How to Clean Wood Furniture

By Zoe Eisenberg


Whether you're a lover of sleek, shiny wood or rustic, distressed country chic decor, wood furniture can add a lot of character to your space. But keeping it clean without ruining its finish can be a bit of a puzzle. Consider the following.

Microfiber wipe down. Once or twice a month, wipe your wood pieces with a slightly damp microfiber cloth, then dry it with a clean, dry microfiber cloth as a follow up. You never want to leave water sitting on good wood.

Get rid of gunk. If you have a mysterious sticky spot on your furniture, try battling with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Remember, never leave water sitting on the wood, so have a dry cloth ready for cleaning up quickly. It is also smart to test the soap and water mixture on a small, hard-to-see spot to make sure it won't stain.

Strip old polish with tea. If you have an antique piece with years of polish buildup, battle it with tea bags. The tannic acid in black tea is excellent for getting old wood to shine. Simply steep two or three black tea bags in hot water, let it cool to room temp, then apply the tea mixture to your wood with a clean microfiber cloth. Remember, just like the soap and water trick, always test an out-of-sight spot first.

Remove water stains with toothpaste. Did a hot or cold beverage leave an unsightly ring on your wood furniture?  Simply apply a thin layer of non-gel toothpaste to the ring and rub with a clean microfiber cloth until the stain lifts. Then, wipe the spot with a clean damp cloth and dry immediately.

Wax it. Once your furniture is clean, protect it from stains by applying a coat of wax. Choose a semi-solid variety without silicone and apply a fine layer with a cheesecloth. Let the wax sit for 5 minutes and then buff it in with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2020. All rights reserved.

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Stefanie Besch

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