Wood Furniture 101: How to Clean Wood Furniture, Paint and Restore Wooden Furniture
by | December 18, 2019
Learning how to clean wood furniture isn’t as hard as you might think it is. If you get good at it, though, then you’ll discover that your solid wood furniture has the potential to last several lifetimes. In fact, discovering how to restore wood furniture becomes a skill that allows you to pass furniture down multiple generations.
Always ask for cleaning and care guidelines when buying furniture. From there, follow these tips that explain how to clean wood furniture and watch it hold up well over time.
Avoid Damage from the Environment
Don’t put furniture in places where heat, sunlight, or other environmental situations might cause problems with the wood.
This means you need to avoid the following areas:
- Uncovered windows
Heat and light work negatively on wood surfaces, causing them to fade or become damaged.
Treat Your Furniture Properly
Avoid the need to clean, restore, or paint wood furniture by proactively avoiding any tendency to mistreat it, to begin with.
Use coasters for mugs or glasses to avoid heat damage or rings on wood surfaces. Hot food should never be placed on your furniture. Instead, use a potholder or trivet.
If you want to add a little personality to your protection, then consider using decorative tablecloths or placemats to protect from damage.
Dust Wood Furniture Often
Dusing might not be a favorite chore. However, it works wonders when it comes to caring for your wood furniture.
Wood surfaces become scratched when you allow airborne particles to build up over time. Dusting often avoids this hazard.
Use soft materials when dusting to avoid damage. Quality choices include:
- Cloth diapers
- Cotton t-shirts
If you have hard-to-reach areas to dust, then consider using soft lambswool dusters.
Clean Wood Furniture Frequently
Dusting doesn’t always work to keep wood furniture sparkling clean. All-purpose cleaners can damage the finish, so avoid these at all costs when cleaning wood furniture.
When your goal is to learn how to clean wood furniture, first try dipping a cloth into a mixture of mild dish detergent and water. This works great for sticky or soiled spots on wood furniture.
Follow up with a water-only rinse using a damp cloth. Use a soft dry cloth to wipe away any moisture immediately.
Use Oil For Dry Wood
Storing furniture often results in a drying effect that requires oiling once you bring everything out for use again.
Use Murphy’s Oil or another similar product to start the cleaning process. Afterward, work with the grain as you run some #0000 steel wool over the wood to properly prepare the surface.
Next, apply a furniture oil to the surface and let that set into the wood for 15 to 20 minutes. Wait about 24 hours if you want to finalize the process by applying a protective coating.
Treat Wear and Tear Properly
It’s inevitable that wooden furniture will get injured over time especially if they're outdoors in the gardens. One product that works well for scratches and nicks is the Old English Scratch Cover. It’s a liquid polish that restores your wood’s original beauty.
You’ll need to learn how to paint wood furniture when the damage becomes extensive.
Quick tips for painting wood furniture:
- Take out drawers and remove handles
- Sand with fine sandpaper
- Wipe down the surface with sugar soap (helps the paint to adhere correctly)
- Use a primer before painting
- Choose a roller or brush
- Use masking tape to mask off areas you won’t paint
- Apply two coats of paint
Painting wood furniture breathes new life into it, and you’ll love the result.
Protect Wood Furniture
It’s a good idea to use a commercial polish periodically to protect your wood furniture. Don’t use too much, however, because it can cause an unwanted buildup. This buildup results in a dull, sticky film on your wood surfaces.
Buff afterward to further help avoid this type of buildup. Don’t combine polishes with wax protectants. This combination often results in a gunky mess on wood surfaces.
Maintain a Fresh Smell
Older wood furniture might develop unpleasant smells over the years. This is especially true for stored furniture.
Sprinkling baking soda on your wood surfaces helps to freshen the odor. Absorb odors inside drawers by placing a pan of charcoal in them.
For tough smells, take your piece outdoors. Wait for a warm, dry day, and then place it in a nicely shaded area. Leave it out all day to eliminate hard-to-fix odors.
Add waxing to your skills as you learn how to clean wood furniture. Some finishes require protective wax coatings. This protection fades away over time, and your favorite pieces might need some re-waxing action.
Use fine #0000 steel wool to prepare all surfaces. Remove all residue with a soft cloth next.
Using a scouring pad, follow the grain and use light pressure to apply the wax. Don’t leave the wax on for longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Then, grab a clean Scotch Brite pad to remove any excess wax. Finally, use a soft cloth to buff everything out until your wood surface is smooth.
Remove Those Tough Stains
Your treasured wood furniture sometimes suffers from tough stains. The key here is getting those stains removed as soon as they happen. Stains become harder to eliminate the longer they sit.
Baking soda and white toothpaste work great when removing white rings caused by wet glasses. Keep rubbing this mixture in until the stain disappears. Wipe away the excess mixture, and then use a dry cloth to buff it out.
If you have water-damaged dark spots, then it’s time to learn how to restore wood furniture with vinegar. Soak a cloth in vinegar and blot the stain gently.
Use mayonnaise to rub out crayon marks. Let the mayonnaise sit on the stain for several minutes, and then use a damp cloth to rub it off the surface. Finally, buff with a dry cloth.
Final Thoughts on Cleaning Wooden Furniture For Your Home
Learning how to clean wood furniture isn’t something to be afraid of, and now you know exactly how to care for it properly. Your reward for adding in this skill? You’ll forever have a home filled with wood furniture that looks and smells great.
Search out wooden designer furniture with beautiful finishes online at RJ Living, boasting quality material like Solid Wood Furniture, Oak Furniture, Timber Furniture, Teak Furniture, and Walnut Furniture.