her husband after spending 15 years working in the banking and finance industry in France, Lebanon and the UAE. She welcomes the daily challenges and exciting opportunities provided by the highly competitive residential and commercial cleaning services market.

Categories: Cleaning

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