How to Clean Wooden Furniture: Simple Steps to Restore Yours to Its Former Glory

April 6, 2023

Written by: Florie Malapit


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How to Clean Wooden Furniture: Simple Steps to Restore Yours to Its Former Glory

Wooden furniture is a classic and timeless addition to any home. However, it can become dull and dirty over time, losing its natural beauty. Luckily, cleaning and restoring wooden furniture is an easy process that anyone can do. With just a few simple steps, you can restore your wooden furniture to its former glory and make it shine like new again. And when you don't have time to clean your home, hiring a professional cleaning service can be a great option to ensure that your space stays tidy and well-maintained.

Are you looking to add some old-school charm and elegance to your home? Wooden furniture is the way to go. But dust, grime, and stubborn stains can steal their luster and beauty as time passes.

Are you aiming to infuse your home with some old-school charm and elegance? Wooden furniture is your ideal choice. However, challenges like dust, grime, and stubborn stains can diminish their luster and beauty as time goes by.

Fear not – we're here to help! This guide will take you through simple yet effective steps to clean your wooden furniture. While our primary focus is on basic cleaning techniques ideal for everyday maintenance, it's noteworthy that for more extensive restoration projects, professionals and DIY enthusiasts often turn to additional methods. Techniques such as stripping, sandblasting, staining, and reupholstering are employed to strip away old finishes and deeply rejuvenate the wood. Although these advanced methods go beyond regular maintenance, they are valuable options for giving your cherished furniture an extra level of care.

We'll guide you through everything from selecting the right cleaning materials to effectively removing dirt and grime, ensuring your wooden furniture looks as good as new.

By following these steps, you'll not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, but also extend the life of your furniture, ultimately leading to long-term savings.

Say goodbye to dull, lifeless furniture and hello to a home that exudes warmth and style.

What You'll Need

How to Clean Wooden Furniture: Simple Steps to Restore Yours to Its Former Glory
  • Paper towel
  • Soft cloth or microfibre cloth
  • Water
  • Feather dusters
  • Dust mask
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • Black tea bags
  • Coffee grounds or bleach
  • Cotton balls
  • Mineral spirits
  • Lemon oil or olive oil
  • Scrub pad
  • Paste wax or liquid wax
  • Baking soda


1. Wipe away liquid spills with a soft cloth

Wipe away liquid spills on the wood surface using a soft cloth

Use a paper towel or soft cloth to wipe away liquid spills and moisture from drinks quickly. Pour plain water on a cloth, then wring it out until it's damp enough to clean sticky spots. After cleaning up the mess, immediately polish the wood to a shine using a dry microfibre cloth.

2. Dust wood furniture using a feather duster

To get rid of dust, use an electrostatic duster, feather duster, or clean microfiber cloth. If you have a dust sensitivity, use a dust mask and think about dusting with a damp cloth rather than a duster. After dusting, enhance shine by buffing the surfaces with a soft cotton cloth. The furniture's arms, legs, and tiny wood supports should be noticed.

3. Use a dish soap cleaning solution to clean grime

Use a dish soap gentle cleaning solution when cleaning wooden furniture to remove grime

Use a few drops of liquid dish soap solution with two quarts of water in a bucket or spray bottle if the wood furniture piece has been disregarded or stored away. Pour some cleaning solutions onto a sponge or soft cloth, then squeeze it out until it's damp.

4. Deep-clean with a black tea solution

Use a black tea solution to deep-clean wood furniture. Tea tannins or tannic acid can remove wax buildup from wooden pieces.

Pour two cups of hot water over two black tea bags to brew. Once the tea has cooled, squeeze any excess moisture using a soft cloth, cotton balls, or cotton swabs. Wipe carefully toward the wood grain, beginning at the top of the piece.

To get rid of the dirt, rinse the cloth in plain water. Gently wipe again after rewetting with the tea solution, then wring. Finish using a soft towel to dry and buff each cleaned area to restore shine.

5. Clean and remove waxy buildup with mineral spirits

Use mineral spirits and clean rag to remove wood stain and waxy buildup

Mineral spirits, a petroleum distillate, clean surfaces, thin oil-based paints, and remove waxy buildup from stains and varnishes.

Always use safety gear, such as rubber gloves, when applying the product, and work in a well-ventilated area.

Use a little bit of an old rag to clean the furniture in the direction of the wood grain. Once the dirt is transferred, switch to a clean portion of the rag. Wipe the furniture with a light, dry cloth to polish it.

6. Put in coffee beans to counteract unpleasant odor

You may have noticed a distinctive odor when opening these shelves if your furniture has numerous wood drawers and cabinets. You cannot avoid odor due to humidity and environmental factors. But you may eliminate the smell by just putting some coffee grounds or a basin of bleach inside. You'll be shocked at how quickly the odor disappears.

7. Re-oil and re-wax old wooden furniture to bring back the shine

Re-oil and re-wax old wooden furniture to bring back the shine

You only need to re-oil old wood furniture if you wish to return its sheen after it dries over time. Cleanse the surface with a washcloth first, and then generously rub in furniture oil or lemon oil. Let the furniture at least 15 minutes to absorb all the fat.

You might need to re-wax your furniture if it is protected by wax. Apply the paste wax or liquid wax using a scrub pad and spread it out. To ensure a smoother application, be sure to follow the grains. Waxing your furniture will give it a protective coating to reduce surface scratches and smudges and enhance the aesthetic of your wood.

8. Remove different stains on your wood furniture

Keep your wood furniture clean and polished by removing the different stains

Stains are a common problem that can detract from the beauty of your wooden furniture. But fortunately, there are many ways to remove stains. From water rings to ink stains, there are different techniques that can be used to tackle each type of stain.

Water Rings

Water rings or markings left by wet glasses and cups are prevalent on wood tables or surfaces. Treat them as quickly as you can, if at all possible. Apply some olive oil to the wood's whitened surface. After an hour, let it sit and then buff it. A soft cloth and some non-gel toothpaste can also remove the water ring. After removing the toothpaste residue, polish the wood's surface with a soft, dry cloth.

Ink marks

Gently massage the stained area with a soft, damp cloth dipped in some dry baking soda until the stain is removed. Any baking soda residue should be wiped with a clean, wet towel before drying with a soft cloth. Use wood polish to restore the finish's shine, as baking soda may have slightly tarnished it.

Stickers or glue residue

Use the edge of a credit card or a plastic scraper to get rid of as much of the sticky residue as you can. Rub the stained area with a soft cloth and a mineral or olive oil dash. When the residue is absorbed, move to a clean cloth area and, if necessary, reapply more oil.

To complete, apply some wood polish to the entire surface of the wood to balance out the shine.

How to Clean Wooden Furniture With Paint on It

How to clean painted wooden furniture

After wiping your painted wooden furniture piece clean and removing all loose dust, it's time to clean any stains or grime that may have gotten on the paint. For this, get two microfiber cloths and combine two drops of mild soap in water.

Carpenters typically paint wooden furniture with waterproof paints, but you should still confirm that your paint suits this method. Apply the solution on a small cotton ball, rub it on the paint or an inconspicuous area, and then clean it with a microfiber cloth. Continue using this solution to clean your furniture if the paint is still intact.

Because not all paints are resistant to mold or fungus, we suggest you use the second cloth to wipe up all the excess moisture from your furniture. Also, a microfiber cloth should be used instead of any other option because it is gentle, lint-free, and won't leave any residue or fibers behind. Using lint-free cloths, you'll achieve the most outstanding results for all wood furniture cleaning processes.

How to Clean Wooden Furniture With Oil Coating on It

Black tea solution works best for cleaning wood furniture varnished or polished. Soak 4 to 5 black tea bags in hot water for 10 minutes before dampening your washcloth with this solution. If you use this to wipe your polished furniture, it will keep its deep gloss and luster. Before you use the furniture, please allow it to dry for two hours.

How to Clean Wooden Furniture Made of Wicker or Rattan

After dusting your woven furniture, including rattan and wicker items, prepare a solution with equal parts olive oil and white vinegar. Using this magical combination for cleaning wood furniture, your furniture may be cleaned of all stains and filth. Polish the wooden table with a clean, lint-free cloth as the last step in this wood furniture cleaning procedure. Before utilizing the furniture, let it soak up the oil for up to two hours.

Bring Back the Shine of Your Clean Wood Furniture

Bring Back the Shine of Your Wood Furniture

Bringing back the shine of your wood furniture can be an easy and enjoyable task with the right tools and techniques.

Following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can restore your wooden furniture to its former glory and enjoy its beauty and functionality for many years.

With a little effort and attention, you can keep your wood furniture looking as good as new and enjoy its timeless elegance in your home.

So go ahead, grab your cleaning supplies, and start bringing back the shine of your wood furniture today!

And if you want to transform your living room into a neat and refreshing haven, follow our comprehensive guide on how to clean your living space flawlessly.


How often should you clean your wood furniture?

Spills of food and liquid should be cleaned up right away. Pooling moisture can deform and discolor wood and cloud the gloss. To keep dust buildup minimal, dust frequently, such as every few days or at least weekly. Once a month, give your furniture a shine and buff out any little nicks or scratches by using your favorite furniture polish or making your own.

Is it okay to clean wood furniture with vinegar?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean hardwood furniture. Abrasive cleaning and some furniture waxes and polishes can ruin the paint on wooden furniture. Regular vacuuming with a brush attachment and wiping down with vinegar diluted with water are the best ways to clean painted wood furniture.

Can I use water to clean my wooden furniture?

Yes, you can use water to clean your wooden furniture, but make sure to use a damp cloth, not a soaking wet one. Also, dry the furniture immediately after washing.

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DIY, Expert Guide, furniture, How to, living room

About the author 

Florie Malapit

Contributing Writer at Sparkle and Shine Today. She is a freelance content writer with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, major in Marketing Management, and more than two years of blog and content writing experience.

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