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wood furniture cleaning tips

Regular wood furniture cleaning is essential - even if you're flawless in the weekly dusting routine department.

Dirt and grime have a tendency to build up on wood furniture over time, ever so slyly circumventing the dusting process over time.

Plan to wash wood furniture once a year. Dampen a cloth with a mild soap solution and wipe the wood. Rinse, then wipe dry.

And when things get rough - as in scratches and stains on your treasured pieces  - these cleaning and repair tips can help you keep your wood furniture looking its best.

wood furniture cleaning by type and finish.

How to clean wood furniture depends on the type of wood (solid or veneer) and the way it's been treated or finished. When you take care of wood furniture, you're really taking care of the finish. There are several types. The wood can have a soft oil finish or a factory-applied hard finish. It can even be protected by a layer of polyurethane. 

  • Dust wood furniture weekly with a very soft cloth or feather duster. Always use a clean cloth. Otherwise, you're only reapplying last week's dirt when you reuse cloths without cleaning them.

the seasonal and annual wood furniture cleaning and polishing routine.

Wash wood furniture once a year. Dampen a cloth with a mild soap solution and wipe the wood. Rinse, then wipe dry.

A few times a year, polish natural woods to keep them from drying out. Always use the same kind of polish. If you use oil polish one time and wax polish the next, it could cause a cloudy finish.

Avoid silicone finishes because they are hard to remove and can build up over time. They also show smudges more. Laminates, varnishes, and sealed wood surfaces do not need polishing. Just wipe them off with a damp cloth.

One last word about wood furniture cleaning and care: If your dining room table has leaves, don't store them in the garage or basement.

The different humidity can cause the wood to swell or shrink so that the leaves may not fit when you need them. Store leaves as close to the table as possible; perhaps in a hall closet.

how to clean wood furniture stains and scratches.

Here's how to disguise scratches, remove dullness, and restore oils. Use this to clean and restore wood furniture itself (not the finish).

Wood furniture cleaning tips.You can often remove scratches and blights in wood furniture yourself.

You'll need:

  • 3 tablespoons boiled linseed oil;
  • 2 tablespoons turpentine;
  • 1 quart hot water

Place ingredients in a two-quart sauce pan over heat until the moisture is as warm as your gloved hand can withstand.

Dip a soft, clean cloth in the solution and squeeze over the pan until it doesn't drip. Go over an area of about 1 to 2 feet, redipping the cloth in the warm solution as needed.

Follow immediately with a clean, dry, absorbent cloth until all oil is removed. Boiled linseed oil allowed to remain on the wood will become tacky. Continue until the wood furniture is clean.

keeping wood furniture looking good.

  • To prevent problems with wood furniture, always use coasters and trivets. 
  • Put felt under bowls and figurines on wood furniture to prevent them from scratching the wood. 
  • Protect wood from direct sunlight, which can dry out and bleach the wood. And keep wood furniture away from heat vents.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the products and tools you need to keep your wood furniture clean and looking lustrous - safely.



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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.